Lutheran Youth Corps
“There is an ever-growing number of LCMS college students and young adults joining the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. They say, ‘We would do it with the church, but there is nothing for us to do.’ ”
- said Rev. J. Bart Day, executive director of LCMS Office of National Mission.
The Lutheran Youth Corps is scheduled to launch its pilot program in summer 2015. With an emphasis on works of mercy and a desire to engage the tail end of the “youth” spectrum in the LCMS, the Lutheran Youth Corps will focus on providing service opportunities for a 12-month period of time between high school and college or college and full-time work, especially for young people who have not yet settled on a vocation. They will likely be matched with a project or servant event that is related to their particular interests and skill sets.
As the program is developed, it includes sending seven to 10 youth to live in a house together with a professional church worker who will serve as the spiritual life director during their stay. The director will lead them in daily devotions, connect them with a church nearby for Word and Sacrament, and maintain order while caring for their physical and spiritual needs. Opportunities for offering educational credit or other incentives are also being explored.
Young adults will have domestic service opportunities, such as urban and inner-city work, as well as international project choices with partner churches and organizations. But what really sets Lutheran Youth Corps apart from the other long-term service organizations? A uniquely Lutheran theology and deep focus on the vocational life in the midst of rigorous service.
“Built into this program will be a week or two of immersion in significant theological training for the youth before being sent out," said Day. “We’ll talk them through Scripture and the Confessions and vocation and service to neighbor in a Gospel way, to prepare them to go out joyfully and freed by the Gospel to do the work our Lord would give them to do.”