Youth Ministry

The purpose of the Youth Ministry Subcommittee is to facilitate faith formation of young people through:

  • The building up of relationships
  • Resourcing of leaders
  • Organization of youth ministry events that congregations can’t do on their own

For more information on youth ministry in the NIS, contact your conference representative:

NorthPr. Neal Cannon (chair), Pr. Joanna Patterson

NEPr. Paul Cannon (secretary)

EastDeacon Shari Trotter, Mike Markwell

CentralMelissa Nicholson, Pr. Karyn Kost, Peg Miller

SouthJudy Wilkinson

SWHaley Gustafson

West – vacant

NWBeth Schneider

LOMCAudrey Adams, Russ Senti

Synod LiaisonDeacon Karin Graddy


    Youth Ministry subcommittee seeks youth for leadership team and Think Bigger event

    The main goal of the Northern Illinois Synod Youth Ministry subcommittee is simple:  To do youth ministry that individual churches can’t do on their own.

    We are launching a new youth leadership team for the synod!  Two youth from each conference will be chosen to plan and lead youth ministry events for the whole synod.

    These youth will meet for our first ever Think Bigger – Youth Leadership Overnight beginning March 8 at LOMC and ending March 9 at Kishwaukee College (at CRE) to gather and brainstorm new possibilities for ministry!

    Pastors and youth workers are asked to recommend high school (9-12th grade) youth who are committed to their faith, are looking for fellowship with other teens, and are seeking a place to enhance their leadership skills.  In order to become part of the team, they need to fill out an online application for their conference (below).

    Applications will be accepted until February 7.

    An adult chaperone from your church IS NOT necessary for the Think Bigger event, but you may send your youth leader if they are interested in attending.  The cost is FREE!  Participants will need a ride to and from the Think Bigger event unless arranged with the NIS Youth Ministry team ahead of time.  However, travel WILL be provided from LOMC to Kishwaukee College.

    For questions, suggestions, or other thoughts, please contact your conference representative or subcommittee chair Pr. Neal Cannon (

    North Conference

    Adult Representatives:

    Northeast Conference

    Adult Representatives:

    East Conference

    Adult Representative:

    Central Conference

    Adult Representatives:

    South Conference

    Adult Representative:

    Southwest Conference

    Adult Representative:

    West Conference

    Adult Representative:

    Northwest Conference

    Adult Representatives:


    2018 ELCA Youth Leadership Summit

    In November, three youth and two adults from the Northern Illinois Synod traveled to Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center in Ashland Nebraska for the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit. Watch the video below to find out more about the trip.

    The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and adult representatives from each synod from across The ELCA. This summit focuses on leadership development through engaging speakers and thought leaders in key areas at the intersection of leadership and faith in daily life AND faith formation and building connections for high school youth in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Youth are challenged to take home what they have learned to inspire action in their own synods and youth groups. The Youth Leadership Summit is a shared ministry between ELCA Youth Ministry and the SYMBOL (Synod Youth Ministry Band of Leaders) Network.

    Alison from Grace, Loves Park wrote this about her experience:

    This year I was selected by the Northern Illinois Synod to be one of two youth representatives at the ELCA Youth Leadership Summit in Nebraska. I spent a weekend at the camp with other youth leaders from across the United States, and it was exciting to meet people my own age with similar beliefs, experiences, and values. The first night I was there, I and the other girls in my room held our own impromptu discussion on topics of faith, racial justice, and our general views of the world; these meaningful conversations gave me a broader view of issues throughout the country, some similar to my community and others wildly different, but just as important. The topic for the weekend’s events was Advocacy, and through various workshops and speakers, I learned about different types of injustice in the world. I was provided with tools and connections to help me get involved in these missions, and I learned how to bring my new knowledge and skills back home to my congregation. The connections I made at the summit will be lifelong, and I am now aware of many more ways to use my faith to help the people of my country. It was an honor to be selected to go, and it was an unforgettable experience that has enhanced my leadership in the Church.