Over 1,000 Lutheran youth, primarily high school age, are on the Valparaiso University campus this week for a conference aimed at deepening their faith.
The Higher Things Youth Conference’s “Here I Stand” theme aims to remind the youth of a major anniversary this Halloween â the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, seen as the seminal moment when the Protestant Reformation was born.
“It’s an exciting time to be a Lutheran, that’s for sure,” said Crysten Sanchez, of Solon, Iowa, the conference coordinator.
This is the first Higher Things Youth Conference held at Valparaiso University.
Christopher Yeager, 29, of Montgomery, Texas, attended a similar conference when he was 13. He had just been confirmed that year.
“I probably didn’t even know what the Gospel meant,” Yeager said.
Now he does, he said. The freedom of the Gospel means to him, “When you deal with hardships, you’re forgiven. You’re a child of God.”
Yeager is to become a pastor at Christ Lutheran Church in Stevensville, Michigan, after he is ordained next month.
The conference, which began on Tuesday and ends Friday, has multiple worship services daily and a wide variety of topics discussed in workshop sessions, including “Angels: An Introduction,” “That piece of bread is what?” and “The Dating and Homosexuality Sextional.”Â
“You name it, we’ve probably covered it,” said Sandra Ostapowich, of Denison, Texas, the conference executive.Â
“The church tends to water them down when we get to theology,” she said, but the youth enjoy exploring different aspects of their deepening faith.
Kenneth Wolfrum, 19, of Dyer, attends Grace Lutheran Church there. He’s studying business analytics at Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond campus. For him, examining the relationship between capitalism and Christianity…