Frequently Asked Questions

This section contains a wealth of information related to the ELCA Youth Gathering. If you cannot find an answer to your question, make sure to contact gathering@elca.org.

A lot of research, discussion and prayer! The process begins about six years before the actual Gathering. The event requires ample programming and convention space on the desired summer dates, proximity of programming to a convention center, a stadium for the mass gatherings, cooperative city officials, public transportation and a major airport nearby.
Minneapolis is a great host city and has excellent venues for all our Gathering program needs. It’s a diverse, Lutheran-dense city, nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River in the heart of the Midwest. This will also be the city’s first time hosting an ELCA Youth Gathering! There is a lot to learn from Minneapolis, and we can’t wait to welcome you there in 2021.
To coordinate with our partners in ministry, Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, we made the change so that participants and volunteers could return to their outdoor ministries before the beginning of the camp week. We hope this change allows more people to take part in this transformational experience.
Youth who are in 8th to 12th grade at the time of registration (Fall 2020) are eligible to attend. Adult leaders must be at least 21 at the time of the Gathering. The recommended ratio is one adult for every seven youth.
No. Adult leaders are asked to not bring their infants, toddlers or young children to the Gathering. Gathering venues and programs are for registered participants only, and others will not be admitted. The Gathering, MYLE, and the tAble are created as faith formation events for youth in grades eight through 12 and their adult leaders.
Most hospitals ask for the insurance holder’s Social Security number when a patient is admitted to the emergency room. The Gathering does not collect medical release forms, but primary leaders must be able to provide a copy for any participant registered with their congregation if requested by Gathering volunteers or staff, or medical professionals. The Social Security number section is not required for you to participate in Gathering programming, but all other areas of the medical release form must be completed.
No. The Gathering has a no-firearms policy that applies to all volunteers and participants, without exception. We work with our host venues and local authorities to make sure that thorough security measures are in place, including the presence of on- and off-duty police officers and additional security personnel.
Early Bird Registration: Sept. 21, 2020 through Nov. 20, 2020, $350
Regular Registration: Nov. 21, 2020 through Feb. 20, 2021, $390
Late Registration: Feb. 21, 2018 through April 21, 2021, $440

A $150 nonrefundable, per-person deposit is due at registration and must be cleared within the date range for the rate you expect to pay.
There are three volunteer opportunities: Gathering Volunteer Corps (GVC), Servant Companions and Local Volunteers. See the “Volunteer” page under the “Attend” tab for more information. Please note that volunteers apply to serve at the Gathering and that not all applicants will be approved.
Registration will be live and online starting September 21, 2020. Participants register as congregational groups, with one adult serving as the primary adult leader. The primary adult leader is the organizer for the group, receiving communications from the Gathering about housing, payments and any other relevant information.
Each congregation in the ELCA has a unique, five-digit ID number that must be used to register for the Gathering. To obtain your congregation’s ID number, ask your pastor or other church staff, or contact the Gathering office.
Yes! Limited funds are available to offset the registration fees. Please see the financial assistance section of our website under the “Attend” tab.
We strongly encourage congregations to register under their own individual ID number. This is important for a number of reasons, primarily regarding financial payments and tracking. Groups can still travel together, and if both groups are from the same synod, the program rotation schedule will be the same.
No. Each congregation is responsible for providing its own meals, with the exception of lunch on its Service Learning day. There are a number of great options and varied price points available around the hotels, U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minneapolis Convention Center. We are working on providing additional meal options such as food trucks and catered meals. More information will be available as we get closer to 2021.
The Gathering is contracting with a variety of hotels, and they are excited to welcome everyone! Hotel rates will vary, but congregations are encouraged to budget $159 (plus approximately 11% tax) per room, per night. ELCA congregations are NOT exempt from hotel taxes in the state of Minnesota. Room types (king, double/double, suite) will also vary, but for budgeting purposes, you can expect that your congregation’s room block assignment will have rooms that can accommodate an average of three people.
The Gathering assigns each congregation to a hotel during the late winter/early spring of the Gathering year, which is shared via online congregational registration accounts. This hotel assignment will include: 1) the hotel’s name, address and contact information, 2) a room block assignment with the number of rooms your group has been assigned and a bed configuration for those rooms and 3) instructions for how to reserve rooms and submit your rooming list.
Yes. The plan is to assign housing by synod. More information to come.
No. To participate in the ELCA Youth Gathering, all registered participants are required to stay in the hotel to which their congregation is assigned. Congregations are generally assigned to a hotel with other churches from their synod. The Gathering requires congregations to stay at their assigned hotel for many reasons, including but not limited to: risk management, logistics, program rotation, transportation, and agreements with the host city and local law enforcement.
Adult registration costs the same as youth registration.
For information on tax exemptions in Minnesota, we recommend visiting the Minnesota Comptroller website. For any other questions or concerns, congregations must seek their own legal counsel. Please note that religious organizations are NOT exempt from paying taxes on hotel stays or prepared food in Minnesota.
The Gathering works to honor the safety policies and practices established by individual congregations and synods. Generally, the Gathering recommends that adults and youth sleep in separate rooms and never share a bed. Check with your synod for best practices related to safe boundaries between adults and youth.
Since most congregations from each synod are housed in the same hotel (or hotels near one another), this is an opportunity for your Gathering Synod Coordinator to connect you to other congregations in your area that are staying at the same hotel. Congregations will know the number of rooms and room types they have on January 21, 2021, so there is time for leaders to connect before reservation forms are due.
If participants are added and the addition changes the number of rooms needed to accommodate your group, the Gathering may need to move your group to another hotel. We do our best to keep synods together, but those who register after the initial housing process has been completed may be affected. The Gathering will never separate a congregation group into multiple hotel properties.
Most likely, yes! Gathering hotel contracts include a limited number of rooms before and after the Gathering, at the Gathering rate, based on availability. Instructions for adding additional days to your stay will be included with the hotel reservation process.
The Mass Gathering team spends nearly two years scouting potential speakers and musicians. Through careful planning and discernment, the team works to create a well-rounded lineup that will inspire and challenge our young people to live out their faith. This process takes time, however, and typically the final lineup is not solidified and announced until a few months before the Gathering. Check back often for updates and stay tuned to social media for these announcements!
Great! We love learning about awesome speakers and musicians from our attendees. If you submit your ideas to our idea portal, we will pass them on to our planning teams for consideration. They will be in touch if they require additional information.
Interactive Learning invites Gathering participants to encounter God through a variety of learning styles and sensory experiences. All participants have a dedicated day in the three-day program rotation to experience the extensive offerings inside the almost 400,000 square feet of Interactive Learning space. From sports to creative expressions, service projects to quiet meditation, Interactive Learning offers something for everyone.

If your organization’s mission fits with the Gathering’s mission of faith formation in teens and you are interested in creating an Interactive Learning opportunity for our young people, stay tuned to our website and social media for updates on how you can apply to be an Interactive Learning partner.
The Gathering will provide transportation to congregations that opt in during their registration process. This includes transportation from your hotel to Gathering programming. Several affordable options for getting from the airport to downtown Minneapolis can be found here: mspairport.com/directions/ground-transportation.

More information about transportation in Minneapolis will be coming.
The MSP airport offers Super-Shuttle-type services as well as taxi and app-based ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft. The Metro Light Rail (Blue Line) is also a convenient (and economical) way to get from the airport to downtown Minneapolis and some parts of Bloomington and St. Paul. More information about transportation downtown from the airport can be found by visiting: metrotransit.org/metro and mspairport.com/directions/ground-transportation.
MYLE and the tAble are part of the overall Gathering program. If your group didn’t stay for the whole Gathering, it would be like walking out halfway through a movie! If you are considering attending only MYLE or the tAble, please contact the Gathering office.
For MYLE, yes and no. A congregational group may attend MYLE if at least 50% of the group is people of color or those whose primary language is not English. If that is not the case, youth participants of color or whose primary language is not English are encouraged to attend with an adult leader and then join their congregational group at the beginning of the Gathering.

The tAble is intended for individual youth participants and their caregivers. Generally, entire congregational groups do not attend the tAble.
Yes. Caretakers will need to register for the tAble for $190. They will not be charged registration fees to attend the Gathering following the tAble.
No. The registration fees for MYLE and the tAble are heavily subsidized. Congregations that attend either event are, however, welcome to apply for financial assistance to help offset the cost of Gathering registration.
Stay tuned on social media for these announcements!