Mark’s thoughts: What’s up with Higher Things? Come and see.

July 20th, 2013 Post by

Found over on Pastor Surburg’s blog, Surburg.blogspot.com:

 

Closing Divine Service at From Above 2013 at Purdue University

Closing Divine Service at From Above 2013 at Purdue University

Last week I helped take our high school youth to the Higher Thing “From Above” conference on the campus of Purdue University.  It was a great experience and the fact that it followed in the week after the National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, TX prompted me to think again about large youth events, and about how and why Higher Things does them.

If we ask why the Lutheran church does large youth events, the answers will probably prompt little disagreement.  We gather together large numbers of Lutheran youth so that they can experience that they are not alone.  Living in one congregation and surrounded by many Christians who are not Lutheran, it is easy to feel isolated and insignificant.  This is all the more true of settings like my own congregation – smaller congregations that exist in a largely non-Lutheran area.  When there are less than twenty high school youth at your church and every other Christian you know is Baptist, non-denominational, Methodist or Pentecostal it is encouraging to have the opportunity to gather with a thousand other youth who are Lutheran just like you are.

We have large youth events because we recognize that in these settings we are able to do things on a scale and with a quality that most youth will never experience in their own congregation.  For this reason, these events are likely to make an impression on youth.  The new setting itself of living for a time away from family and with other youth enhances the likelihood that this will happen.  We hope that congregational life can in turn foster the new insights and perceptions that are gained in the unique setting of the youth event.

Large youth events allow us to expose youth to a variety of skilled teachers.  There are those who are gifted in the art of teaching the faith to youth, and large events allow a sizeable number of youth to learn from them.  In addition, these events provide the opportunity for youth to learn from someone other than their own pastor.  The same teaching received from a different source often meets with a more interested reception among youth, even as it reinforces what the parish pastor teaches week in and week out.

Finally we also have large youth events because they are fun.  Gathering as Lutherans and having fun in the course of hanging out and spending recreation time together is itself a good thing as we enjoy God’s First Article gifts.  We have fun together and this in turn helps to shape the way we view life in the Church.  Life in the Church is a serious thing, but it can also be a fun and enjoyable thing, and that in itself is good.

There are a number of good reasons why we have large youth events.  The National Youth Gathering of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has been part of my own experience both as a youth attending and as an adult chaperoning.  As a youth, I thought it was a fun trip in which I got to see more of Washington D.C.  The mass events were completely different from what we did at church on Sunday.  They were hyped up and emotional and I didn’t know exactly what to make of them when I thought about Sundays in my congregation.  I thought that the teaching was lame and boring.  There was little of substance that I found interesting and so I met a cute girl, skipped most of the break away sessions and walked around the city with her. I had a grand time.

As an adult with seminary training things looked very different.  I had grown up in a congregation that used the liturgy but never taught or explained anything about it.  The appearance of the competing alternative in “contemporary worship” had prompted teaching in the LCMS about the liturgy – where it came from, what it is and why we use it.  The consideration of the two sides had left no doubt in my mind about the fact that the Lutheran Church is a liturgical church because it is a catholic and sacramental Church. (see Mark’s thoughts: The Book of Concord’s catholic perspective on worship)  By contrast “contemporary worship” was the product of a foreign non-catholic, non-sacramental theology – it was the fruit of frontier revivalism and charismatic tendencies that have long existed in American Christianity.  By its very nature it forms Christians who approach the faith in ways that are contrary to Lutheran theology.

What I saw at the “mass events” of the National Youth Gathering had almost nothing to do with the liturgy in the hymnals of the LCMS and instead was an extremely professional and impressive display of contemporary worship forms and music.  Allowing for some exceptions, the teaching was not particularly substantive and did not seek to inculcate the Small Catechism.  The extreme size of nearly twenty thousand youth in a large urban setting was a veritable invitation to do exactly what I had done as a youth.

By the time I had arrived in my current parish, I could not understand why I would ever want to send my congregation’s youth to the National Youth Gathering.  I had no doubt that given the scale and quality with which the mass events were done, they would make an impression on our youth. The problem was that what they were doing was completely different from what happened at Good Shepherd on a Sunday morning.  However, it wasn’t hard to find something that was just like it. One needed look no further than the non-denominational churches that dominate our area. Members had noticed a problem too.  They asked why they sent youth to the National Youth Gatherings, since on multiple occasions youth came back from the gathering and soon went on to join non-denominational churches.  It was a good question and I didn’t think it was hard to figure out the answer.  You don’t train Lutherans to be Lutheran by worshiping and acting like non-denominational Christians.

Now at this point I must concede that were will be those who strongly disagree.  They will say that the National Youth Gatherings are wonderful Gospel events of the LCMS and that it is mean spirited to criticize them.  On the first point I can only say that this reveals very different understandings of what it means to be Lutheran.  That is the root problem of this topic, but it is one that I am not seeking to address here (see Mark’s thoughts: Why liturgy? – Thoughts about its form and function in the Lutheran Church).  If you think the National Youth Gatherings and their “mass events” are wonderful then you have a very different understanding of Lutheranism and the gatherings are indeed where you should take your youth.  On the second point I will maintain that noting substantive concerns and objections is not, by definition, a matter of being mean spirited. In this case, it simply indicates that I have concerns and objections related to a fundamental disagreement.

However, if you are a pastor or lay person who feels uncomfortable with what you see at “mass events,” etc. of the National Youth Gatherings; if you know that they look nothing like your Sunday service and are concerned about this; if you find yourself having to overlook things on a regular basis because you know that the National Youth Gathering is “supposed” to be a wonderful thing, then I am writing to you.  Let me say that I have no official ties of any kind to Higher Things.  I have never served in worship services at their conferences.  I have never even taught a small sectional.  I am just a pastor who has attended three of them during the last six years, and I want to share what I have found there because I believe that you should give it a try.

I knew that I did not want to take youth to the National Youth Gathering.  I had heard about Higher Things and had researched who they were and what they did.  So in 2008 we took our youth to the “Amen” conference on the campus of Saint Louis University.  I will freely admit that I had some apprehension.  I wanted it to work out because I needed a large event to which we could take our youth. But what would the youth think?  I knew Higher Things built their schedule around the Prayer Offices of Matins, Vespers and Evening Prayer.  How would the kids respond to this?  We have no weekday morning service at our congregation, so they had never seen Matins (every Sunday service is a Divine Service which culminates in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Altar).  What would they think of church services three times a day using the liturgy?  What would the teaching be like? Would the youth think it was all boring?  Would they have any fun?

The conference turned out to be huge success for us.  The daily pattern of the Prayer Offices was new to them but they soon became accustomed to it and they did in fact appreciate it.  The teaching drew rave reviews because it had substance. They were treated like young people who had significant intellectual abilities and they responded to this. And they had fun – a lot of fun.  I learned that what Higher Things said was true: At Higher Things worship is worship, teaching is teaching, and fun is fun.

At a Higher Things conference the day begins with Matins. Plenary sessions, various break away sessions (and lunch) then take place before Vespers in the mid-afternoon.  More instructional sessions, dinner and some free time occur before the formal schedule of the day ends with Evening Prayer around 7:00 p.m.  After this there is free time to enjoy the facilities of the campus. On one evening there are planned fun events that sometimes go off campus.  Groups are encouraged to end the day with Compline in dorms before lights go out at 12:00 a.m.  The conference begins and ends with a Divine Service.

In this schedule the entire day is structured around hearing God’s word and the response of praise and prayer.  Worships services at a Higher Things conference make an impression.  If a church or chapel is not available on campus, an auditorium is deftly transformed into a reverent worship space.  The liturgy of the Divine Service and the Prayer Offices are conducted in a high quality fashion.  The music is of a standard that few congregations can attain. The preaching is some of the best I have ever heard – substantive but aimed at the youth in attendance.  When you put all of these elements together in a setting where a thousand or so youth and their leaders are present, you have a remarkable experience of liturgical worship at its best. Anyone who says that youth can’t “get into the liturgy” has never attended a Higher Things conference.

Catechesis at a Higher Things conference seeks to teach the Lutheran theology of the Small Catechism.  There is excellent biblical teaching that engages a whole range of topics which youth encounter in the world around them.  Yet the unifying themes that run through all of the catechesis are those foundational truths confessed in the Small Catechism. The pastors who teach want to enable the youth to “Dare to be Lutheran” because the Lutheran confession of the faith is true and our youth should never settle for anything less.

Higher Things conferences take place on university campuses.  These settings provide the dynamic of youth living for a time away from home with youth from other parts of the country.  They provide recreation facilities and settings in which they can hang out and have fun.  However, it also provides a setting where there are fewer distractions than a large city and its convention center or dome.  It is much easier to maintain the focus on why the youth are there when sight seeing is not one of the goals of the trip.

If you are concerned or troubled by the features of the National Youth Gathering that I have described above, you need to know that there is an outstanding alternative.  Higher Things conferences combine the reasons that we do large youth events with the best of Lutheran worship and catechesis.  They have been a tremendous blessing to the youth of our congregation as we seek to equip them to live and confess the faith as Lutherans.  If that is your goal too, come and see what happens at a Higher Things conference.






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  1. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 12:58 | #1

    Mrs. Hume :

    OK, you have a problem with the NYG but have never attended one. You make your evaluations based on other’s people evaluations. This allows you to make conclusions out of context and outside of your own experience. All I am saying is that your criticisms would hold more weight if you actually experienced it.

    Okay, then, Robert Hoffman actually experienced it. With whom should his criticisms hold weight? with you? with me? with Dittmer?
    I am looking at the words he wrote.
    They hold weight with me because he actually experienced it.

    Fair enough. But what about my experiences? Do they hold weight with you?

  2. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:04 | #2

    @Rev. McCall #50

    Thank you, Rev. McCall.

    I think you would agree that there are enough great pastors in the LCMS to make sure every session is a good one. I hope you will go back to your circuit and encourage those pastors to apply to lead a session in 2016. I think you would agree that those people giving poor presentations need help to do a better job as do those who approved and scheduled the “doozies.” We should all help to do better. I hope that the office of Youth Ministry can accept constructive feedback in the spirit in which it is offered.

  3. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:09 | #3

    Mrs. Hume,

    It seems that you are apprehensive about contacting the YM office about your concerns. Why is that?

  4. Rev. McCall
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:19 | #4

    @Mrs. Hume #2
    I agree with all those things! :-)

  5. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:22 | #5

    @Dr. Anderson #1

    In the context of your other comments, and given that you managed not to notice stuff I said two and even three times, I lean towards thinking that you like a lot of the style of NYG. I am guessing that perhaps you didn’t notice a lot of stuff, focused on what you liked and with some luck dodged any “doozie” presentations. Probably not unlike many attendees. Given that I read the descriptions of the sessions and presenters at NYG and HT, I have some idea what they were like. At HT there were no doozies or weak theology. It was all good. So, I didn’t have to worry about that. I’m sure it was possible for people to have a good experience at NYG, but I think that is heavily dependent on how they chose to see it and what sessions they chose to see. Evaluations I have seen of HT are pretty objective and positive. Evaluations I have seen of NYG are mixed but of two general types, subjective and positive, objective and not so positive. Subjective or vague evaluations are hard for me to grasp, so I generally ignore them and those that give them. No offense, people just have different ways of understanding. I like objective evaluations because then I know exactly what the person is referring to. Robert Hoffman gave an objective evaluation as did you at comment # 30 regarding the service. Those are comments I can understand.

  6. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:27 | #6

    Dr. Anderson :
    Mrs. Hume,
    It seems that you are apprehensive about contacting the YM office about your concerns. Why is that?

    I think you missed my comment.

    Mrs. Hume :
    @Robert Hoffman #31
    I think Dr. Anderson is right about contacting Dittmer and the Youth ministry office and expressing concerns. If everyone who has a concern does that, then he won’t be able to say that he got nothing but good reactions and no one has expressed any concerns to him. It is easy.
    Phone: (314)822-0811
    terry.dittmer@lcms.org

    I have emailed Dittmer and expressed concerns at different times.

  7. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:35 | #7

    Mrs. Hume,

    I apologize. I felt like I gave you objective evaluations on the NYG 2013. Was everything that I saw perfect? No. But I consider it more of a personal preference than a doctrinal miscue. I am sure that there were some poor sectionals and they were in desperate need of a theological adjustment. But I can only judge by my own experiences not the ones who read the catalogue and think that it doesn’t match with HT (which neither of us has experienced). Or even those who had negative experiences because they probably came into the gathering with different expectations than I did.

    You seemed to be stuck on the 2010 NYG. I am not familiar with that gathering so I chose not to comment on drum lines (DRUM LINES!).

    I do prefer the NYG over HT. And I have a myriad of reasons, both theological and personal. None of which I would like to discuss because I don’t feel like putting more energy into a non-productive discussion.

  8. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:37 | #8

    Mrs. Hume :

    Dr. Anderson :
    Mrs. Hume,
    It seems that you are apprehensive about contacting the YM office about your concerns. Why is that?

    I think you missed my comment.

    Mrs. Hume :
    @Robert Hoffman #31
    I think Dr. Anderson is right about contacting Dittmer and the Youth ministry office and expressing concerns. If everyone who has a concern does that, then he won’t be able to say that he got nothing but good reactions and no one has expressed any concerns to him. It is easy.
    Phone: (314)822-0811
    terry.dittmer@lcms.org

    I have emailed Dittmer and expressed concerns at different times.

    I saw that comment but it didn’t appear that you were as willing as Mr. Hoffman to contact the office. Please let me know what they say when you do contact them. They should have at least two constructive yet critical calls on the way.

  9. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:37 | #9

    @Dr. Anderson #39

    At #139 you asked

    You said, that you think that HT speakers should teach at NYG. Is that incorrect?

    I think you missed my comment #127

    Mrs. Hume :
    Just to be clear. I am not saying, nor have I said that HT teachers should go to NYG. I am saying that there are enough pastors in the LCMS who are as good as HT teachers to fill the sessions 50 times over. Those men who are not already doing HT could step up and fill in those sessions which are of the sort Hoffman attended which could be better. My message is not so much to NYG Leadership as it is to those who should be NYG leadership. Step up and apply. If 200 great pastors apply, the NYG will have so many great presenters to choose from, they won’t have to fill any sessions with the stuff Hoffman described.

  10. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:40 | #10

    My apologies for forgetting. This conversation has gone on quite long.

    By the way, I think the pastors/teachers/DCEs involved are among the best and are doing a great job. I also know that everything is under strict doctrinal review, which is something that HT doesn’t do.

  11. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:41 | #11

    Dr. Anderson :
    Mrs. Hume,
    I apologize. I felt like I gave you objective evaluations on the NYG 2013. Was everything that I saw perfect? No. But I consider it more of a personal preference than a doctrinal miscue. I am sure that there were some poor sectionals and they were in desperate need of a theological adjustment. But I can only judge by my own experiences not the ones who read the catalogue and think that it doesn’t match with HT (which neither of us has experienced). Or even those who had negative experiences because they probably came into the gathering with different expectations than I did.
    You seemed to be stuck on the 2010 NYG. I am not familiar with that gathering so I chose not to comment on drum lines (DRUM LINES!).

    I think you missed my comment at # 155

    Here it is again.

    I like objective evaluations because then I know exactly what the person is referring to. Robert Hoffman gave an objective evaluation as did you at comment # 30 regarding the service. Those are comments I can understand.

    I do prefer the NYG over HT. And I have a myriad of reasons, both theological and personal. None of which I would like to discuss because I don’t feel like putting more energy into a non-productive discussion.

  12. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:43 | #12

    Hmm. That didn’t post correctly and there is no edit button for some reason. I will try again.

  13. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:46 | #13

    Dr. Anderson :
    Mrs. Hume,
    I apologize. I felt like I gave you objective evaluations on the NYG 2013. Was everything that I saw perfect? No. But I consider it more of a personal preference than a doctrinal miscue. I am sure that there were some poor sectionals and they were in desperate need of a theological adjustment.

    I think you missed my comment at # 155

    Here it is again.

    I like objective evaluations because then I know exactly what the person is referring to. Robert Hoffman gave an objective evaluation as did you at comment # 30 regarding the service. Those are comments I can understand.

    Okay, I hope this posts correctly

  14. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:49 | #14

    Dr. Anderson :
    My apologies for forgetting. This conversation has gone on quite long.
    By the way, I think the pastors/teachers/DCEs involved are among the best and are doing a great job. I also know that everything is under strict doctrinal review, which is something that HT doesn’t do.

    Sorry, I have to put the best construction on the NYG and assume that strict doctrinal review, um missed some stuff because people who know and actually experienced it say that they heard some theology that was not up to it.

  15. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 13:54 | #15

    I don’t mean to be rude, seriously I don’t but how do you reconcile in your own mind these two statements you just made

    I am sure that there were some poor sectionals and they were in desperate need of a theological adjustment.

    and

    . I also know that everything is under strict doctrinal review,

    I mean if they underwent strict doctrinal review, how can they be in desperate need of a theological adjustment?

  16. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 14:08 | #16

    I don’t think you’re being rude and those are valid points to bring up.

    When I said that I am sure there were some poor sectionals being offered, I was trying to give Mr. Hoffman the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t see a bad sectional and haven’t heard of someone seeing a bad sectional. Yes, there is a strict doctrinal review, but it doesn’t mean that things don’t change in the midst of the presentation. I can only hope that someone from the gathering was evaluating these sectionals while they were being presented to see if they’re being faithful to their original content.

  17. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 14:30 | #17

    @Dr. Anderson #16

    I can only hope that someone from the gathering was evaluating these sectionals while they were being presented to see if they’re being faithful to their original content.

    Or maybe they trust their presenters.

    .

  18. Rev. Robert Mayes
    July 24th, 2013 at 14:31 | #18

    @Dr. Anderson #29

    Dr. Anderson – This comes from point 29 on the 2nd page, for your reference.

    I am not going to go into a full-out argument with CCM vs. traditional, or the like. But I do notice a starting point that is very different for the two. While I have noticed this for awhile, the posts between yourself and Mrs. Hume and a few others have brought this out again.

    My observation is this: There is a lot in this current round of discussion on the issue that points to the beginning, starting place as to what the content of worship is, with the will of man. For example, I refer to any post that argues that either CCM or traditional Lutheran worship is equivalent, and the preferences of individuals or groups are to be respected. This, I observe, is your starting point. I do not mean this to be disparaging, only trying to objectively point out that you, Dr. Anderson, make a big deal out of personal or group preferences.

    The starting point for those arguing for traditional Lutheran worship (hymnal hymns and services, chanting, etc.) is not man’s preferences at all, but Scripture and Confessions. Yes, some will argue for this simply based on taste and preference. But the ones I have read do not. The reason is that only God’s Word is our norma normans, and that we uphold the Lutheran Confessions as the right confession of the faith.

    Ultimately, I observe that because the starting points between CCM and traditional Lutheran worship are different, the outcome is also different. The one begins first with man and his preference, and the traditional understanding begins first with Scripture and the Confessions. They cannot be equal therefore.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

    P.S. – What is your doctorate in, Dr. Anderson?

  19. Mrs. Hume
    July 24th, 2013 at 14:51 | #19

    You seemed to be stuck on the 2010 NYG.

    First, three years is enough time to hear from various people and get their opinions.
    Second, the 2013 NYG has just barely ended, so I haven’t heard that much. However, with the same leadership running it, it is reasonable to expect a similar event. Now, I can’t be sure of that, so I will have to wait and see what people say to give it a fair hearing. So, I hope I hear good things because thousands of our youth were there and for their sakes I hope it was much better.

  20. Robert Hoffman
    July 24th, 2013 at 17:17 | #20

    @Dr. Anderson #16

    I didn’t see a “good” sectional–except the Skit Guys and the Jesus Painter. Then again, it is painfully obvious to me that we are coming at it from two completely different sets of expectations. Of the sectionals I saw, only 1 was taught by a pastor. That would be 1 in 10 that I attended. The reason I say I didn’t see a good one was because I expected any relation to scripture to be sound and in-line doctrinally with what we preach, teach and confess as lutherans. This didn’t happen. There were some absolute falsehoods being taught as well. For example: in “Your Parents Aren’t Going to Pay for you Forever” it was stated and put on the powerpoint that money is mentioned more times than anything else in the Bible, more than 800 times. This is untrue. The ultimate result of the sectional was a recommendation to attend David Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” or ‘something like that’. Pure bullfeathers.

  21. helen
    July 24th, 2013 at 21:49 | #21

    @Dr. Anderson #10
    I also know that everything is under strict doctrinal review,
    which is something that HT doesn’t do.

    IMnsvHO, that statement is hogwash, on both counts.

  22. July 24th, 2013 at 22:05 | #22

    HT does doctrinal review for our magazine, daily Reflections, as well as many online articles. I’m not sure how “strict doctrinal review” would take place wrt presentations. I don’t know what the process is to submit proposals to present at the NYG. I’ve never seen a call for them. As far as I know, people are simply selected and asked to lead sessions.

    Since HT doesn’t ask non-Lutherans to lead any sessions, and invites pastors who are on the LCMS roster to do so, what doctrinal review is necessary? Pastors are authorized to teach in their home congregations. We do keep an eye on what is taught, and occasionally there are some doozies. Most times, the teacher is taken aside by someone before the problem is even reported up the ladder. We do have a hierarchy in place to address the problems with the teacher. If necessary, that person just isn’t invited to teach on that subject (or at all) again. Teachers are also given their evaluations from the sessions, sent in by attendees. If there are doctrinal problems, they often come out in these comments as well.

    A lot of hoopla is made over so-called “Doctrinal Review”, but considering what does manage to pass it in publications and the aforementioned NYG breakout sessions, I’m not sure what it actually accomplishes.

  23. Dr. Anderson
    July 24th, 2013 at 22:40 | #23

    Ms. O,

    Thank you for your response and for the transparency. I appreciate how HT approaches the “doozies.”

    Mrs. Hume,

    I am stepping away from this discussion because I am going out of town for a couple of days. As much as I enjoy this discussion, I don’t think my wife would appreciate me checking my phone throughout the day while we are on our anniversary trip. I will be anxiously awaiting your (and Mr. Hoffman’s) response from the YM office.

  24. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 25th, 2013 at 07:26 | #24

    [Pope] John Paul [II] was convinced that young people actually wanted to hear people address the questions of being young. Also he thought that young people needed large scale exciting symbolic events in their lives.

    Terry Mattingly of Scripps Howard News Service
    Issues, Etc.
    “2. Media Coverage of Papal Visits”
    7/24/2013

  25. “LC-MS Quotes”
    July 25th, 2013 at 08:14 | #25

    All worship and devotional materials have received approval from LCMS Doctrinal Review.

    You are my Witnesses – Luke 24:44-53
    LWML Sunday 2013
    Lutherans Women’s Missionary League
    P. O. Box 411993
    St. Louis, MO 63141-1993

  26. July 25th, 2013 at 17:22 | #26

    I’m not sure why Higher Things would need doctrinal review of our conference worship materials because they are all taken from the Lutheran Service Book. I’m pretty sure that already passed DR.

  27. Rev. Robert Mayes
    July 25th, 2013 at 17:57 | #27

    Sandra:

    Just thought you should know, and you can pass it on to others at Higher Things. We had three youths from our church go to HT Purdue this year. Two returnees, one first-timer.

    The first-timer had also gone to the NYG the week before. At first, she was kind of skeptical at what HT would be like (she had heard some disparaging comments about HT that proved to be untrue). And she seemed to have had a generally positive experience at NYG (other than a few sectionals that didn’t have much to say).

    Her overall reaction at the end of HT? “Thank you for bringing me to HT, Pastor.” Genuine thankfulness, mind you, not just saying it to be polite. This Sunday, she presented about NYG and HT to members of one of the congregations in our dual arrangement. For NYG, it was mostly about the size of it, and one sectional she went to about apologetics. For HT, she said that at first she was skeptical about what worship at HT would be like, and what she would think about having to go to church so much. But she said, worship’s no different than what we have at church. And, hearing God’s Word brought her much peace. She had a lot to talk about with regard to sectionals, too.

    Plus, she loved the Talent Show and Improv Comedy workshop.

    Again, I am thankful for all that you yourself do for HT, and for all that everyone does. HT is truly not geared around man and his preferences, but around Christ and His Word and Lutheran worship.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

  28. July 29th, 2013 at 09:37 | #28

    @Rev. Robert Mayes #18 As I have been reading these postings, and the many others on the Biblical and confessional topic of worship, youth ‘ministry’ etc., I note that we are of a schizophrenic mind, a split mind, divided mind. As you correctly observed, where we begin, Bible and Confessions or “man’s preferences”, results in one of two places and in a split mind. Then the Old Adam then can choose, remembering “heresy” is from the Greek for “”to choose”, and he loves it. The split mind promulgates and exacerbates the double mindedness of the Synod. I noted when I was the ELCA, that church body could no longer say, “we believe, teach and confess”. As a Synod, we say we do, but do we? There is only one call from Scripture, metanoia (repentance) literally a change of mind.

  29. John Rixe
    July 29th, 2013 at 13:43 | #29

    I believe most LCMS pastors are grateful that both NYG and HT begin with Bible and Confessions.  We are fortunate for the leaders and volunteers in both programs who deserve our encouragement and recommendations.

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