My Heart is Full from LYO!!

October 24, 2022

In the past two years, I’ve been pretty inactive in posting something to my blog. I’m not sure why I stopped posting. I thoroughly enjoyed the connection and conversation that resulted in many things I shared. And I used many blog posts to sort through the things that I was wrestling with in my head and heart. One of the excuses I could offer is that the “busyness” of serving in the Office of Bishop sometimes gets in the way of the time it takes to put together a blog post.

Whatever excuse I might use, I’m going give it another try to be more consistent with posting. I won’t promise perfect grammar or sentence structure. I won’t promise deep theological dives into the mysteries of the Christian faith every time.

I will promise to share what’s been on my heart or occupying space in my head.

I will promise to share things that have given me joy as a synod bishop as I travel across this church and witness God working through each one of God’s children in amazing and holy ways.

Let’s start with today’s post.

This past weekend, I was invited to preach for almost 400 middle and high school youth and their adult leaders at the Western North Dakota Synod’s LYO (Lutheran Youth Organization) Gathering. This, without question, was/is one of the most challenging preaching opportunities I am invited into each year.

I LOVE the LYO Gathering. It is so joyful to see youth and adults from across our synod gathered for worship and prayer, learning from each other and singing a little karaoke together, community service experiences and snacks so abundant and sugar-filled it makes ones head spin and stomach ache.

And…this weekend event reminded me of why I continue to dislike one of the great clichés of the Christian movement! We’ve all heard it before. It goes something like this…

“We need to support the youth of our church because they are the future of the church.”

I cringe whenever I hear that cliché.

I believe deeply that the youth in our local congregations are not the future of the church, they are part of the church…TODAY! Right here. Right now. Attending the LYO Gathering this weekend gave me, and the entire church, a chance to witness firsthand just how true that is. The church is blessed abundantly because our youth are participating in the work God is doing through the church today!

What do you think?

Are our youth the future of the church?

Or are they already part of the work God is doing through the church here and now?

I invite you to take a few seconds and share a comment about how you are seeing the youth of your congregation blessing God’s work in the world today.

Until next time, may God’s peace be with you always and in all ways…

Bishop Craig

About Bishop Craig Schweitzer

The Rev. Craig Schweitzer, of Bismarck, was elected as bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod on July 17, 2020, in the first-ever digital Synod Assembly. A historic event, Schweitzer is the first bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to be elected in an online assembly. Bishop Craig Schweitzer began serving the Western North Dakota Synod-ELCA on September 1, 2020. He has always seen himself as an easy-going person who seeks to daily discover anew how God is present in his life and the world in which he lives and serves. Prior to service in the Office of Bishop of the Western North Dakota Synod, Bishop Craig served at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Bismarck, ND as Music and Worship Minister (lay staff from 2002-2010), Associate Pastor (2010-2014), and Senior Pastor (2014-2020). Beyond his service in the church, he has an eclectic background that is a diverse collection of musical, educational, and business experiences ranging from live concert production and promotion to recording studios and live performance to music education. Throughout all of his professional and personal experiences, the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome have been a guiding light that has kept him grounded in whatever work God was calling him into – “Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) Bishop Craig is a graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership. He also holds a certificate degree in Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, CA. He was ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament on September 16, 2010. Outside of his life as Bishop, Bishop Craig enjoys reading, all music, a little golf, a cold beverage with friends, and intentional times of quiet. And, of course, spending time with his wife Wendy and their adult twin daughters Ilia and Taegan. View all posts by Bishop Craig Schweitzer

One response to “My Heart is Full from LYO!!

  • Pam Hartman

    I agree with you re: recognizing our youth in the present. They need to be seen now! On Sunday at Zion Lutheran, Beulah when I preached, I acknowledged the presence of the young man, Austin, who was the acolyte, as explained to me by his grandmother. I mentioned to the congregation that I appreciated having him seated directly across from me, which made me feel more comfortable in my nervousness. In addition, knew I needed to be on my toes because he was taking sermon notes! 😂. Thank you for your post & service to the Synod.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: