This month I want to lift up some great work being done by our synod youth, including our very own Dawson Miller. Below you will find information about The Lutheran Youth Organization as well as an interview with Dawson about his own experiences as a member of our synod’s board. ~ Pr. Megan
The Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) is an organization of high-school age young people who are members of the ELCA. There are nearly 100,000 ELCA youth across the United States and the Caribbean. The LYO is a place where the voices of young people are lifted up in the church. This ministry happens through young people discussing and advocating issues of importance to them concerning faith, youth ministry, the ELCA, local communities, and the world.
The LYO Board is made up of 15 youth and 10 adults from our synod. They plan and coordinate the synod’s Jr. and Sr. High Youth Gatherings and raise up the voice of youth on a synod level. Youth who serve on the LYO board are in grades 9-12 and are elected at the Sr. High Youth Gathering. Each conference has an adult representative on the LYO board that is elected or appointed by the conference. Youth Ministry Coordinator, Sarah Hausken advises the LYO board.
Dawson, what is LYO?
“Well the first thing I would say is that it is like my second family. We always have a group chat going and we see each other a lot. It’s been my favorite way to learn about God with people my own age. It helps me understand what God is doing through my community.“
When did you get involved and what is your role on the board?
“I got involved early last year, right after the Sr High Youth Gathering. A friend of mine from school was applying to be on the board and she said I should apply. I really enjoyed the Sr High gathering, so I thought, why not? I applied and I was board appointed. I’m the treasurer so I handle the money. I am also on Servant Team #5. We handle registration and service projects for the gatherings. We create ideas for the gatherings.”
What has been the best part of LYO?
“The best part is meeting new friends. These are some of the closest friends I have now. I get to see God through their eyes. They have such a different view than I do. They have experiences I don’t have. It’s been awesome to create new memories.”
What has been the most challenging part?
“Coming up with new ideas! And keeping everyone on the same level. Keeping ideas flowing and keeping everyone as happy as possible.”
What do you want people to know about the upcoming Sr High Youth Gathering in April?
“I think it’s going to be even better than last year. We have a super cool theme, ‘Walk Humbly’. Last year was great, but there are so many more ideas that can come through this year’s theme because we are always walking with God.”
Anything else you want to share?
“Just that people need to go and experience what this does for people. People ask me, ‘Is this just like any church group?’ And it’s not. It’s so much more than an average church group. This is one of the coolest church things I have ever done. You have to be there to experience it and to know what it’s like.”
Stay up to date with SW MN LYO. Like them on Facebook. Follow them on Instagram @swmnlyo.
Pastor Megan finds that she rarely has all the right answers, but tries to help her community ask better questions.