Follow Us

Log in

Network News

  • 23 Mar 2016 7:59 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

    I was shocked, but not surprised, when the news of the closing of Youth Encounter was released a couple of weeks ago.  Youth Encounter is an organization with a rich history in the Lutheran church, and its closing is an event of seismic proportions in the world of ministry with young people.  (Read more...)

    • 03 Mar 2016 8:15 PM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      The E-Team leaders have spent the past week or two going over the details of the evaluations from Extravaganza 2016 in Anaheim. I wanted to follow up with what we learned from this year’s evals.

      First, thank you very much to those who took the time to fill out the evaluation forms. The full evaluation report is (10 point font, Ariel) 46 pages long. That’s a ton of data. And we’re grateful. We’ve gone over every numerical answer, and every comment.

      225 of you filled out the evaluation form, which represents a 33% return rate, which is a fantastic rate of return for an event like ours. It reminds all of us that people who participate in the Extravaganza really care about this event. It is important, and people want to see it continue to get better and better. It reminds us that tending the E is a trust that we take very seriously.  Read more...

    • 29 Feb 2016 10:24 PM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      After 51 years of successful and fruitful ministry, Youth Encounter is shutting down operations and closing its doors at the end of April. Youth Encounter will finish its current event season on April 3, 2016 and then host two Feed the Need programs before ceasing operations.  Read more...

    • 26 Feb 2016 10:26 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      A major update to the Network's mobile app has been released for both the Apple iOS and for Android.  The iPad version of the app will be released next week.

      Click here to download the app.

      In addition to making the app a little quicker and squashing some "bugs," the new app adds several different features that we are very excited about.  

      • In the events section, the app now has the capacity of "RSVPing" for the event, as well as adding it into your personal calendar with the click of a single button.  
      • The Network blog will continue to be connected and feed directly into the Network app, so that you can stay updated with the latest news from the Network.
      • The app adds a directory, of those who have also createdIMG_1639 profiles within the app, so you can network with each other quickly and easily.
      • Perhaps the most remarkable addition to the app is the addition of the "Prayer Requests" page, where you can post your own prayer requests for the community to 
        gather around.  This allows us to continue to support each other, wherever we are!
      • We now have the ability to post documents directly into the app!  We can post ministry tools and updates there for you to access!
      • We've added links to MartinsList and the Network site directly into the app menu.

      Our goal is to make it even easier to network with each other!  

      Note:  When setting the app up for the first time, it will ask you to create a profile.  This allows you then to access and add to the prayer wall.  This is not the same as your network web site log in.  You will need to create a new username and password (though you're welcome to use the same one as for the Network web site to keep things easy!)

      Put the Network in your pocket!  Download the Network app today!

    • 08 Feb 2016 10:46 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      Heidi Hagstrom, the former director of the ELCA Youth Gathering received the "Tom Hunstad Award for Excellence in Children, Youth and Family Ministry" at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza.

      Heidi is currently serving as the vicar of Fields of Grace Lutheran Parish in southwest Minnesota.  From 1997 to 2015, she served as the Director of the Youth Gathering, the largest event in the life of our denomination with over 39,000 participants at its peak.

      Erik Ullestad, the chairperson of the Network board commented that:  "The ELCA Youth Gathering looked very different in 2015 than it looked when Heidi started.  This is a testament to her adaptability, her vision, and her willingness to listen.  Heidi did the unprecedented thing of having two consecutive Youth Gatherings in the same city - because God wasn’t finished with New Orleans, and neither was the ELCA.  Heidi allowed service learning to be something that all participants were expected to engage in.  You acknowledged that pre-Gathering conversations among youth groups should be more than fundraisers and packing lists - instead, she provided resources to equip youth and adults to engage in faithful conversation in the months before the Gathering."

      Heidi is quick to deflect credit.  She worked with a marvelous staff at Churchwide, and teams of hundreds (maybe thousands) of volunteers over the years to make the Gathering what it has become.  And yet - she was at the heart of all of these conversations — bringing her passion for justice, her commitment to theological integrity, and the conviction that God was and continues to be present in the seemingly God-forsaken places in our world.

      The Tom Hunstad Award (The "Tommy") is awarded annually to someone who has made a significant impact on the life of children, youth and family ministry in the ELCA.  It honors the legacy of Rev. Tom Hunstad, one of those who helped to found the ELCA Youth Ministry Network and who died of cancer in 2001.

      The ELCA Youth Ministry Network exists to provide spiritual renewal, continuing education and networking to those who work with children, youth and families in ELCA congregations.

    • 03 Feb 2016 6:52 PM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      At Early Bird Workshop session #1, we are adding "The Changing Landscape of Youth MInistry," being led by Tom Schwolert.  Details can be found on the workshop schedule.


    • 31 Jan 2016 5:34 PM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      It's a fact of life when planning an event as large as the Extravaganza!  

      Because of people's travel schedules and availability, there are always changes that happen in the workshop schedule.  Here are a few that have already been made  (All of these changes have been made in our online schedule ( and on the Netowrk App):

      Early Bird Workshop 1:

      • Debbie Streicher's workshop, "Becoming Fluent in Faith Means Change" has been cancelled.

      Early Bird Workshop 2:  

      • Paul Amlin's Workworkshop on "Receiving Feedback Well" has been moved to Salon VIII
      • Kelly Glow's workshop, "Be Free: A Performing Arts Based Worship Model" has been cancelled and has been replaced by "When the Walls Cave In: Managing Your Depression and Anxiety" by Julie Miller
      Workshop Session 1 (Saturday, 8:45-10:00am):

      • Kelly Glow's workshop, "Be Free: A Performing Arts Based Worship Model" has been cancelled and has been replaced by "Experience the Reformation: The Luther500 Festival For Youth" Led by Christian Utapel and Michael Bridges
      • Pebbles Cloninger's workshop, "Building Your Toolbox: Essentials for Children's Ministry" has been canceled and is being replaced by "Take Your VBS Beyond the Box" by Janet Lane and Sara Martin
      Workshop Session 5 (Sunday, 8:00-9:15pm):

      • "When the Walls Cave: Managing Your Depression and Anxiety" by Julie Miller has been cancelled.
      Workshop Session 6 (Monday, 8:45am-10am):

      • "Kids Can Pray Too" by Pebbles Cloninger has been cancelled and is being replaced by "Becoming Fluent in Faith Means Change" by Debbie Streicher
      • Tom Schwolert's workshop, "Changing the Landscape of Youth Ministry" has been cancelled.
    • 28 Jan 2016 9:10 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      Have you downloaded the Network app?  

      Prior to coming to California, you'll want to download the Network app!  On the app, you can check the up-to-date Extravaganza schedule in the "events" section.  And if there are any schedule updates or changes, we'll also be posting those in the "blog" section.

      At our worship, we'll even use the "giving" function of the app to take offering, if you choose to.

      The Network app is available in both the Android Marketplace and the iTunes App store.  You can also get to it by going to  The app is free to download and use.  

      You'll want it to help you navigate the E!

    • 10 Dec 2015 10:13 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)

      One new member has been appointed to a position on the ELCA Youth Ministry Network's Board of Directors, and another existing member has been reappointed for a second term.

      Kinda Makini has been appointed to a 3- year term.  Kinda lives in Detroit, Michigan and is the founder and currently serves at Inner City Youth Group of Detroit, an organization that is devoted to providing youth, ranging from ages 5 through 24, with resources that will facilitate them achieving their full potential through secure and nurturing environments, continuing relationship and high ethical standards.

      Kinda has also served on the Boards of the Living Waters Outdoor Ministry and the Harriet Tubman Center in Detroit.  

      Kinda served as the co-team leader of the Proclaim Justice Day at the 2015 ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit.

      Dr. Jeremy Myers has been reappointed to serve a second 3-year term as well.  Jeremy currently directs and teaches in the youth and family ministry program at Augsburg College.  

      Jeremy has written curriculum for both the Practice Discipleship initiative, as well as the ELCA Youth Gathering.  He has a passion for helping young peole to recognize and develop how they think theologically.  

      We welcome Kinda to the Board, and we welcome Jeremy back!

    • 27 Nov 2015 7:00 AM | Todd Buegler (Administrator)
      The Network is holding its first "Black Friday Sale" for Network membership.  For November 27th only, you can receive a $45 discount on Network memberships!  That means our standard membership, normally $85, is available for only $40!  

      This discount is available on our 3-year, standard, sponsoring and supporting membership levels.  

      Go to and use the discount code: NETFRI...but do it on Friday!

    Got a question, or need help or support?

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software