National Youth Gathering Impacts


Going on the trip to Texas was a life changing experience and will forever be a life changing experience. We were asked what 3 things from the Gathering impacted our lives. In my opinion everything had an impact.

The confidence from the speakers. They all found a way to stand up for themselves and to not let others bring them down. All were impacted by the love of God.

The Gathering inspired and forced me to make friends. I am friends with people from all over the USA. It impacted to not just stick with the people I know, but to reach out and talk to others. It made the trip even more fun.

Overall, the trip really showed me the impact of God. He shows his love in many different ways. It doesn’t matter what happened to you, God is there.

Thank you to Everyone who made this trip possible.



The speakers told me that God will help you get through anything. I felt during the Mass Gathering the 30,000 of us connected as one. Helping build the soccer field was a lot of hard work but made me think about how much it will mean to the kids when they get to play on a nice field.



The Texas trip had many impacts on me, but the three biggest ones were the phrase “there’s grace for that”, I also was impacted by the people that I met and still talk to today. The people that spoke every night had really inspirational speeches that left a good message for all of us.



Every night there were multiple speakers that made an impact on my life just by their words. Three of the things I’ve learned and remembered through these speakers were: one, God has a plan for us, so I can’t control everything.  Two, God makes no mistakes, so everything happens for a reason. And three, everyone is God’s child NO MATTER WHAT, so race and looks do not matter to Him.



First, the speakers – seeing and hearing the speakers talk about their hard times really opened my eyes to some of the issues that happen right here in our country.

Second, the amount of kids that were there and how friendly they were made me realize how caring our religion is.

Third, going down to Texas and seeing the places still in ruin after Hurricane Harvey made me realize that they still need help and how we were the ones to help.



First, the music impacted me because the messages conveyed through lyrics in the song remind us all that Jesus loves us all

Second, the speakers were very impactful because they had stories (sometimes very tragic) in which god has appeared to them to save them from bad things happening to them such as a guy who was a coke dealer that learned to stop doing and selling drugs.

Third, the Houston trip was also very impactful to me because since we had so much time together as a church, we get to know each other more and share good times together, while also learning about god’s grace, love, and hope.



First, Tenth Avenue North performed at the mass gathering…one of my favorite Christian Bands

Second, Service day made me think about all of the elementary school kids who had been playing soccer in the mud since Hurricane Harvey stalled ashore last year. It was a long, hot, humid day, but now they will be able to play on the astro-turf for which we cleared the ground and began installing.

Last thing was that the plane rides were enjoyable.  This was my first time riding on a plane that I can remember. (I am told that I flew from South Carolina to Baltimore when I was about a year old.)  I thank the congregation and anyone who donated to the gathering for giving me the chance to participate.



First, being surrounded by many of my church friends and my younger sister made the entire experience impactful. I went on this trip with them and will likely never go on anything like it again. This experience will stick in my head no doubt in part because of those around me.

Second, the “concerts” every night were filled with incredible stories of God coming through for those who were in dire situations. Hearing nearly a dozen people discuss their individual situations was moving, and made me rethink what people around me are experiencing.

Third, I was amazed at how much damage from hurricane Harvey still needed repair and maintenance. It’s crazy that it takes so long to repair from a catastrophe that lasts mere days. It showed me that relief is a long term process, and not a one day thing.


Paul V.

I loved the trip to Texas and I really wish I could go on the next one because it had such a huge impact on me and opened my eyes to God. The three main things that impacted me were: one, the speakers had amazing stories and really knew how to talk to the crowd and emotionally touch the teens in the stadium. Two, I loved meeting new people and learning about where they’re from and why they were there. And three, I loved spending time with our church and making a great relationship with the other youth and feeling welcome to them.


Paul N.

What impacted me during the youth gathering in Houston, Texas is that one of the speakers was talking about how people should talk someone that they trust a lot about their problems and fears instead of letting yourself be carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Also, the speaker’s speech did make me cry for a little bit since he had made a huge impact on me with his speech and he made me understand that there is love since Jesus will always love me no matter what happens to me. Another thing is that I learned that from love and grace by God there is hope which did impacted me and that everyone has a different way of what hope means to them. When I was talking about what hope means to me my group agreed also at the end this person that I work with told me to be myself and to take care of myself which gave me hope plus it did impacted me. The other thing that impacted me that most was learning that there is grace for that meaning that God forgives you for your sins and your wrong doings. Also, I was playing dodge ball then someone hit in the face and they told me they were sorry and that they meant to hit the other person who ran into me. I did forgive him which I think that was me showing that there is grace for that since I had forgiven him for throwing the ball at my face. What I learn from the youth gathering that will always impacted someone like me who sometimes gets easily angry and frustrated will have Love, Hope, and Grace from God no matter how many times I get easily angry and frustrated.


Mrs. Daphne

This generation
Jokers to left, clowns to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you!
I’m not quite sure that’s how the artist wanted his song interpreted but Truly that’s how we walked with the kids in faith that week.
Us and God stuck in the middle with them.
It was a great experience.

Seeing that many people worship God is amazing, the acceptance of differences, the voices wanted to be heard,the spirit moving through  and with this generation. It moves my generation to see how God wants us to love one another regardless of who they are, and what they stand for. God”s love is for everyone.
And that changes everything!


Mrs. DeeDee

I had an amazing time and that it was very inspirational and uplifting.  I loved seeing all of the kids come together and to watch there excitement with the weeks events and activities.



The speakers stories were so influential and inspiring. It opened my eyes to what was happening and what had happened in the past. I feel like the Texas trip really brought the group together and we learned new things about each other that we probably wouldn’t have learned if we didn’t go to Texas. And I didn’t know there was such a big Lutheran community that was all over the United States until Texas. It was really eye-opening and mind-boggling how big of a community there is that all love God in the same way and all want to explore and expand their faith.



Three things that left a lasting impact on me were to be yourself, have faith and hope in God, and to be the change in the world against issues that aren’t right. The speakers really emphasized to be yourself and to do what you believe is the right thing to do for yourself. The second thing that left a mark was to always have hope and believe in God. The third thing was to be the change in the world against issues that you don’t believe are right and do everything that is in your power to change them. I’d like to thank the congregation for sending us to Houston for this trip.



I liked the speaker Nadia at the Gathering. I liked her because she was funny but she still managed to talk about a lot of deep stuff. Her speech gave me a new perspective on what it  meant to be Lutheran and also what a “traditional” pastor looked like. The way she approached her struggles with alcohol was subtle but funny and made enough of an impact to the kids in the crowd.

I liked meeting new people at the Gathering and learning about their pasts and where they were from. I got to meet a lot of cool people who live really close to me and have a lot in common with me, but I’ve never met anyone of them – St. Mark’s Lutheran church people.

During the Mass Gathering when we (everyone in the stadium) sang the songs together, I thought that was really special because we are all from different “walks of life” and we got together and sang and danced and it felt really nice to be a part of such a big community. I also liked when everyone had their flashlights on and the entire stadium lit up and it looked beautiful.



“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 is an important verse for me, having been my Confirmation verse. Everywhere I go on my faith journey, I somehow find it, and the Gathering was no different. While I was on a long bus ride, I was confronted by some strong emotions and made a pledge about faith, and about strengthening its presence in my life. What I saw and felt at the Gathering had the power to change everything, so I want to say thank you to all of you amazing people who supported this trip!



For the first 48 hours I was not sure I could do this – lead a trip of this magnitude, have the responsibility of fourteen precious teenage lives on my shoulders, do everything just right so that there was nothing standing in between these teens and an incredible faith experience. It took us a day to really get our sea legs. But as each day got a little better, and a little better, and the group got a little closer and a little closer, I started to think maybe – maybe the endless planning since June of last year will pay off, maybe the Holy Spirit will move here – and when you make the space, she always does, but it’s never where you expect. I knew that our trip and all of coordination it took to pull off had paid off on our third day in Houston – it was our “Interactive Learning Day” which means we got to play in a huge convention center filled with everything from experiential learning opportunities where you could carry huge jugs of water, to a zip line, to a store for Lutheran swag, to a giant inflatable flamingo-turned ball pit that some of our crew hung out in. But it was during our lunch break when we all got back together after a morning of running around with our buddies that I saw the spirit move. I look up for the up-teenth time in the last five minutes to count heads “onetwothreefourfivesixseveneight…nine, there’s Tyler, teneleventwelvethirteen…thirteen…where is CHARLES???” And jumping to my feet and looking around I see Charles, at the top of a nearby escalator, running down the up side. Face palming, I put on my most serious “Mom face” and gesture for him to come back down. Sophie comes up and, seeing Charles, wants to join him, and asks me if she can. “Sure,” I say, “but you’ll go in timeout afterwards. That’s where Charles is heading now.” She thinks for a minute, and says, “Okay!” and hops on the escalator. Seeing Sophie go, more jump up and after the same explanation, they too hop on the escalator. I’ve now got five kids, giggling manically, to put in timeout around the lobby. The rules for timeout are – you have to sit for three minutes, no phone, and not talk. That’s it. If you talk, your time starts over. Now, having met these kids, you know that the whole “not talking” thing was the bigger part of that issue, right Charles? Sophie? By now, they’re overstimulated. They’re exhausted. They’re teenagers. Finally, I group them all together and plop myself down on the floor with them to deliver regular “Mom glares” and hopefully make it through maybe just one minute? As all of this has been going on, the rest of the group is watching from tables nearby, finishing their lunch and enjoying the weirdness of their friends. Up until this moment, they have been spectators – but the spirit moves. Several kids, who have no reason to be in timeout, who have been perfectly behaved (this time), come over and sit down alongside their friends in solidarity, in support, in a true show of community. And sure, they never make it three minutes without talking, but I could see the tension break, the nervousness of making deeper relationships and diving into something completely new washed away and sitting in front of me were siblings – squabbling and giggling, so hard that they fell over and the love and support that they had for one another was, in that moment, tangible. And I knew that even if nothing else went right for the rest of the trip, we’d made it and for me, that changed everything. Amen.

2018-09-04T12:11:34-04:00July 16th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

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