Catechesis is a big word that encompasses all of the teaching that takes place at the conference. The mission of Higher Things is to assist parents, congregations, and pastors in cultivating a distinctively Lutheran identity among their youth and young adults. Thousands of these youth and young adults will be in attendance at the conferences this summer! One of the main ways that we encourage this Lutheran identity is in the teaching that takes place there.

There will be four Plenary (whole group) sessions taught by two LCMS pastors and teachers (they’re listed below!) over the course of each conference. These sessions will focus on teaching the conference theme, “Sanctified.” On top of that, all conference registrants will have the opportunity for six breakaway sessions taught by the pastors and leaders that brought them to the conferences. These classes will cover various topics including, but not limited to: abortion; homosexuality; movies; other religions; church history, etc. We hear from the youth that these are some of their favorite and most enriching times because they get to choose what they learn about!

Pastors and leaders are encouraged to continually teach their youth throughout the week by being available to answer the questions the youth will inevitably ask. We believe the best people to teach our youth are the ones the Lord has placed in their pulpits on Sundays, as well as other leaders and parents. This is one reason why the teachers are all chosen from a pool of those registered. To help in your teaching your youth, there will be a page in the conference book with helpful questions for you to ask your youth regarding the catechesis from each day. We hope this will help to start some of those discussions!

Plenary teachers

We are very excited about the lineup of our Plenary teachers this year!

Carleton College, Northfield, MN

  • Rev. George Borghardt, Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Bossier City, LA
  • Rev. Donavon Riley, Pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Webster, MN

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 

  • Rev. Chris Hull, Senior Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Tomball, TX
  • Rev. Brent Kuhlman, Pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Murdoch, NE

University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

  • Rev. Aaron Fenker, Pastor at Bethlehem and Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bremen, KS
  • Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, Pastor at Hope Lutheran Church, Aurora, CO

Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA:

  • Rev. Duane Bamsch, Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Terra Bella, CA
  • Rev. Todd Peperkorn, Pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Rocklin, CA

Breakout sessions

Get excited! The breakout sessions for each conference have been announced! Find out who is teaching at your conference and what they’re teaching on. Start planning which sessions your group would like to attend right now!

  • Pre-Conference Bible Studies

    A three part bible study on the theme of “Sanctified” has now been released. Feel free to use them with your group before the conference! You can find them here.