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Children & Youth

The Central/Southern Illinois Synod encourages congregations to support their young people and their families as they grow together in faith, learning to follow Jesus.

  • Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) programming is vital to helping children, teens, young adults and their families integrate into the larger, cross-generational community of the church.
  • Creative CYF ministries resist the status quo and help churches stay relevant in changing times.
  • CYF ministries that focus on inviting those who are not already part of the church into the deeper narrative of God’s plan are fulfilling the Great Commission.

In our experience, C/SIS congregations are eager for ideas and resources to help them create:

  • a safe, loving, and welcoming atmosphere where all generations are formed in their faith;
  • a variety of experiences that help young people and their families connect with God and one another, focusing on a strong sense of Christian community and belonging that is increasingly difficult to find elsewhere in the world today;
  • interaction between young people and adults who authentically model the Christian faith;
  • fellowship, learning and service activities which involve fun, teamwork, a sense of worth and practical discipleship skills for carrying the message of Christ beyond the walls of our congregations into the world and into a faith that lasts a lifetime.

Events & Resources

Each November, the synod Lutheran Youth Organization holds an annual youth gathering at Lake Williamson Christian Center in Carlinville, welcoming junior high, senior high, and post-high participants. Synod Youth Gatherings are high impact opportunities for students to get away for an entire weekend to focus on their faith.

Students who participate in synod events grow closer with friends from their own congregation and make many new friends. Synod events are also fun! (Research shows this is a major factor in successful faith formation for all ages!)

Students are led in small groups through the weekend by youth leaders and volunteers from around the synod. They experience a creative theme through small group games and projects, and Bible studies. The entire assembly gathers together for large group music, worship, and meals. There is also some supervised free time to enjoy the retreat center activities (swimming pool, gym, climbing wall, etc). Participants sleep in dorm style cabins that hold six to eight youth and chaperones. Registration information usually is sent to congregations early in the fall.

ELCA Faith Formation provides resources for households, children’s ministries, and youth ministries. This site links to hundreds of topics and ideas for ministry, including Vacation Bible School curriculum recommendations, devotionals, games, intergenerational resources, and much more.

Held annually, Leadership Lab assists youth in acquiring skills that will be useful in congregational communities, local communities, and the world, while experiencing Christ’s love in community. Each level of Lab is structured to help participants progress in their ability to be responsible ministry leaders and helps them grow in their awareness of God, self and others.

LOMC is a ministry of the ELCA congregations in Illinois. Its 600+ acre site is located in the heart of the Rock River Valley of Northwestern Illinois. It is the focal point for a variety of summer camping programs for youth and children. Throughout the year, people of all ages find LOMC an attractive setting for retreats and conferences.

In addition to its summer programs, LOMC offers tent camping, trailer hookups, cabins, and hotel-style accommodations for people and groups of all ages.