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Youth Leadership

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Leading in Your Synod

Sometimes we are called to serve God in ways that stretch beyond our congregation. The work extends beyond our neighborhoods and into the greater community or requires more involvement than a congregation can handle.  

Synods are what connect our congregations to others in an area. Those areas can be as small as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, which covers just four counties and Philadelphia, or as large as the Rocky Mountain Synod, with congregations in five states. There is also a synod without any geographical ties (Slovak Zion). All the synods comprise a similar number of congregations dedicated to serving God and the community around them, and know that banding together sometimes leads to the strongest response to God’s call.  

Your work at the synod level can bring a more dedicated focus to many things that also exist at the congregational and national levels. This can include issue advocacy in county and state government; global missions, where you can work with or even visit mission partners throughout the world; or even world hunger and disaster response, coordinating efforts as a network of churches. Sometimes you can work with youth ministry for the congregational network, helping your peers throughout the synod as you did in your home church. Every three years, each synod sends one young member to the Churchwide Assembly to represent the young voices of the area.


Asking someone in your congregation (such as your youth leader) what synod it belongs to and visit Synods - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ( to find the synod office website and contact information.

Talk to someone there about how you’d like to serve and see if there is someone you can speak to who organizes that group. You’ll be amazed at the opportunities available for you!

Before you go

Look at Jesus’ words in Luke 22:25-27: “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

A quick prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
May I always be an example to others of yourself-sacrificing love.
Help me to share your word and compassion.

Photo by Kristin Opalinski


Leading in Your Synod

As we move towards the next level in the ELCA, take into consideration how the leadership you hold in your congregation can be used elsewhere. This will be helpful as we journey up to the synod level, where you and your peers can play a vital role in churches throughout your region.
Get the tools you need to focus your faith, your actions, and your relationship with the Lutheran Church. You’ll go from soul-searching to life-planning, to becoming part of the next generation of Lutheran leaders — one full of culture-shaping, Christ-centered trailblazers just like you.
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National Youth Leadership

You’ve seen what leadership looks like in your church and we’ve talked about how you can have an impact through Youth Leadership Boards at the synod level. Now let’s look at what leadership is like for young people at the national level. It’s not as daunting as it seems!