The mission of Higher Things is to assist parents, pastors, and congregations in cultivating, encouraging, and promoting a distinctively Lutheran identity among their youth and young adults. The most direct way we do this is through our annual youth conferences. Over the last 12 years, Higher Things has hosted a total of 22 Lutheran youth conferences! 2013 will add three more conferences to that list. We hold multiple conferences each year, in different areas of the country. While the conferences are essentially the same in schedule, programming, and worship, they’re spread out in an attempt to make it easier for groups to travel to them by van or bus without having to pay for expensive airfare. And if a group wants to go to a conference further away from home, they can do that too!
We do all this because we are convinced that youth need solid teaching and experiences that will nurture lasting Christian faith. Rather than treating youth as an adolescent subculture and confusing them with once- in-a-lifetime “mountaintop” experiences that cannot be replicated outside the conference events, Higher Things believes in challenging youth to learn the pure doctrine of the Christian faith. By teaching them the same message that they are already hearing at home and at church, 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.
Jesus answered Nicodemus, “...unless one is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.” – St. John 3:3
You have been born of water. You have been born of the Spirit. You have been born From Above! You were born of God, born anew, born from above in the Baptismal Font. You are alive now, eternally alive, never to die ever again for you already died in Christ. As surely as He is risen from the dead, you will rise from the dead. In fact, you already have risen from the dead, by faith. Now, you live eternally From Above, in service to others, just as God in Christ has saved you.
At the 2013 Higher Things Conferences, we'll be rejoicing in who you are in Christ: You are born From Above.
You should expect to spend four days immersed in the Gospel. You’ll hear about Jesus, and what He’s done for you. A lot. You’ll do this by participating in the many worship services in which we join our voices with those of the historic Christian church through liturgy and hymns, and hear the Gospel preached in its purity. You’ll learn, in much greater depth, about our faith – not just what we believe, but why we believe it and why it’s important. All this will equip you to talk about your faith to others. And you’ll do plenty of that as you get to know hundreds of other Lutheran youth just like you throughout the worship and catechesis sessions – and especially during the fun free time activities each evening. Because HT conferences are held every summer, you’ll really have an opportunity to build life-long friendships as you worship, learn, and have fun together If you’re able to attend year after year!
Higher Things is very flexible on who may attend the conferences. Our conferences are generally planned for high-school-aged youth, but we recommend that registrants at least be confirmed before the date of the conference. The recommendation that youth be confirmed before attending the conference is not to set strict age restrictions on who attends, but because the catechesis at the conferences presumes that everyone has a basic familiarity with Lutheran doctrine and practice – which most people receive in confirmation instruction.
We recognize that ages for confirmation may vary from congregation to congregation and simply ask that, if a group is bringing youth who are not yet in high school, the group’s chaperones be prepared to provide the additional supervision that younger youth require. College-age young adults and other adults are also welcome to attend on their own or with a group.