Youth Gathering News – June 2017

Volunteer

Volunteer applications are open! Love the Gathering but aren’t in 8th-12th grade or a group’s adult leader? Join us at the Gathering as one of our many volunteers. Be a part of the faith formation and transformation of lives for thousands of our young people.

Learn more about our four volunteer opportunities and submit your application here!

 


MYLE

“For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God.” (Ephesians 2:14-19)

In God’s eternal plan and wisdom there is a way to remove these barriers. This new humanity would no longer be many, but ONE believer in Christ. In other words, this was God’s plan for the unity of many into ONE new people in Christ.

As each individual, congregation, ethnic community and language gathers at MYLE, we will celebrate our uniqueness, dive into Scripture, serve in the Houston community, learn from teachers and elders, spread joy in fellowship and, most importantly, worship the Lord who makes us ONE!

To learn more about previous MYLEs, follow the event on Facebook and check out pictures from past events.


The tAble

The tAble (formerly DAYLE) will gather under the theme “You Belong.” A sense of “belonging” is not always a truth that the world and culture extend. We continuously wonder: “Where do I fit in?” “Why am I different from others?” “What gifts could I possibly bring?” And yet, we are reminded in Psalm 139, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are made – wonderfully – by the very God who names us and claims us as children. We belong to God! At The tAble: We believe in the promise that we all, and therefore, YOU, belong – to God, at Christ’s Table, within the church and within our communities.

To learn more about the tAble, follow our new Facebook page!


Webinar schedule

Do you have questions about getting-ready materials, registration, interactive learning or other program areas? Not to fear, the Gathering is here! To help you prepare, the Gathering is offering monthly webinars focused on our different program areas hosted by our team leaders. Webinars will be held the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. Central time. Check out our schedule, sign up and mark your calendars.


Handbook pro tip: Address fears and expectations

Houston is a BIG city. We will be surrounded by 30,000 people. This could be your youth’s first time traveling from home. Will McDonald’s run out of food?

These are legitimate concerns that your group may face while planning or experiencing the Gathering. No matter where you’re from, the Gathering will present a unique set of challenges and opportunities for you and your young people. The best thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone. You are part of an incredible network with resources to help you prepare.

Find these resources in “The Official Gathering Handbook: Tips and tricks for adult leaders.


The Bayou City

Officially, Houston’s nickname is Space City. However, over the years Houston has been known by a variety of other names, such as Clutch City, H-Town and the Bayou City. Why the Bayou City? Houston has 10 bayous that flow throughout the city and the surrounding areas. Bayous are bodies of water that are found in flat, low-lying areas, and they are usually very slow moving. In Houston, these bayous play a vital role in trade and commerce that connect Houston with the rest of the world. Buffalo Bayou, which is Houston’s main bayou, is a driving force behind the Houston Ship Channel and the Port of Houston, the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage. These bayous are also recreational hotspots and feature running and biking trails and concert venues, among other things. The Bayou Greenways 2020 is an initiative to connect all the bayous in Houston by a walking and biking trail to give Houstonians and visitors easier access to the many waterways that Houston is known for.


Devotion

Matthew 19:13-15
Let the children come to me

There is a story in Matthew 19 that I like to call the “Let the children come to me” story. I heard it a lot growing up. Off the top of my head, I could tell you that basically some kids came up to Jesus, but the adults told them to go away, and Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” I could tell you that this story is obviously about how we’re all supposed to have childlike faith and that Jesus probably said something like “for the kingdom of God belongs to them.”

So, I looked it up. And he did. The story is just three sentences long: Kids come to Jesus, and people are mad. Jesus says let them stay because the kingdom of God is theirs. And he blesses them. That’s it. I was a little disappointed. I thought I would find a little more wisdom. I thought that if I had heard this story so many times then there must be something more to it than that. Everybody knows that God loves children and that adults overcomplicate things. Am I overcomplicating this? Is that really it? Is this what’s supposed to “change everything”? It can’t really be that simple, can it?

So, I reflect on all the ways I overcomplicate things. Questions that I have about why bad things like disease and disaster happen. Questions about heaven and hell. Questions about how we’re supposed to live. And I think back to that song for the kids: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” And I know that I am not overcomplicating things. Things are not that simple. Because that statement – the fact that God loves me and loves every other person in the world – fundamentally changes the way this world works. It messes things up. It complicates things. It makes me ask questions. And sometimes it makes me confused, frustrated, angry or sad. But you know what? Children ask questions. Children get confused, frustrated, angry and sad. And what did Jesus say? “Let the children come to me.”

– Tyler, North Carolina


2018 Gathering timeline at a glance

July 15, 2017 – Volunteer application closes;
                           financial assistance application opens
Sept. 15, 2017 – Registration opens and early bird
                           rate begins
Nov. 16, 2017 – Regular registration rate begins

Feb. 16, 2018 – Late registration rate begins
May 15, 2018 – Registration closes and all
payments are due
June 24-27, 2018 – MYLE and the tAble
June 27-July 1, 2018 – ELCA Youth Gathering