HT assists parents, congregations and pastors by cultivating and promoting a Lutheran identity in youth. The annual conferences are one of their key tools for doing that. HT is a well run program and the conferences reflect that. Last weekend at the Doxology gathering I met Rev. Todd Peperkorn, one of the founders of the group, and thanked him for all his work and also told him that if BJS could become half the service group that HT is we would be quite happy. HT is currently headed up by Rev. William Cwirla and a team of fine pastors and laity who are all about being genuinely Lutheran.
Our church sends several youth to the HT conferences every year under the guidance of my partner Rev. Stephen Schumacher. We consider these gatherings to be a key part of our catechesis and also as a means for creating a deeper Lutheran identity in our own congregation. We highly recommend HT conferences for your youth.
I personally attended the conference a few years ago in St. Louis and found it to be edifying, instructional and fun. Prior to that I had attended at least six LCMS national youth gatherings as a youth and as a pastor. HT has a saying which I believe distinguishes them from the LCMS gatherings. At HT they say they are all about “real worship, real study and real fun.” The point is they clearly separate these three activities. At the LCMS national gatherings they combine worship with fun and study with worship and fun with study which makes for week long “faith party” so to speak and leads the youth to desire “funky” and “enjoyable” worship and study when they return home to St. Smithers Lutheran Church in North Cornstalk, Iowa. (Please allow a little self-deprecating humor since I was born and raised in Iowa and as I write this am looking ahead a few hours today to another Hawkeye victory.) Of course the pastor cannot deliver such, nor should he. When young people attend an HT conference they come back home appreciating a rich, reverent worship that is fully liturgical and traditional. And in addition, they come back telling stories of how they had fun at all the various venues at the conference that were intended for just that without mixing worship and study into the fun.
Even if you only have one or two youth who might go, take some time and check out the HT conference details and make a trek to Utah or to Memphis next summer. You will have real worship, real study and real fun!
By Pastor Rossow