Frequently Asked Questions
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How was the 2013 Gathering theme selected?
Getting more involved at the Gathering
A: The National Youth Gathering (NYG, or Gathering) is an event held every three years for youth of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) to spend time together in worship, God’s Word, prayer, song and service. The Gathering provides young people an opportunity to learn more about Jesus Christ, the Christian faith and their Lutheran identity. This event, which is the single largest LCMS event, is organized by LCMS Youth Ministry in St. Louis, Missouri.
A: The next National LCMS Youth Gathering will be July 1-5, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas.
A: The National Youth Gathering's primary focus is for Youth Participants between the ages of 14 to 19. To register for the 2013 National LCMS Youth Gathering, youth participants must meet ONE of the two following eligibility requirements:
- Must be 14 years old at the time of the Gathering
- Entering his or her ninth grade year at the time of the Gathering.
While we do allow students from the ages of 14 to 20 to attend, please keep in mind that some of the program content may not be relevant to older youth participants.
We suggest that students who are 19 and older, one year out of high school, or have been to at least one previous Gathering apply to be a Young Adult Volunteer.
Q: What is the age requirement to be an Adult Leader?
A: Participants who are 21 years or older by the time of the Gathering are able to attend the Gathering as a Primary Adult Leader or Adult Leader. Those who are 19 – 25 years old may also serve as a Young Adult Volunteer.
A: Adding participants after the Primary Adult Leader has already sent in the forms and deposit is not a problem. Simply register them online, and print off an updated Congregational Account Form and Pastoral Affirmation Form. Send these two updated forms with the additional deposit to the Gathering Office. Participants may be added at a rate of $295 through March 1 and $345 until May 1.
Q: Can I bring my family (babies, younger children, pre-teens, additional adults like spouses, grandparents, etc.) to the Gathering?
A: While LCMS Youth Ministry understands the importance of family and values family experiences centered around God's Word and Sacraments, the National LCMS Youth Gathering is specifically intended for youth aged 14 – 19 years old. Teenagers are at an important stage of life developmentally, socially, and spiritually where values and beliefs are personally sought out and formed. Subject matter taught and discussed at the Gathering is intentionally and carefully created and presented for a teenage audience. We thank you for respecting this guideline and for prayerfully supporting your youth before, during, and after the Gathering.
LCMS Youth ministry has also provided a recommended youth to adult ratio to provide an ample number of spots for all youth who wish to attend. Also, the ratio allows for a nurturing environment that respects the youth's desire for individualism and autonomy.
A: Much thought and energy goes into selecting appropriate housing for the Gathering participants. Each of the Gathering hotels has been reviewed and selected based on its location, safety, comfort, shuttle accessibility, and affordability. If a hotel is on our list, be assured that it's been purposefully chosen.
PROGRAM -Attending the National LCMS Youth Gathering is a unique experience. Your group, regardless of how large or small, is part of the "whole.” The time your group spends at your hotel is part of the makeup of your overall Gathering experience. Planned activities such as community life activities and late night prayer and praise take place at specific Gathering hotels. These are vital pieces of the Gathering experience that you don't want to miss!
SAFETY - Beyond programming, the safety and security of all Gathering participants is extremely important. By having every registered participant in one of our contracted hotels, you are essentially "findable” by the Gathering. Over the past 30+ years of Gatherings, this has proven to be invaluable.
INFORMATION - Community Life Builders (CLB's) are assigned to each of the Gathering properties. They have been specifically trained to conduct informational meetings there; provide pertinent Gathering information, updates, and schedule changes; and hear any issues or concerns that you may have. CLBs serve as your main informational contact while at the Gathering. If you are outside of our hotel block, you will not have access to this valuable resource.
COMMUNITY - The fun and fellowship of meeting new friends during your time in San Antonio takes place at the hotels. If you were to secure your own accommodations at a condo, time share or hotel outside of the Gathering's room block, you would miss out on this important piece of your overall Gathering experience.
A: Groups may arrange to stay three days before or after the Gathering (July 1-5) in their assigned hotel rooms.
A: We will have a prayer and praise component during the evenings of the Gathering. Information for about how to apply will be available on the website in January 2013 after registration confirmations have been sent.
A: Groups interested in serving in the San Antonio community or in the Convention Center during the days of the Gathering can indicate so on the Gathering registration form.
A:The application and audition process to be a part of the Gathering wind symphony, choir, or dance troupe can be found under the Youth
tab or directly at www.lcmsgathering.com/worship
A: The theme for the 2013 National LCMS Youth Gathering is "Live Love(d)," based on I John 4:9. "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (NIV)
About this theme, the press release notes, "Those involved in the theme development process also noted that, as God’s people, we live confidently in the love shown to us in Christ and respond in love to others. They also observed that there are many young people hungering to know they are loved and for whom the Gospel of Christ gives the ultimate benefit and encouragement.”
Theme development planning included the staff of LCMS Youth Ministry, the 2013 Gathering Executive Team, Gathering planners and other "creative experts," including Rev. Dr. Joel Lehenbauer of the Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations. Dr. Lehenbauer will serve as theological adviser for the planning process of the 2013 event.
Q: Why are the Gathering dates over the Fourth of July?
A: When considering a host city for the 2013 Gathering, San Antonio, Texas, was the obvious choice in regards to facilities, hotels and general city accommodations. Also, considered in the selection process was that through mid-June and mid-July, San Antonio’s only available dates for the Gathering are July 1-5, 2013.
San Antonio city officials provided much needed guidance regarding the citys' celebration of the Fourth.
Through much prayer, discussion and consideration, Gathering planners selected San Antonio and the available dates as the best option for the Gathering.
Gathering planners consider the Fourth as an important family holiday, and in 2013 it will be an opportunity to celebrate freedom found in Christ with many other Lutheran Christians.
Also, Gathering planners adjusted the youth to adult ratio
to allow more adults/parents to attend the event. As you begin to make your plans for summer 2013 whether it's church events, family vacations, family reunions, camps, service projects, etc., please make sure you start with putting July 1-5 on your calendar for attending the National Youth Gathering. We hope to see you there!
Interestingly, the dates for the 1995 LCMS Youth Gathering in San Antonio were also over the Fourth of July. Expect special programming on the Fourth and for San Antonio to be a great host over the Fourth just as it was in 1995!