Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Sticky Faith" Formation at Lutherhaven!

Many of you probably won't read this until after we've shared—across the miles—our respective, collective Christmas celebrations and the glad tidings of great joy to all people: Jesus our Lord and Savior, born in Bethlehem, sing Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace and goodwill to all! 

As we look toward all the ministry opportunity God has placed before us in 2013, I feel compelled to share with you Lutherhaven's commitment to the young people of our congregations. Rev. Dr. Paul Hill, Executive Director of Vibrant Faith Ministries, recently commented on the changing landscape of denominational Christianity in our nation and the role of Lutheran camps in shaping the faith of our kids and youth.

“Camps are faith-transformative,” Hill says. “They shape generations of Christian leaders.” Camps like Lutherhaven don't merely support congregational life, says Hill. They “drive the faith formation process.” Camps “play an important role in shaping the future of Christianity in North America.”

Lutherhaven believes our kids need times to unplug with fun, safe programs, outdoor recreation, games and activities; opportunities to develop life values with significant, trained Christian adult mentors and like-minded peers; and chances to form and grow “sticky faith” they'll carry with them on into adulthood. And we believe, strongly believe, we are doing all those things … well!

As one long-time Seattle youth pastor said to me this summer, “Lutherhaven's been the one thing that's allowed faith to stick in the lives of the kids in our congregation, keeping them in the church through high school and on into college.”

To that end I'm more excited than ever to share four events coming up this winter for youth:

  • Plugged In! Traditional “confirmation” weekends with two of the very best speakers we've ever had. These weekends are sure to fill fast. 
    • January 18-20 with Pastor Dan Weber, Bible Study leader and keynote speaker for the 2013 National LCMS Youth Gathering in San Antonio. 
    • January 25-27 with Pastor Kristin Kuempel, 25-year Lutherhaven veteran and leader who heads a vibrant, growing congregation in Kennewick. 
  • Jumpstart! Our popular retreat weekend to jump start the “sticky faith” process in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Graders, February 1-3. 
  • And new this year: Junior High Avalanche! A weekend not just for “regular” church kids, but one to bring the unchurched kids or friends on the fringes of church. 
    • February 8-10, with awesome speaker Chris Haas and the Kroc Center Youth Band.

This year's theme for all four events: Heroes Assemble! from Joshua 1:9 … Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Three key words serve as headlines for the weekends:

Real. Faithful. Purpose.

Combining an age-appropriate mix of active camp fun, Bible stories and teaching, and vital time for connecting with significant mentors and life values, kids explore what it means to be Real (through honest confession and absolution; authentic, genuine relationships; and the Incarnation of God for and in us;) Faithful (as courageous, Jesus-centered, grace-filled followers of God;) and Purposeful (living intentional Christian lives of meaning, availability, willingness, calling, and significance.)

Lutherhaven's one of the few Christian camps across the country regularly offering winter retreat weekends for regional youth. In fact, it's our goal to be recognized around the nation as the best camp in the Northwest for nurturing Christian faith, equipping servant leaders, and strengthening communities.

When it comes to fostering lifelong faith formation in youth, more and more evidence points to the importance of impacting young people's lives early on with the magnitude of God, with a sense of the sacred and holy, with the saving grace of God's Word, knowing that God matters, that what we are doing—our calling—matters to the world and most importantly, matters to God.

Consider sending the kids from your congregation—and those teetering on the fringes—to one of Lutherhaven's winter youth retreats. Find a quarterback in your congregation to take it on, line up folks who care about kids to go along, and come yourself as one of the more significant adults in their lives …

who cares about the faith formation of kids and youth!

We can't wait to serve you at camp!

Your servant in Jesus,


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