A new design for the
ELCA Youth Gathering
Destination: It’s more than New Orleans. It is
your home town. Even your own home! And it’s
Purpose: Serving like Jesus Christ – recognizing
the humanity of every person. It is about living
a life of compassionate justice.
Mission: Christians are called to a life of
ELCA Youth will enter into Gods presence
in New Orleans to receive the witness of
others and practice their faith. It is
entering without intent to fix or make
better, but to be made open to new
ideas about our environment, our
experiences, and our lens for living
“Let each of you look not to your own
interests, but to the interests of others.
Let the same mind be in you that was in
Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:4-5).
Serving like Jesus Christ
...even compels us
to compassionate justice
We will serve the people
who are victims of
not be on the
36,000 people “out” in
the city each day is
That is about 1/6 of the
population in the city
of New Orleans.
We are guests in New Orleans in
We will enter with respect.
Are you aware that thousands of
people are still displaced from their
It’s been more than 2 years.
The first point of the New Gathering Design is that we are
not the priority. This is more than a fun trip to a new city.
More than encountering a huge Lutheran community.
And more than stirring consciousness about Jesus and
living Christian in the world.
Sure, it will be fun. There will be Lutherans everywhere.
We will know more about Jesus and what Jesus has done
for us. We will know more about the world God created.
Yet there is something deeper in 2009.
Think about improvising... we are creating a new sound,
adding to the basic beat of your own congregation.
We believe the young people are ready for this jazz.
The 2009 Youth
Gathering will invite
everyone who attends
to mature in their faith
by encountering Jesus
in the humanity of New
Orleans and returning
home to practice
Now, for the “HOW” part of this design.
It is 5 steps. So...Step #1:
Everyone will prioritize their “Interest Area.” That
means using an Assessment Tool for discerning your
passions and gifts, congregational assets, local
neighborhood needs and sense of call during the
_Art & Culture
_Health & Wellness
_Wealth & Poverty
Step #2 After using the Assessment Tool and
registration, you will receive your “Interest Area”
assignment. You will get ready to come through lots
of different activities in your own congregation and
Choose from a menu of activities or think of your own
so you come to New Orleans with basic knowledge
_Your assigned Interest Area
_Your own neighborhood
_Your own congregation
Step 3 Everyone will enter their “Interest Area”
by rotating through three days of compassionate
That means serving is more than hands-on help.
(That is only one part!) Compassionate justice
includes studying scripture, praying, knowing the
world around us, actively helping and truly caring
Compassionate Justice is less about what we
“want to do” and more about accompanying
people – God’s Work, Our Hands. We have three
days designed for you focusing on:
800 college students and young adults will
lead the way.
Each Interest Area (approx. 6000 people)
will be divided into Serving Teams of
approximately 45 people
Each Serving Team will have a Servant
Companion with them throughout the
*Pass the word to young adults you know...
Applications available in April 2008!
JESUS Day: Who’s Jesus and how
do we believe in and follow him
Expect a cafeteria of choices, tons of learning centers,
conversations and safe places to ask questions, wonder
about God and our world, discover Biblical
perspectives, engage in theological reflection and pray.
These are BIG IDEAS ABOUT GOD, YOU AND OUR WORLD!
Relax. It won’t be boring. If you already know a lot you
will be challenged to think bigger. If you are new at
reading the Bible, you will get the basics and a lot more.
Either way, this day is going to help you understand
Compassionate Justice through engaging, new
JAZZ Day: The music becomes
part of our very being
The world is a messy place and most of the time we don’t
even know the half of it! Your Jazz day will make you
aware of new things! You will learn some unknowns about
your Interest Area, including facts and current concerns in
our world. You will hear great music, stories, and
speakers. The Interaction Center will be your playground
as you encounter a new understanding of your baptismal
This will be a day with a bit of listening, tons of
conversations and interactive learning so you are wiser
and challenged in your compassionate justice. Embrace
your power as a Christian!
Justice Day: serving like Jesus,
making the world holy & whole
Imagine this: New Orleans will have three solid days with
12,000 Lutherans making an impact each day!
You will be assigned for a particular Compassionate
Justice Project in the city within your Interest Area. The
city is expecting us to show up! Your day will include
driving to & from a project site, working on a project and
being part of the recovery in New Orleans. (A
transportation plan is in the works!)
There is a plan to these projects that is bigger than any
one person or that any one congregation can complete.
We are using our power as a Christian community to seek
justice in our world – this will feel big and small at the
Step Four: Reflection
Each day at the Gathering you will be filled with new
things to think about. You might disagree with things
you hear, you might have your heart stirred in ways
you didn’t expect, you might figure out more about
who God created you to be... Whatever happens, we
know you’ll need to de-brief!
Throughout the day in your Interest Area and each
evening in your congregational group we encourage
you to reflect: ponder, talk, listen and pray.
Reflection is an essential part of
Step Five: Go and do likewise!
The Gathering isn’t over when you leave
New Orleans. Actually in many ways it is
just starting. Think of the Gathering as the
metaphor for serving, not the destination.
Now you get to use your new ideas and
deepening faith to discover your own
How will you live out compassionate
justice at home, at school, at work, at
The Gathering is really more of a sending!
5 Step Re-cap:
1. Discern your Interest Area using the Assessment Tool.
2. Get ready at home – learn, pray, serve!
3. Journey through a rotation of three days immersed
in JESUS, JUSTICE AND JAZZ!
4. Reflect on the journey.
5. Go home and practice compassionate justice!
This new design is hugely different: you are part of
more than an event. This is a movement of
compassionate justice. The invitation into New Orleans
will launch you into the world in the name of Jesus in
new ways. We are already praying for you.
Interest Areas: Prioritize Art & Culture, Health &
Wellness, Wealth & Poverty, Literacy, Housing or
Servant Companions: Young adults trained to
journey with your Serving Team for all 3 days.
Serving Teams: A group of 45 people together
all 3 days.
Jesus Day: Interactive Biblical &
theological thinking to go deeper in your
Justice Day: Interest Area projects serving
the city of New Orleans
Jazz Day: Expanding your awareness in
your Interest Area and embracing your own
power as a Christian in our world.
Compassionate Justice: Serving like
Compassionate Justice is a Paradigm Shift:
From occasional service to a
way of life, way of making decisions, etc.
From “helping the poor” to
seeking justice, advocacy, challenging oppression
From “looking out for #1” to
looking through others’ eyes
From service as “building projects” to
service as a accompaniment, learner,
Mass Gathering: You can look forward to the
privilege of participating with the “whole”
gathering community each evening in the Super
Community Life: Hotels will be expecting you. The
Gathering provides teams of trained leaders to
host and support you for a quality stay in New
Other Gathering Teams: Literally thousands of
volunteers make up the leadership for 2009 Youth
Gathering. This includes everyone from Bishops
to Operations to the Tech Team. Don’t forget the
Info Line and Safety & Security Team, the
Transportation Team, the Gathering Volunteer
Corps, musicians, performers, and behind-the-
scenes office staff! The ocean of people who are
preparing for you to come is amazing!