The Youth Conference 2015 was held at Camp Como, just outside Como, Colorado, from July 28 through August 2. It was sponsored by Immanuel Lutheran Church of Mankato, Minnesota. Twenty-eight young people (ages fourteen to twenty and representing eleven different CLC congregations) together with twelve staff members (from five different CLC congregations) immersed themselves in God’s Word for five days while standing in awe of the natural beauty of the Colorado Rockies.
Keying in on modern technology, the conference theme was “Scripture—Thousands of Apps!” Eleven ninety-minute learning sessions were held, followed by small-group discussions lasting from thirty to ninety minutes, with the students picking up those discussions at times on their own.
The topics included the following:
App 1.0 Bible App Store: Running on a 4God Network
App 2.0 Downloading Content(ment): Fostering
an Attitude of Gratitude
App 3.0 American Idle: Making Good Use of Your Time
App 4.0 Going Green God’s Way: Our Use of the Earth
App 5.0 iWorship: Dedicating All to Christ
App 6.0 MapIt: Missions
App 7.0 Giftmeister: Discovering and Developing
Gifts and Talents
App 8.0 Friend Me! Building Strong Relationships
App 9.0 Maintaining Purity: Protecting Your Heart
App 10.0 News Feed: Being Wise in a Share-Everything World
App 11.0 System Maintenance: Taking Care
of God’s Temple
Each day began and ended with a brief chapel service. Two music sessions were held each day with the young people choosing the two anthems to be sung at a closing worship service held at and hosted by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Lakewood, Colorado.
Time was set aside each day for outside activities. Almost everyone involved enjoyed an afternoon of white-water rafting on the Arkansas River, with another afternoon dedicated to zip-lining on the Camp Como property. Other free-time activities included a four-mile hike, mountain biking, frisbee golf, and rock climbing. The camp also featured a premier playground with virtually everyone enjoying a new game—Nine Squares.
The final evening at the conference included a skit night/talent show featuring five “silent” skits developed and rehearsed during the week by the staff and students, together with musical performances by a number of the students. A final group activity served to emphasize the difference between the inevitable frustration of living life without God as opposed to the ultimate peace experienced from living life with God.
Most participants traveled to Colorado via coach bus from Mankato. Those participants thank Good Shepherd of Rapid City, Redeemer of Cheyenne, St. Paul’s of Lakewood, and Grace of Valentine for their help with lodging and meals along the way, as well as those individuals subsidizing the bus transportation.
A follow-up conference evaluation by the students yielded very positive comments: “Super fun!” “It was a blast! Thanks so much!” “Life-changing!” “Loved it! Want to come back.” “The whole week was amazing.” “It’s amazing what the Lord can do in such a short time with a group of people that don’t know each other very well!” “Everyone was wonderful and I was blessed with the opportunity to meet each and every person. Thank you, . . . for your time, experience, and openness to me and my questions.”
Much prayer and planning went into this year’s conference. The Lord answered those prayers and blessed those plans! Prayer and planning for YC 2017 have already begun!
Paul Nolting is senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minnesota.