It is always remarkable to see the many ways the LCMS Youth Gathering impacts the host city during the days we are there. Certainly there is a financial impact, however, what amazes me most are the numerous ways youth and adult leaders serve the host city through many and various opportunities.


“I Am An Echo” was a phrase shared during the Monday evening Mass Event. There, Pastor Matt Popovits said, “Our humility is an echo of Jesus’ humility.” An echo happens when something somewhere makes a sound and that sound travels through the air until it finds something to reflect off of. That’s how Paul describes our acts of humble love and service. We receive Jesus’ humble love and we give it to someone else. When you were baptized, the humble love of Jesus found you and marked you. Over and over again the love of Jesus finds us. But it doesn’t end there. It reflects in us and through us to someone else. We are the echo.


This was certainly true during our time in New Orleans.  Here is a glimpse of the echoes of service participates shared in Christ alone during the Gathering:




LCMS Servant Events played a key role with one of these projects by coordinating the creation of the 1,000+ fleece hats. Using fleece donated and brought to the Gathering by members of the Community Life Team (Yellow Shirts), the LCMS Servant Event Committee served as leaders for the three-day project, using the theme, Joy in Community, based on Philippians 1:3-11. (Participants at the November 2015 LCMS Servant Event Leader Conference helped field tested the project.)


Committee members Linda Gage, Rev. Barry Akers, Shelly Carlson, Randy Ronning, Joe Palinkas and Leah Sallach helped Gathering participants make and design their hats, while others wrote notes of encouragement for each hat’s recipients. Groups were then encouraged to replicate this experience at home using a resource provided each participant.

Over one thousand fleece hats were made in the LCMS Youth Ministry Booth at the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering. The LCMS Servant Event coommitte lead the process.
Over one thousand fleece hats were made in the LCMS Youth Ministry Booth at the 2016 LCMS Youth Gathering.

Completed hats were distributed locally and by Tommy Moll, DCE and the youth of Saint Michael’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN (pictured below).   Phil’s Friends, a LCMS Recognized Service Organization whose mission is to providing support and hope to those affected by cancer, were also recipients of a large quantity of the hats for use in their ministry.

Youth from Saint Michael’s Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, IN bag up hats to distribute in their local community.

Youth and adult leaders were also encouraged to look for other ways to “echo” Christ’s love in service in their own communities and beyond. Our service isn’t limited to the Gathering and our days in New Orleans. Youth and adults can “be an echo” in the days and months ahead – including during the summer of 2017 from the coast of California to the shores of Lake Erie.  Check out LCMS Servant Events to discover the 70+ opportunities for service at LCMS congregations, camps, Recognized Service Organizations and more.

In Christ alone, our lives echo Christ’s humility. How are you an echo?