Youth Ministry

Get Involved. Grow in Faith.

The Kansas District offers a variety of opportunities that support and encourage young Lutherans in their faith, including the recurring events listed here. Details and announcements about these events will be added as they become available.

Lutheran Valley Retreat Summer Camp


Every summer, the Kansas District sponsors Lutheran Valley Retreat (LVR) Summer Camp, a weeklong camp in Colorado for Lutheran youth. LVR encourages youth to stretch themselves by bonding with new friends and stepping out of their comfort zone by participating in physical challenges. In 2021, there will be two dates for LVR summer camps, June 6-11 and July 18-23. Registration is expected to open March 1. 

LVR page


YouthLead (formerly Lutheran Youth Representatives)


YouthLead offers Lutherans in grades 9 through 12 a chance to build connections, grow in faith, and develop leadership skills. Selected representatives participate in training, attend District events such as the Kansas District Youth Gathering (fall) and Teen Fellowship Retreat (spring), visit congregations, and apply what they’ve learned at their home churches.

You can find out more about the representatives and what they do on the YouthLead page, or check out the March 2018 issue of the Kansas insert of The Lutheran Witness (p. 3).

Interested in joining YouthLead? Submit an application! You can find more details and application materials on the YouthLead page.

For more information, contact our YouthLead Coordinators: DCE Charity Smith, dce@stlukesmanhattan.org or Jesse Smith, smithjesse@icloud.com.

Higher Things 


Higher Things, a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS, exists “to assist parents, pastors, and congregations in cultivating a distinctly Lutheran identity among their youth and young adults.” Higher Things holds youth conferences each summer at locations around the country.

To learn more about Higher Things and its conferences, visit www.higherthings.org.

Registration for the 2021 Conference, “Forgiven,” is now open.

Kansas District Youth Gathering (KDYG)


The Kansas District Youth Gathering (KDYG) is an annual multi-day event where youth in grades 9-12 and their youth leaders can grow in faith, serve, worship, and meet new people. In 2020, KDYG was conducted virtually with the theme “Clearer Vision,” based on Hebrews 12:1-2. Participants walked through what it means to have our eyes truly fixed on Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith, and run with perseverance the race marked out before us! The next KDYG will be held in Topeka November 19-21, 2021. 

More information is available on the KDYG page



Junior High Rallies

The Kansas District hosts Junior High Rallies every fall, with music, mixers, and Bible study for grades 5–9. For 2020, a single rally was held at Shepherd’s Staff in Rexford (west location) October 2-3. The rally theme was “God’s War: The Rise of Identity,” based on 1 Sam. 16:7b: “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 

Watch for information about the next rallies in the spring of 2021.


National Youth Gathering


Every three years, the LCMS hosts the National Youth Gathering, bringing together thousands (and thousands!) of Lutherans from around the country for five days of Christ-centered worship and service. The theme for the 2022 Gathering, being held July 9-13, 2022 in Houston, TX, is “In All Things,” based on Colossians 1:15-20 (“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”) For more details, visit our Kansas District page for the event.


District Youth Protection Policy

Attention: Pastors and Youth Leaders of the Kansas District:

Too often we read of how the children entrusted to the care of adults have been let down and harmed by those who were meant to protect them. Such a thing grieves us all and in hindsight, we wish things were done to protect those children.

The Kansas District Youth Ministry Team is committed to being proactive in keeping the children with whom we come in contact as safe as we possibly can. To that end, the Kansas District Board of Directors has reviewed and updated our Youth Protection Policies. These policies, approved on April 25, 2014, are available below. The policies took effect on January 1, 2015 and apply to all District-sponsored youth events.

We ask for your cooperation in maintaining the appropriate background checks and documentation of all of the people in your ministry who are involved or come in contact with the children in your sphere of ministry. We strongly encourage each of you not only to cooperate with the policies but also to consider applying these same policies in your congregations in order to protect your adult volunteers who work with minors.

Because of the need for integrity, please understand that we’re following these policies as a best practice. We want to make sure that details are tended to properly so that none of our young people are excluded from our events.

If you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact the Department of Education & Youth at 785-357-4441, ext. 200.


District Staff

Jim Bradshaw
Assistant to the President for Education and Youth
785-357-4441, ext. 5001
Fax: 785-357-5071

Tami Lierz
Administrative Assistant
785-357-4441 ext. 5001


Click or tap the logo above to go to the LCMS Youth Ministry page, where you’ll find great resources for youth and youth leaders. For a quick overview, check out this information sheet.