The Southeastern Iowa Synod Children and Youth Leader Network is made up of children and youth ministry workers and lay volunteers who have a passion for walking with the young people in our synod, and sharing the amazing love of Christ with them. Ignite and the Des Moines Area Youth Network are two groups in our synod that come together to plan events that encourage youth to explore and grow in their faith.
In the Quad Cities, Ignite is a group of pastors, lay leaders, and volunteers who work together to organize events throughout the year that show youth that the church is bigger than any one building. Ignite is a collaboration between ELCA Lutheran churches from both sides of the Mississippi, Augustana College, and IlIowa. Andy Langdon, director of youth ministry at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport and Ignite member, values the sense of community Ignite has provided him and other group members, “The Quad Cities are unique in that we have congregations in two synods, but this has been a beautiful marriage for our community. Ignite provides a place where youth workers can pool resources, work together, and feed one another.”
Ignite’s most recent event was on January 29; 115 middle school youth and leaders descended on the iWireless Center to learn and talk about how we reflect God’s light in the world (Matthew 5:14-15). Glitter Party participants received glow in the dark nametags and used glow paint to mark crosses on each other’s foreheads. Like any well planned confirmation event the night also consisted of silly games, meeting new friends, food and somewhat serious conversations.
Taylor Elliott, a high school youth member at St. Paul, Davenport was introduced to Ignite when she participated in one of their events, 678. “I love that all of our churches come together to organize youth events in the Quad Cities. I think youth should come to an Ignite event because they are always fun, and everyone that participates grows in their faith while making new friends.”
On the western edge of the synod, the Des Moines Area Youth Network gathers once a month during the school year at Grand View University. At these monthly gatherings, youth leaders from the Des Moines and Ames area, come together for text study, to hear presentations from Grand View professors and staff, and for collaboration and event planning. The two main events organized and supported by the network are Love Like Jesus, a high school service leadership event held in June on Grand View’s campus, and ConFest, a middle school youth event held in February in both the Des Moines and Iowa City area.
One of the goals of the Des Moines Area Youth Network is to plan youth events that provide opportunity for participants to grow in their faith while serving others and having fun. “A favorite event for our high school youth is the ski trip we take each winter to Afton Alps in Minnesota. Youth and event leaders spend the weekend not only skiing and visiting the indoor water park, but also participating in a service project. Last year the high school youth volunteered at Bridging in Minneapolis putting together kitchen kits that would be given to families transitioning into permanent housing,” explained Andrew Karramann, minister for middle school youth, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Ankeny.
The Southeastern Iowa Synod is dedicated to renewing, educating and connecting those who work in children and youth ministry with other workers and resources within our synod and the ELCA as a whole. The Children and Youth Leader Network in our synod provides a variety of opportunities for youth to grow in and explore their faith. For more information about the Children and Youth Leader Network contact Pr. Eric Carlson, [email protected] or 515.263.5541.
Upcoming Youth Network Events
Ignite: Quad City High School Lock-In
Saturday March 14, 8:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.
Augustana Pepsico Center, Rock Island
Des Moines Area Youth Network: Poverty Simulation
Sunday, April 6, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
St. James Lutheran Church, Johnston IA
For more information and to register contact Kelsey Bausch at [email protected] or 515.276.0134.
Love Like Jesus
All congregations of the Southeastern Iowa Synod
June 19-22, 2014
Grand View University, Des Moines