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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Youth ministry comes in all sizes

For nearly 15 years, I gathered with young people in church youth rooms and homes, loaded them onto vans and buses, and ate so much pizza that I couldn’t make myself order one for a good six months once I “retired.” That is serious burnout.

But the memories and faces of those kids—now well into adulthood—come back to me like a slide show when I think about youth ministry in our church. The children and youth, and the adults who work and play, learn and serve with them, are perhaps our finest treasure. Results of a comprehensive study released in August prove that the word “treasure” is not an overstatement—especially as compared to other mainline Protestant denominations. (See, "The secrets of their success," page 18 in the print edition.)

We cherish the faith development of our young people, and as the “slide show” on these pages shows (see "Portraits of youth"), young people throughout the ELCA also love their church. Its significance in shaping their lives and faith is nearly impossible to put into words. Perhaps their faces will help tell their stories.


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