2018 ELCA Youth Gathering

June 27 – July 1, 2018
Houston, Texas







Some 600 youth and adults from the Northeastern Iowa Synod joined more than 30,000 others for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering at Houston in June. They came together for five days of faith formation, worship, interactive learning, Bible study, community service projects, and fellowship. During this time the young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

The theme for the 2018 Gathering was “This Changes Everything,” based on Ephesians 2:8: “By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Thank you to everyone who helped youth from this synod attend. Watch for more information in the September issue of the Star newsletter.

ELCA Youth Gatherings are held every three years. The next Gathering will be June 29 – July 3, 2021, in Minneapolis.

Read more at the ELCA Youth Gathering Facebook page

Read more at the Northeastern Iowa Synod, ELCA Facebook page


Watch videos from the Gathering

If you’re interested in seeing what our youth experienced, you can watch  videos from the ELCA Youth Gathering. 

Watch videos from the ELCA Youth Gathering.
Follow the event on Facebook
Follow #ELCAYH2018 on Twitter. 



Keep the Gathering Momentum Going

ANDERSON-MARK-smDear Gathering Grown-Ups,

The ELCA Youth Gathering is not simply a five-day event. It involves both months of planning, preparing and Bible study, along with months of post-Gathering follow-up. Just as good preparation makes for a good Gathering, good follow-up strengthens youth ministry and the congregation as a whole. These next few weeks are a crucial time in the Gathering follow-up.

Many of you have given your youth the opportunity to share their experience with the congregation on a Sunday morning and/or in the congregational newsletter. Once that’s complete, the next step is to give the youth who attended the gathering, and those that did not, a chance to get together.

Many youth talked about how much the servant day meant to them. “God’s work. Our hands.” day is coming up on Sept. 9. This is a great opportunity for the youth to engage in a local service project. A better idea is to have the youth lead a congregational multi-generational service project in the community. 

If you need more information or resources, please go to www.elca.org/dayofservice. If you need ideas or help organizing something, let me know.

Your Partner in Ministry,

— Pastor Mark Anderson, Assistant to the Bishop


2021 ELCA Youth Gathering

June 29-July 3, 2021





For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. — Ephesians 2:8

This scripture about grace is the foundation for the Gathering’s theme, “This Changes Everything.” Grace, undeserved and freely given, changes lives and perspectives as people realize they are enough because of what Christ has done and they are called into the world to serve their neighbor and share the good news.


Emails from Pastor Mark

Pastor Mark Anderson has been sending a series of emails to adult leaders of congregations to help them plan and prepare for the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. Those emails are posted below to download and share with others.


Webinars and Videos (5-29-18)

We Have a Winner (5-24-18)

Tax Exemption (5-17-18)

Safety & Security (5-11-18)

Covenant (4-11-18)

Housing (4-6-18)

A Contest with a Prize (4-5-18)

Feeding Your Crew (3-14-18)

Community Life (3-6-2018)

Rotation Schedule (2-27-2018)

Service Learning Day (2-21-2018)

Interactive Learning Day (2-13-2018)

Synod Day (2-6-2018)

Hotel Assignments (1-31-2018)


Got Questions?

Find Answers in the Official Gathering Handbook!

Q:   How do I recruit and choose an adult leader? What does the Adult Leader do?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 11,44, 56


Q:   How does the Gathering registration process work?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 20


Read More


Q:   How much will the Gathering cost? What should our budget be? Sample Budget?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 21, 92-94


Q:   How does our group raise money?

A:    Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 22


Q:   Where will be housed?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 32


Q:   How do we find restaurants?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 35


Q:   What should we pack?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 39


Q:   What will happen at the Gathering

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on pages 41, 57-61


Q:   Do you have a sample of a group Covenant?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 27, 86-91


Q.   Where can I find Pastor Anderson’s name in the Gathering Handbook?

A:   Look in the Gathering Handbook on page 6, 30



Download the Official Gathering Handbook

2018 ELCA Youth Gathering Poster






Download Poster



File for a Hotel Tax Exemption

In the state of Texas, congregations are tax exempt, including the 16 percent hotel tax. To receive the hotel tax exemption, congregations need to present a tax exempt certificate.

To apply for the tax exemption, download and complete the Texas Application for Exemptions.



2015 Youth Gathering Recap


Some 600 youth and adults from the Northeastern Iowa Synod the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit under the theme “Rise Up Together.”

Read More about the 2015 Gathering.