Heidi Hagstrom has announced her intent to leave her position as the Director of the ELCA Youth Gathering following the 2015 event next summer. Heidi has been studying in the M.Div program at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque and intends to pursue rostered ministry as an ordained pastor within the ELCA. The ELCA has posted the Gathering Director’s position and will be accepting applications for this vital leadership position through the month of September.
The Gathering is one of the most powerful ministries of the church. It gathers somewhere in the vicinity of 39,000 young people, adult leaders, volunteers and staff together for a amazing faith formation experience. It presents and lives out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that quite simply cannot be duplicated anywhere else within the church. It is transformational for the faith lives of the participants, for the community that hosts the Gathering and for the ELCA. It is a masterpiece of deployed leadership. Everywhere you look within the Gathering, it speaks the name of Jesus.
I believe that the Gathering creates a culture of leadership that respects the gifts of both individuals and the community. It listens, learns and then acts. It is full of joy and laughter, from the stages of the initial planning, all the way through to the last closing worship. Clearly the Holy Spirit is alive and well through the ministry of the Gathering.
This culture has been carefully tended over years. And while there will be opportunity later on (it’s a long time until next July!) to thank Heidi, I’d be remiss if I didn’t name that much of the reason this culture exists is because of Heidi and the team with whom she works. As someone who has brought groups, and been in different levels of leadership within the Gathering, I’m grateful for this culture.
Now, the ELCA will be seeking a new Director for this vibrant ministry. The hope is to bring someone onboard soon, to join the leadership team and to walk through this last year of the planning cycle with them.
Might you be someone who would consider this call? Or perhaps you know someone who has the gifts for this ministry? Please give this thought and prayer. More information including a link to an online application can be found on the ELCA’s web site here.
Thanks be to God for the Gathering and its leadership. Thanks be to God for the person out there somewhere who will be called to this ministry.
Networked in Christ,