Frequently Asked Questions

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Basic Information

Why Higher Things?
We live in a culture of blurry religious distinctions and do-it-yourself spirituality. Youth, especially, need solid ground that will nurture lasting Christian faith. Rather than treating youth as an adolescent subculture and confusing them with experiences that cannot be replicated at home, Higher Things believes in challenging youth to learn the pure doctrine of the Christian faith. By teaching them the same message that they should be hearing at home, youth grow in the fullness of the Christian faith as they come to appreciate historic liturgical practice and its unique focus on God's gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation for us delivered in Word and Sacrament.
Are there age requirements?
Short answer: Not really.
Long answer: Higher Things conferences are generally planned for high school aged youth, but registrants may be any youth who has been confirmed before the date of the conference, including college students. We recognize that the age for confirmation may vary from congregation to congregation and just ask that if a group is bringing youth who are not yet in high school that the group leaders be prepared to provide any additional supervision accordingly.
Can I bring a friend?
You betcha! Non-LCMS youth may attend a conference with the approval of a registered group's Pastor and Group Leader. Spouses, personal assistants, and other adults cannot be accommodated as unregistered conference participants.
What does the 2011 Conference Theme Mean?
Coram Deo? What exactly does "Coram Deo" mean? Well, it's Latin for "before God," as in His presence, under His reign. Think a bit about living Coram Deo, before God. What does it mean that you live Coram Deo? Under the Law, life before God is terrifying. It is living under His judgment and wrath. But under the Gospel, life before God is beautiful, a restoration of what God intended when He made Man in the beginning. "Can mortal man be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?" (Job 4:17) This is the core religious question: How can a sinner destined to die stand before a righteous and holy God? Only by grace through faith for Christ's sake!


When does registration open?
Registration opens on November 1, 2010 and closes on February 28, 2011, or when a conference location reaches capacity - whichever happens first.
Can I register online?
Not only can you register your group online, you can pay deposits and your balance through PayPal! All you need is a valid Higher Things Account. If you don't have a free HT Account yet, you can sign up for one at
What does it cost?
Registration will open on November 1, 2010 and close on February 28, 2011 - or when a site reaches capacity, whichever happens first. We work very diligently to keep costs as low as possible while providing the best conferences we can - every year! Here's how it works out this year:

Nov. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2010Jan. 1, 2011 to Feb. 28, 2011After March 1, 2011
Las Vegas, NV (July 5-8, 2011)$325$350$365
Bloomington, IL (July 11-15, 2011)$300$325$350
Atlanta, GA (July 19-22, 2011)>$300$325$350

Non-refundable deposits of $100 per person may be made at any point during Registration to ensure your group admission to a conference should it reach capacity. However, the per-person rates above are based on the date your group's registration balance is PAID IN FULL. Additional fees may apply for registrations and changes made after March 1, 2011. All payments must be made in U.S. funds.
What does registration include?
Your Registration Fee covers:
  • Conference Programming
    • Planning
    • Catechesis
    • Worship
    • Entertainment
  • Three (3) Nights of Housing
  • Ten (10) Meals
  • Conference Handbook
  • Daily Services Book
  • Conference T-Shirt

How many chaperones are allowed per youth?
Higher Things requires that each group must have at least one (1) male adult for every seven (7) male youth and/or at least one (1) female adult for every seven (7) female youth in your group. Chaperones must be at least 21 years old at the time of registration and approved by the group's pastor for their role. All chaperones and any other adults in a group must also complete the registration process.

If you are unable to recruit the necessary number of chaperones from your church for your youth to attend a conference, Higher Things is happy to help you find other groups from your area who might be willing to share their chaperones with you.
When should we plan to arrive and depart?
The opening service starts at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday of the conference week and the closing service ends by 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Groups may also stay on campus for one extra night before and/or after the conference for an additional fee of $40 per person, per night.
What is the capacity of each conference?
The Coram Deo conference at the University of Nevada - Las Vegas has a capacity of 500 registrants. The conference at Illinois State University has a capacity of 1100 people, and the Emory University conference has a capacity of 800 people.


How do we get to the conference?
Groups are responsible for their own transportation to and from the conference sites. If traveling by plane, groups will need to make arrangements for ground transportation from the airport to the campus, and for your group's private use during the week if you want to go sight-seeing on your own.
How much walking is involved?
A lot. Seriously. A lot. We try our best to keep all conference activities as close together on the sites as possible. But because of the nature of college campuses, you will get your exercise! If you are unable to walk long distances or will need assistance getting around at the conference, please note this with your registration. We will be happy to accommodate anyone with special needs, but need your help to plan in advance.
How do I get to area attractions?
Any off-site transportation for scheduled conference activities will be provided by Higher Things and is included in your Registration Fee. If groups choose to take their own vehicles to scheduled off-site activities, they will be responsible for any additional charges to do so. Groups are responsible for arranging their own transportation for any sight-seeing not included as part of the Conference.
How is parking being handled?
On-site parking is limited at all sites. Detailed information regarding parking (including fees, if applicable) will be made available to groups after Registration closes.


What kind of housing can we expect?
Since the Higher Things conferences are held at college campuses, all registrants will be staying in residence halls. Sometimes this means a suite of two (2) double-capacity rooms with a shared bathroom. Or some residence halls will have commoon (single-sex) lavatories with private toilet and shower stalls. We will notify you in advance of the conference of which type of residence hall you will be assigned so you can prepare your group accordingly.
Do we have to stay on campus?
No, but Higher Things cannot reimburse you or discount your Registration Fee if you choose to stay off-campus. Besides, staying in dorms allows youth to get a taste of college life and allows for fellowship with other youth at the conference.
How many people per room?
Groups should plan for two (2) occupants per room. Private rooms are available by request for an additional fee of $25 per room, per night ($75 total for 3 nights). If your group does not fully occupy the available rooms or suites, roommates and/or suite-mates may be assigned from another group.
Will groups be housed together?
Sort of. Wherever possible, male and female rooms will be separated by floor, wing, or building. We will do our best to assign group members' rooms near one another. Adults may not be housed in the same room or suite as a youth unless there is a direct familial relationship AND both adult and youth are of the same sex. Please see the Higher Things Housing Policy for details about housing assignments.
Can spouses be housed together?
Not likely. This type of room availability is very limited and makes it difficult to keep male and female rooms appropriately separated by floor, wing, or building. If you must be assigned a room with your spouse, please be aware that your room may be in an area separate from the youth housing in order to maintain appropriate division of the sexes.


How many services can we attend each day?
At least 3, usually 4. It sounds daunting, but each year most youth report that worship is the best part of the conference week and that they miss it once they return home. Every day, youth and adults start their day with the service of Matins or Morning Prayer, followed by Vespers in the mid-afternoon, and end the day together with Evening Prayer. Time for Individual Confession and Absolution is also offered following Evening Prayer most nights, and small groups are encouraged to gather for prayer just before lights-out.
I've never heard of most of those services! Are they even Lutheran?
Yes! And they're all taken from the Lutheran Service Book which many of you use in your own churches. It is a long-standing tradition in the Christian Church to conduct short prayer services throughout the day. These services provide a great way to keep our days focused on Christ and His gifts for us.

At Higher Things conferences, we want to teach youth about the richness of our confession and introduce them to some of the ways Lutherans have historically practiced their faith. Information will be provided following the close of Registration to help youth leaders teach their groups about these services and the traditions that are often practiced (chanting, kneeling, crossing oneself, incense, etc.) so that youth are prepared to encounter them at the conference.
Is there a conference hymn again this year?
The conference hymn for the 2011 Coram Deo Conferences is "God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" (LSB #594). Please make use of this hymn in your congregations in the weeks and months leading up to the conference. It's a wonderful hymn that we're sure everyone will enjoy singing together!


Who will be the main speakers?
Pastor William Cwirla of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Hacienda Heights, CA and Pastor Brent Kuhlman of Trinity Lutheran Church in Murdock, NE.
When can we get a list of sectionals?
Probably not until June 2011.
Do we need to sign up in advance?
No. Catechesis seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. While we try to make sure everyone will have chairs, it's impossible to predict how many people will attend any one sectional. It may end up some rooms may have ample seating, others have people sharing chairs and sitting on the floor!
Are we expected to attend a certain number of sessions?
Yes. You may attend at least one sectional during each breakaway and in-depth period! Sectional topics and teachers are chosen with a teenage audience in mind, and they cover a wide variety of topics to help you learn more about your faith. You should be able to find a sectional that interests you in each session.
How are teachers and preachers chosen?
First you must be registered to attend the conference. In order to keep registration fees as low as possible, teachers and preachers are chosen from the LCMS pastors and lay members of LCMS congregations in good standing who are already registered for that conference.

In other words, you must already be registered to serve in this additional capacity. All teachers and preachers must also be comfortable communicating with youth, and teachers should try to prepare sessions that will help teenagers faithfully live out the vocations unique to their stations in life.

Once you are registered, you may contact the Chaplain and/or Catechist for that conference and volunteer your services. However, we do have a limited number of sectional rooms and volunteering to do so does not guarantee that you will be invited to teach or preach.

Free Time/Entertainment

How much free time will there be?
We are planning for some scheduled entertainment and/or free time each day of the conference. However, if your group wants to do some more extensive sight-seeing around the conference cities, you should probably plan for an extra day in town to do that. For your convenience, groups can reserve an extra night (Monday and/or Friday) in their rooms on campus at the time of registration for $40/person/night.
What will we be doing for fun?
We're working on planning some really great activities that we'll be able to tell you about very soon! In the meantime, Google the locations to see if you can guess what some of the options might be! You can also check out photos of past conferences to see what's been done in the past.


Can I sing in the choir?
YES! The conference choirs are one of the best ways for youth (and adults) from all over the country to get to know each other. Everyone is welcome to sing in the choir, regardless of experience! Information about rehearsal times will be included in the tentative schedule and more details will be provided at check-in when you arrive on site at each conference.
May I play my instrument at the conference?
Because it is so difficult to accommodate and select music pieces for the wide variety of instruments people volunteer to play at the conference, instrumentalists will be selected by the Worship and Music staff from those registered for each site. If you'd like to volunteer your services, contact the Conference Assistant (

Christ on Campus

How many Christ on Campus Volunteers (CCVs) will be accepted for each conference?
The number of student volunteers is determined by the number of registrants for each conference. At UNLV, we will accept 10 students, at ISU we will have 16 and Emory University there will be 13. HT Conferences reserves the right to adjust these numbers if we determine that more or less are actually needed to help with the conference.
How old do I have to be to be a CCV?
You must be at least 18 years old, have completed at least one year of college level studies, and still be considered a student at the time of the conference.
How do I apply to volunteer as a CCV?
You will be able to apply online at during the regular Registration period. Applicants will be notified by March 15 if they have been selected to serve as a CCV.
Should I still register with my church's group?
If your church is sending a group to the conference, you should register with your group as well as complete the CCV application so that you are certain to get into the conference, should it fill. If you are selected as a CCV, your registration will then be processed separately from your group. You will also be assigned housing in a separate staff area. Those who are accepted as CCVs who are not registered with a group for a conference may still register as an individual at that time, and will need to pay their $100 deposit upon notification. CCVs should plan to arrive on site by noon on Monday of the conference week to help with set-up.
How much is my registration if I am selected as a CCV?
CCV registration is significantly discounted from the regular Registration to $225 per person, per conference. This covers all of the regular conference registration materials, an extra day of housing/meals, and additional t-shirts.
Will I have special privileges as a volunteer?
Yes, CCVs will have staff (i.e., "backstage") access to all areas of the conference and a special conference staff t-shirt. In fact, you will receive multiple staff t-shirts, because CCVs need to be easily identifiable throughout the week!
When will I know if I have been selected?
Applications will be accepted during the regular Registration period. We should have all CCVs selected and notified by March 15.
Do I have to arrive early or leave late?
Yes, if possible, plan to arrive by noon on Monday of the conference week for orientation/set-up, and plan to leave around dinner time on the last day to help pack up after the conference. This is not an absolute requirement-we realize that some of you will be traveling with a group and cannot control these factors.
What kinds of things do CCVs do?
Registration: Directing groups through the registration area, helping prepare and distribute materials, directing people to dorms and parking areas, break-down of the information table after the end of the conference, etc.

Speaker Care: CCVs are assigned to a sectional speaker to hand out materials and evaluations in the sectionals, make sure speakers have any needed food and/or beverages, run AV, etc.

Worship: Help setup and breakdown the chapel, crowd control, usher, assist with altar guild duties.

Merchandise: Help set-up and break-down.

Photography: 1-2 CCVs per conference will be asked to take digital pictures of events (you will need to provide your own equipment).

General: Help supervise give directions, run errands, answer questions, put up signs, etc.


I'd like to volunteer, what can I do?
We never complain that we have too many volunteers! If you live near the conference site, we can always use help transporting staff and CCVs to the conference site. We may need people to just run errands on or off site or you can just help prepare check-in materials too. Unfortunately we are not able to waive or reduce fees for volunteers apart from the conference staff.
How else can I support the conferences?
We have a number of conference expenses that may be supported by one or multiple donors. Some specific needs are:

Scholarships for CCV registrations so that college students don't have to pay registration fees. These young adults work very hard at the conferences and provide invaluable help for us all.

Conference T-shirts. We anticipate this expense to cost about $17,500 total for 3,000 shirts. These shirts are a great way for kids to take home a souvenir of their week, and provide great opportunities for them to confess their faith and what they learned when they wear them at home! $17,500 total; your business logo printed on the T-shirts for a single donation of $5,000.

Magazine subscriptions: Higher Things is providing each registrant with a 1-year subscription to Higher Things: Dare to be LutheranTM magazine. $36,000 total.

Registration Troubleshooting

I don't remember my username/password! What do I do?
If you have a Higher Things Account and can't remember your username, you can request that it be emailed to you using the form at:
I'm having problems registering, help!
If you need help registering, please contact the Higher Things Conference Registrar at A member of our registration staff will reply to you as soon as possible.
I'd prefer not to pay my balance online. Where do I send my check?
Checks should be mailed to the address below. Please note that the amount due for your group's registration will be based on the date your balance check is mailed. Also, please send one check for your entire group payable to Higher Things-2011 Conference. All payments must be made in U.S. Funds.

Higher Things Registration
PMB #4304
2525 Broadway
Everett, WA 98201
Who do I contact with other questions?