Welcome to the Youth Ministry page for the
Northern Great Lakes Synod of the ELCA!

Mission statement for the Northern Great Lakes Synod’s Youth & Family Ministry:

“This synod supports congregational youth & family ministry through Christ-centered resources, ideas, and powerful ministry events.”

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About The Youth Ministry Team

Youth Ministry Team

The synod’s Youth Ministry Team works to plan youth ministry activities on a synod level, seeks to share resources in youth and family ministry with congregations, and develops training opportunities to develop leaders among young people and adults in youth and family ministry.

Upcoming Events

Synod-Wide Family Hike – May 13, 2023

Synod-Wide Family Hike – May 13, 2023

The Northern Great Lakes Synod Youth Ministry Team and U.P. Wild Church invite you to participate in a Synod-Wide Family Hike on Saturday, May 13. There will be multiple hikes taking place in different locations throughout the synod and you are invited to join one of them! Each hike will showcase the beauty of God’s creation and include an outdoor prayer service.

Hike locations and start times are below and you are encouraged to check out communication materials in your Conference for additional details about each hike or use the contact information provided below.


Conference 1 – Iron – Gogebic – Ontonagon
Contact: Loraine Mussatti, lorainemussatti@gmail.com
Start Time: 10:00 a.m. Central
Meeting Location: Split Rock Trails – Sunday Lake Mine Rd, Wakefield, MI

Conference 2 – Copper Country
Contact: Sarah Howard, mrs.sarahhoward@gmail.com
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Meeting Location: Calumet Waterworks Park Pavilion 2 – Lakeshore Dr, Calumet, MI

Conference 3 – Headwaters
Contact: Pr. Catie Ford, pastorcatieford@gmail.com
Start Time: 2:00 p.m. Central
Meeting Location: Star Lake Hiking Trail – 7999 State House Rd, Star Lake, WI

Conference 4 – Four Rivers
Contact: Sam Brink, campintern@fortunelake.org
Start Time: 10:00 a.m. Central
Meeting Location: Fortune Lake Lutheran Camp – 138 Fortune Lake Camp Road, Crystal Falls, MI

Conference 5 – Menominee Valley
Contact: Jeanie Goodwin, jeanhgoodwin@gmail.com
Start Time: 3:00 p.m. Central
Meeting Location: Chickadee Stables & Goodwin Family Home – W2234 State Hwy 64, Marinette, WI

Conference 6 – Delta
Contact: Pr. Mike Markwell, mike.j.markwell@gmail.com
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern
Meeting Location: Days River Trailhead – 6310 Days River 24.5 Rd, Gladstone, MI

Conference 7 – Three Lakes
Contact: Sharon Babbitt, beachgal260@hotmail.com
Start Time: 12:00 p.m. Eastern
Meeting Location: Upper Tahquamenon Falls – 41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI

Conference 8 – Superior Central
Contact: Pr. Alex Ross, rossalexander91@gmail.com
Start Time: 3:00 p.m. Eastern
Meeting Location: Al Quaal Lodge – N. 2nd Street, Ishpeming MI

Journey: Tri-Synodical High School Youth Gathering — July 24 – 27, 2023
River Falls, WI

Journey - Tri-Synod High School Youth Gathering


The Northern Great Lakes Synod is once again partnering with the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin and the LaCrosse Area Synod of Wisconsin to plan a Tri-Synodical Youth Gathering at UW-River Falls this summer. High schoolers are invited to join us July 24-27 for creative ministry, challenging conversation, inspiring guest speakers, service learning, and uplifting worship. Visit (Northwest Synod of Wisconsin | JOURNEY (nwswi.org) ) for additional details and registration information.


Darkness To Light Child Protection Trainings

Darkness To Light: End Child Sexual Abuse Flyer

Pastor Kari Vadis, of Trinity Lutheran in Rhinelander, is an authorized facilitator with Darkness to Light: a leader in child sexual abuse prevention education, research, and advocacy.  A training event in your conference will empower adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse through awareness, education, and stigma reduction.  Join the movement toward a world free of child sexual abuse – a world in which adults form prevention-oriented communities that protect the child’s right to a healthy childhood.

Register for a Training Using the Links Below:

2024 ELCA Youth Gathering — July 16 – 20, 2024
New Orleans, LA

ELCA YOUTH GATHERING LOGOEvery three years, thousands of high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation and fellowship known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through inspiring speakers, worship, music, and the opportunity to be immersed in the host city, young people will be inspired, challenged, and called to live out their faith in their daily lives.

The theme for the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering is “Created to Be” centered on Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.”  The next ELCA Youth Gathering will take place in New Orleans July 16-20, 2024.

If you would like to be part of the 2024 ELCA Youth Gathering, please reach out to your pastor or contact the NGLS Youth Coordinator to get connected to a local congregation. An informational planning meeting for NGLS participants will take place Sunday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Central via Zoom. Request the Zoom link here.

Visit ELCA Youth Gathering for additional information and resources to help you prepare for this faith-forming experience.


Conference-Wide Youth Events

The Synod Youth Ministry Team encourages and supports Conference-Wide Youth Events for young people. We recognize that many congregations only have a handful of youth and that by combining efforts, we can share resources and offer more opportunities for youth to get together for fellowship and faith-building activities within their conference. With such a geographically large synod, we are looking for additional adult leaders to help plan and execute these gatherings. Please email Stefanie Ehle (youthcoordinator@nglsynod.org) with questions or for more details.

Youth Advocacy

High school youth and adult leaders gathered together in Madison, WI in April to be part of the first ever Youth Advocacy Retreat coordinated collaboratively with the Lutheran Office of Public Policy and all 5 ELCA synods from Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. The weekend was filled with guest speakers, musicians, scripture, challenging conversation, and people with a heart for social justice. Check out a video put together by one of the high school youth attendees, Elsa Vadis.

Contact youthcoordinator@nglsynod.org if you are interested in future events like this or check out LOPPW’s website for additional resources on youth advocacy.

Growing Younger ELCA Logo

Growing Younger

The ELCA Growing Younger project began in 2019, after research confirmed that congregations were experiencing a decrease in attendance, especially among young people. ELCA staff discovered that the Fuller Youth Institute had been working across denominations to help churches grow younger and create more vibrant communities in response to this trend. Since then, the ELCA has had over 300 people trained from 52 synods to learn how to create a faith community that not just welcomes young people, but equips them with strategies to create a place where young people can belong and be part of the church family.

The Northern Great Lakes Synod currently has 4 trained leaders and would like to continue to share resources and opportunities for others to learn more about how to encourage congregational growth. Visit the Growing Younger webpage for more information and upcoming training opportunities through the ELCA.

Contact Us

Contact Stefanie Ehle NGLS Youth Ministries Coordinator, with questions or for more information about youth ministry in the Northern Great Lakes Synod.
Stefanie Northern Great Lakes Staff Headshot

Stefanie Ehle

NGLS Youth Ministries Coordinator

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Join The Community!

Please send us your name and email address to be included in future communications regarding youth ministry in our synod.