Lutheran Young Adult Corps participants Courtney Haag and Hayden Duncan prepare food for volunteers at Camp Restore in New Orleans in 2018. (LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford)

“I grew closer in my relationship with God through it all, whether it was Sunday morning worship or just spending some time with Him in prayer each evening. Having to put my trust in God each day was a little tough at first (and still can be even now), but I learned that trusting in Him each day will make your days go better.” — Nathan, Lutheran Young Adult Corps alumnus, St. Louis, Gap Year

Seven years ago, the idea was conceived for a long-term service option for young adults of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. It was impossible to know then the impact this program would have on young adults, LCMS congregations, Recognized Service Organizations (RSOs), and urban communities across the country.

As Lutheran Young Adult Corps closes its second program year, we celebrate what God has done through our participants. We have had 29 young people serve in our summer and gap year programs. They have served almost 35,000 hours collectively. From an idea seven years ago to today, God has guided and provided for this service to share the Gospel.

Our participants serve to provide additional capacity to Lutheran churches and RSOs. This capacity helps them to reach out to their community with new or extended ministry opportunities. For example, Lara served with Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Louis for 10 months, assisting with their many ministries to the community. During her service, she helped launch a branch of Helping Hand Me Downs, allowing Trinity to be a location for essential items for struggling families. Even after her term ended, the program continues through supportive staff and lay leaders.

“Ten months of leadership in Lutheran Young Adult Corps showed me how to step up at church and in ministry. Sure, it feels wonderful when someone picks you out of the crowd and asks for your specific help, but that doesn’t always happen. I learned to step in where I saw a need. I learned to stop waiting around for someone to beg for my help and just dive in. Sometimes it was messy, but that’s what makes it beautiful and real and impactful. I learned to truly see my church as my family. Nobody’s perfect, so it’s OK when I mess up or don’t have everything figured out. What matters is that I come for the right reasons: to serve the One who redeemed me in love for the glory of His name.” — Sarabeth, Lutheran Young Adult Corps alumna, Boston, Gap Year

Each Lutheran Young Adult Corps alumni brought special gifts and abilities to their service. One joy of the program is to see how LYAC participants integrate their experience as they move onto their next step. Several participants are now pursuing pastoral, deaconess, and DCE ministry.

Megan served with us during our inaugural summer. After finishing her degree at Concordia University, Nebraska, Seward, Neb., she returned to take a full-time position with Lutheran Development Group, the organization where she served. Now she supervises other summer participants!

Courtney served in New Orleans for 10 months. She returned home after her service and took on an important role in her home church’s youth ministry the following summer. As a lay leader, Courtney was able to help use skills developed during her service to the teens of her congregation.

“One of my favorite experiences from my 10 weeks with the Lutheran Young Adult Corps was serving in homeless ministry. This was a humbling and eye-opening experience for me because it made me realize that these people are not much different than I, and sometimes they showed me more love and support than I could have ever shown them.” Cami Bolte, Lutheran Young Adult Corps alumna, St. Louis, Summer 

With each new year, additional young adults are placed to serve where they will thrive and help share the Gospel in communities across the country. After serving in five cities so far, we are excited to be opening a house in Milwaukee in 2019-2020. We are designing new ways for our alumni to be supported and to support current participants.

There is much more on the horizon for Lutheran Young Adult Corps. Currently, Lutheran Young Adult Corps has more potential placements with churches and RSOs than we have applicants. With the right resources, we could help expand capacity in many more urban ministries. Our greatest need is young adults who are passionate about sharing the Gospel through service.

Applications are being accepted for the 2019-2020 Gap Year, Summer 2020 program and the 2020-2021 Gap Year. Young adults who desire to use their gifts can start serving as soon as this August! Encourage young people you know to consider joining this community of faith and service.