We've been at the San Antonio youth gathering all week, Cruzando: Journey with Jesus, and so far it has been spectacular. I've gone back and forth over the years about this event. It's kind of expensive for congregations, and takes a lot of preparatory work and energy from congregational youth leaders. It's less expensive to go, say, on a mission trip or to camp.
Nevertheless, as my wife and I walked and talked about it today, we came to the firm conclusion that this youth gathering is worth the time and energy. The youth who have travelled to San Antonio with us are being expose to a range of church and world issues it would be unlikely they would encounter elsewhere. Speakers like Gary Wills and Donald Miller. Presentations on refugee and immigration issues, prayer opportunities with other high school youth, preaching by Tony Campolo, a bible study led by a recent seminary graduate, and so much more. Opportunities to serve, give blood, write advocacy letters, spend time in fellowship.
And these kinds of opportunities aren't just impacting our youth. Close to 40,000 Lutheran high schoolers are encountering Jesus in various ways on this trip in a way that, in the Spirit, they may be enlivened to be messengers of gospel in the world. I think that is worth all the energy we put into it.