by Jared Timm
My name is Jared Timm. I’m a fourteen-year-old boy from central Minnesota. You are most likely used to going to church every Sunday (especially if you’re a pastor’s kid, like me) and worshiping with 150 or 200 other members, most of whom are 30, 40, or even 50 years older than you. It may be hard to imagine there are others like you. At the Higher Things conference “From Above,” there were more than 1,300 Lutherans about my age gathered together to worship the Triune God. We gathered in a theatre where, when the organ played, it filled all of the space. That’s quite a bit different than my regular church service, where about 150 members attend each Sunday to hear the same service preached by my dad, Pastor Bruce Timm. At the conference there were almost ten times that number of people all gathered together and partaking of the service. It was incredible!
Let me tell you what goes on at a Higher Things conference. Besides worship, this gathering of young Lutherans and youth leaders from all over the country, some even from Canada, includes “break-away” sessions, where you can learn about pretty much anything that deals with faith, or the Church itself. There are three church services a day, six “break-away” sessions where you learn so much, and one plenary session a day, which is teaching that all of the conference attendees take part in. If you’re worried about how long the sermons must be to get the point across to almost 1,400 young adults, don’t be. The sermons are short, but are probably the best that I have ever heard. It’s all pretty jam-packed with Jesus.
During the conference I went to sessions on homosexuality, Roman Catholicism, the Augsburg Confession, and others. Pastors from all over the country taught these, and I was really impressed. Take the breakaway on Catholicism for instance. I thought we were only different because Catholics sold indulgences and had to do good works to get to heaven. But thanks to Pastor Kuhlman, I learned that each time the priests perform “Mass” they are sacrificing Jesus back to God, because apparently, once wasn’t enough. And thanks to Pastor Fisk, who’s pretty much a Lutheran rock star, I learned about the Augsburg Confession and why it was just restating what the early church fathers believed and why it is worth dying for. I learned all that in one hour! Probably my favorite session was by Pastor Cwirla. He taught us about how faith and science go together. He told us that God gave us reason, which we use to think and figure things out, but he also told us that there is a certain point where faith takes over, and reason needs to go away for a bit.
In the session on homosexuality by Pastor Buetow, I heard about one of the major issues in our culture today. I learned that when Jesus died for all sinners, that included homosexuals. He explained how the root of homosexuality is lust. We can’t condemn them just because what they are doing is a sin, without understanding that we, as sinners, deserve the same condemnation. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11-12). After hearing these words, it opened my eyes to the fact that we are all sinners, and Jesus died for all of us.
If you think that all of this sounds pretty cool, then you should definitely talk to your pastor and youth leaders about coming to the next conference, because there is no other place where you will hear the Word of God preached and the sacraments administered together with more than a thousand kids just like you in such a unique setting. There are no screens, no plays in the front, and no worship bands—just the Word of God. Higher Things is super awesome, and you should definitely check it out for next summer—you won’t be disappointed!
Jared is the son of Pastor and Valerie Timm. He is a sophomore at Sauk Rapids - Rice High School. He plays soccer, triple-jumps in track, and recently became an American citizen.