From ELCA Pastors and Bishops
What do pastors and bishops think about the Gathering?
After the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering the ELCA Research and Evaluation staff sought feedback from pastors and bishops about their experience with both ELCA Youth Gatherings in general and the 2009 Gathering in particular. Here are some of their findings and comments.
- The Gathering provides an opportunity to experience the larger, wider church or the big picture.
- 73% of responding pastors who attended the 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering said it was effective at "nurturing personal faith in Christ".
- 74% of responding pastors said the benefits of the Gathering are worth the cost.
- The Gathering provides an Increased awareness of the world outside the walls of the congregation.
- The experience is a seminal, life changing, or watershed moment for participants.
- The Gathering increased focus on justice or service related issues.
- The experience builds up the youth ministry group.
- Only 11% of written comments were negative in nature, indicating the benefits are not worth the cost. In addition to general comments, three pastor respondents indicated that Christ was missing from the Youth Gathering, and another two pastor respondents indicated the Youth Gathering provided entertainment only.
- 82% of responding synod bishops responded 'yes' the Youth Gathering is worth the investments of time, energy, and resources to carry out. There were no synod bishops who responded "no", and 4 who responded "I am not sure".
- 59% of responding synod bishops stated that the Gathering is an essential, defining ministry of this church.
- The timing was great. I have used it as a reason that we are stronger together than we are separate.
- We should do an event like this for clergy. It is one of the best things we do as church!
- This allows many people to experience the church in a more complete way than their local setting.
- This is the largest gathering of this church, providing an unforgettable experience in the faith life of the young.
- Youth have a life changing experience. For those from the Northwest the fact of seeing so many other Lutheran youth is a real plus. Servant projects were the key strength.
- This was no ordinary event, but extraordinary. One that will be remembered by all who attended because on site work with hands and hearts was major, not incidental.
- Contributes significantly to raising up youth leaders to serve in congregations, synods and the greater church. Also great opportunity to reinforce discernment for full time work within the Church.
- A number of youth who have had contact with me to express positive feelings about the event. If youth will seek out the bishop to tell him about their experience, it had an effect.
- No one, in my estimation who participated could have not had effective faith development unless they were actually opposed to having it happen.
Read the full report 2009 ELCA Youth Gathering Evaluation Congregation Pastor and Synod Bishop Feedback