By Andrea Martinez

We are excited to share with you the theme for the 2018 Gathering, “This Changes Everything.” Our primary scripture is Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Grace is a foundational part of Lutheran theology. This gift of grace, undeserved and freely given, changes lives and perspectives as people realize they are enough. We are enough because of what Christ has done for us, and we are called into the world to serve our neighbor and to share the good news.

Our logo is a visual representation of our theme and the 2018 Gathering experience. It incorporates the coming together of a mosaic to reflect the diverse host city of Houston. It also incorporates the idea that we are a church where all are imperfect and incomplete, yet we each belong and have an important place in God’s masterpiece. The cross at the center of the logo is the focus—it is God’s grace, through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, that changes everything for all people.

In her book “Woo: Awakening Teenagers’ Desire to Follow in the Way of Jesus,” Morgan Schmidt identifies the three central desires of teens.

All youth desire:

  • someone to become
  • somewhere to belong
  • something to do [that changes the world]

As young people struggle to find someone to become, somewhere to belong, and something to do, the Gathering seeks to be a ministry that helps define some of that, or at least open up pathways of discovery. Ultimately, we want youth to understand the fierce love that God has for them just as they are, and that by grace, through faith, they have been saved. When young people (or a person of any age) truly claims this reality, it indeed changes everything.

We look forward to diving deeply into this theme with you in the months to come!

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