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. The 2020 camp will be held July 19-24; for a brochure, click the link below or visit the LVR page.


2020 LVR Brochure


Higher Things Conference


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.

May 2020 Update: The 2020 conference, “Watermarked,” will be presented this year as a VIRTUAL CONFERENCE. Due to the pandemic, all four in-person conferences have been cancelled. 

The conference will be presented live August 6-7, 2020. If you aren’t able to join the live conference, you’ll be able to access content at a later date. General registration opens June 1 at www.higherthings.org.

Lutheran Youth Representatives (LYR)


Lutheran Youth Representatives (LYR) 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 LYR page, or check out the March 2018 issue of the Kansas insert of The Lutheran Witness (p. 3).

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

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

Junior High Rallies


The Kansas District hosts Junior High Youth Rallies every fall, with music, mixers, and Bible study for grades 5–9. The 2019 rallies, located at Timber Lakes Camp in Williamsburg (East) and Shepherd’s Staff in Rexford (West), were held September 27–28 under the theme “Changed in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:51-52). The event focused on the doctrines of sinner/saint, baptism, grace, and sanctification using the story and life of the apostle Paul in the context of the movie How To Train Your Dragon 3.

The next rallies are scheduled for October 2-3, 2020. 



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. The 2019 KDYG was held November 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita, with featured speaker Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson and Gathering band Bread of Stone. The 2020 event will be held November 20-22 in Topeka. Watch for more details in the summer of 2020.



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 2019 NYG, held in Minneapolis in July, was  “Real. Present. God,” based on Psalm 46. The next NYG will be held July 9-13, 2022 in Houston, TX. We’ll post details as they become available

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 Educational Services at 785-357-4441, Ext. 200.


District Staff

Jim Bradshaw
Assistant to the President for Education and Youth
Fax: 785-357-5071

Tami Lierz
Administrative Assistant
785-357-4441 ext. 200


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.