Youth Ministry unveils 2025 Gathering themeCHERYL MAGNESS
OCTOBER 25, 2023
LCMS Youth Ministry has announced the theme of the 2025 Youth Gathering, set for July 19–23, 2025, in New Orleans: “Endure.” The theme Scripture is Hebrews 12:1–3:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
James Saleska, a graphic designer based in Frankenmuth, Mich., designed the 2025 logo, as well as the logos for 2019 and 2022. Saleska specializes in branding for Lutheran organizations.
“The four Es that surround the cross in the design symbolize the unfolding path of a Christian’s life,” Saleska explained. “The openings, twists and turns represent the challenges and choices of that life.
“The colors of the Es evoke the vibrant hues of New Orleans, while the yellow cross in the center is a vivid reminder that Christ is the guiding light on our path. We look to Christ as both our example and our destination as we run our race with endurance.”
The Rev. Dr. Peter Nafzger, author of the paper that provides the theological foundation for the 2025 theme, says that, while the theme of endurance is well-suited to faithful people of all times and places, it holds a particular application for young people today.
“This generation of young Christians is growing up in a world that is shaped less and less by a Christian view,” Nafzger said. “Furthermore, statistics reveal the tragic reality that many of our young people are wandering away from the faith shortly after confirmation and graduation from high school. Far from resilient, the faith of young Christians is often fragile and tenuous.
“The LCMS Youth Gathering aims to face this challenging situation head-on. We want to help our youth understand that God does not leave us to endure difficulties alone.
“In Baptism He promises to bring us together into a community of believers that spans space and time. He promises that His church will endure even against the gates of hell. He promises to be present among us through His Word of forgiveness, life and salvation. As brothers and sisters, we depend on each other, hold each other accountable and spur one another on to good works.
“But even more, we will proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ faithful endurance for us. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. In His suffering and death, He showed the steadfast love of God that endures forever. In His resurrection from the dead, He demonstrated His reign over all of His — and our — enemies.”
The LCMS Youth Gathering, held every three years since 1980, provides thousands of youth and adults the opportunity to come together for five days in the summer to study God’s Word and encourage one another in the faith.
Yet the Gathering is much more than a five-day event. Preparation for the next Gathering begins as soon as the previous one is over. Even though the 2025 Gathering is still almost two years away, much work has already been done, and it’s not too soon to begin making plans to attend.
LCMS Youth Ministry Director Rev. Mark Kiessling said, “We are thankful for the pastors, church workers, youth leaders and young people who invested in prayer, study and conversation around the theme for the next LCMS Youth Gathering. Study of God’s Word, along with additional input from youth polls and caring adults, provided the theme and main Scriptural foundation for planning the event. We look forward to unwrapping the theme in pre-Gathering resources and during the event in July 2025.”
The initial resources for the Gathering — including the theological foundation paper, a media kit and a planning timeline — are already available at lcmsgathering.com.
Additional resources and information will be shared as they are available. Some dates to note are:
• Fall 2023 — Gathering Ambassador Volunteer applications (for ages 26 and above) open
• July 15, 2024 — Young Adult Volunteer applications (for ages 19–25) open
• July 21–24, 2024 — National Lutheran Youth Workers Conference (registration now open)
• July 19–23, 2025 — 2025 LCMS Youth Gathering