This last weekend was the online Extravaganza. We had 110 leaders from the NE MN Synod and 1750 from across the ELCA participate. The event gave space for leaders to grieve, consider the opportunities God is calling us to, and learn practical tools to help get them there.
Last night one of the tech wizards from the Extravaganza pulled all the words shared in the General Session chat and put them in a word cloud. If you have ever done a word cloud before, you know that it puts the most frequent words as the biggest. Can you guess what the community shared the most? Thanks and Amen.
As I consider those words, here is what I think they are saying that is true for all of us:
Thanks. This has been a relentless year, and the collective trauma we have experienced in pivoting in ministry while caring for youth and families is substantial. It is no surprise to me that the General Session that most impacted people was on “Holding Grief.” Sometimes we don’t know how depleted you are until you stop. But when you do stop, it is important to be together. Even online, this event was community. And through community, the Holy Spirit can best breathe into us hope, love, direction and renew us in purpose.
Amen. As Joe Davis said in one of his videos for the Extravaganza, everything we do is prayer. This event was a prayer for God to move in us, heal us, point us, remind us, love us, forgive us, be with us. God showed up, as God does. It was felt. And the people said Amen. I pray you are finding communities that help you see and experience God showing up and moving you forward.
If you missed the Extravaganza, the recordings of the General Sessions and Workshops will be available to ELCA Youth Ministry Network members in a couple weeks. The membership fee gives you access to many other resources as well.
I encourage you to save the date for the 2022 Extravaganza: February 11-14, 2022. We will gather in person in Minneapolis, and it is expected there will be an online option as well. As you make budget plans for the coming year, I encourage you to make this a line item for your leaders and volunteers.
We are better together, and the Extravaganza is one place I feel that every year. Come, Holy Spirit and gather us so we can continue to move forward. Thanks. Amen.
Together in Christ,
Synod Minister for Discipleship and Christian Community
Northeastern Minnesota Synod, ELCA