Candle Time

Candletime, a guide for Youth to lead a faith-filled conversation with their friends online or face to face.

Come join us for Candle Time on Wednesday. Zoom

Wednesday evening at 8 Eastern, 7 Central, 6 Mountain, 5 Pacific
(and of course 9 pm in Bermuda, 4 pm in Alaska and 2 pm in Hawaii)

The following are the Candletime guides for each of our times together which you can use to lead Candletime with your own small groups.

Candletime #15 (July 1)

Candletime #14 (June 24)

Candletime #13 (June 17)

Candletime #12 (June 10)

Candletime #11 (June 3)

Candletime #10 (May 20)

Candletime #9 (May 13)

Candletime #8 (May 6)

Candletime #7 (April 29)

Candletime #6 (April 22)

Candletime #5 (April 15)

Candletime #4 (April 8)

Candletime #3 (April 1)

Candletime #2 (March 25)

Candletime #1 (March 18)

YCLT Reflections

The ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team (YCLT) reflect on their time together in September planning for this years Youth Leadership Summit

Mary Winsor 2017-2018

I had so much fun planning the Youth Summit this weekend! It was awesome getting to have lots of leadership training and spending time with amazing friends! When you come to the summit we’ll have great speakers on advocacy and you’ll get to meet youth from all across the country! If you feel called you should apply to be apart of the Youth Core Leadership Team (YCLT) for next year’s summit! I can’t wait to see you all in November!!!

Zackary Grover 2018-2019

The Youth Core Leadership Team isn’t just a team, it’s a family. We share common goals and passions. We are all combined to create a driven force of God’s love. This year at the Youth Leadership Summit, you will experience first hand what his board is really capable of.

Gabriella Mark 2018-2019

There are so many “holy moments” or “aha moments” this weekend, but when everyone was up late planning I really felt God’s presence because it was our passion that He gave us the drive to keep going, event at 11:15 at night. (even when the adults were telling us to go to bed) If you come to the 2018 Summit, you will grow in your faith and leadership skills and learn a lot about advocacy while being surrounded by other youth from all over the US and ELCA. The Youth Core Leadership Team is the most amazing opportunity of all time! On the YCLT we meet to plan the Youth Leadership Summit, grow in faith, learn communication skills, and become stronger leaders. This team offers a safe environment for us to grow as a team and have a strong sense of community. The YCLT is the opportunity of a lifetime, so apply now!

Maggie Nieberger 2017-2018

When you come to the Youth Leadership Summit, get excited to deepen your understanding of Advocacy and how it is carried out through programs across the ELCA. Also come with an open mind to meet new people from all over the US and to learn about their lives. The Youth Core Leadership Team is an amazing opportunity to become real friends with other like-minded faithful people from across the ELCA. I have changed so much as a person on this team and have learned things that I will use for the rest of my life like leadership skills and how to live out my faith in the world. It has been one of the most meaningful and impactful groups that I have ever had the chance to be apart of!

Luke Bjorklund 2018-2019

When you join the Youth Core Leadership Team you become very connected with others from around the country who are also looking to expand and build their leadership skills and grow in their faith with God. Being on the team opens up a world of possibilities that youth can do throughout the church. Being on this team includes learning how to plan big events like the Summit that the YCLT hosts. The Summit is an event for other youth leaders to come and build their relationship with God and broaden their horizons on how to be great leaders.

Nicole Krenz 2017-2018

Coming to the Summit is a great opportunity to get closer with God. It’s a phenomenal experience to meet people from all the synods and learn about them. But learning about and then being part of the Youth Core Leadership Team has been the best part. We get trained to be even better leaders than we already are. We also get close to God and the team too. The YCLT is just the best thing I’ve ever done in the church, and I have never regretted this decision.

Kyra Short 2017-2018

Being on the Youth Core Leadership Team gives you an amazing opportunities to build strong relationships with other young leaders in the ELCA while going through training that expands your leadership abilities. This weekend (YCLT Fall Retreat) allowed me to grow in my faith, strengthen friendships and build up my leadership skills.

Sophia Behrens 2018-2019

Youth should come to the Youth Leadership Summit because it’s an experience that creates lifelong friends while learning and being a part of a Churchwide event. At YLS, there’s people from across the country that you wouldn’t become friends with in any other situation, but through the core core value of Faith and being Gathered under God, you build relationships unlike any other. You learn a lot too! There are speakers through the weekend that share their passions and open up new possibilities for high shcoolers and youth getting ready to transition into college/young adulthood. This year, we learn about advocacy and will have simulations, games, and candle stations that you can also bring home to their congregations and synods. The Youth Leadership Summit brings about networking skills and learning opportunities that’s unlike any other and I can’t wait to see you all there!

Marshall Laidlaw 2018-2019

Being a part of the Youth Core Leadership Team, wow! It’s a group that is truly passionate about leadership and the church, and has been amazing to be part of! I’ve learned so much from the people on the team, and I have been rejuvenated with many new ideas I can take back to my home congregation. The Holy Spirit has moved through me greatly during my time on the team so far, and anyone who else wants an experience like this should apply to be part of the team.

Christian Marhenke 2017-2018

You should apply for the Youth Core Leadership Team! Your perspectives on the church and life will be changed. You will grow in your faith, learn new things already familiar but more in depth and you’ll discover yourself along the way.

Makenna Dawson 2018-2019

The Youth Core Leadership Team is such a great way to follow God’s call to leadership. You are able to grow through leadership training sessions that you can take back to your congregation and school or use to lead youth from across the United States like we will do at the 2018 Youth Leadership Summit. It is truly a life changing experience and will change you and your faith forever.

Sam Maston 2018-2019

The ELCA Youth Core Leadership Team is an opportunity to grow as a leader, nurture your faith, meet fantastic new people, visit the churchwide office, create memories you’ll keep forever and much more. Your fellow team members will become some of your closest friends, and the things you learn you can carry with you always; the experiences and time spent will be some of the best you’ll ever have.

2019 Youth Leadership Summit

For those who attended the 2019 YLS, please fill out the EVALUATION FORM

ELCA Youth Leadership Summit

October 31-November 3, 2019
Lutheridge Conference Center, in Arden, North Carolina

The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and an adult representative from each synod. The 2019 Summit will Equip the youth leaders through Peer Ministry Leadership. They will learn to welcome and include others in all situations promoting diversity and acceptance.  They will learn to share God’s love and grace through their daily connections, becoming aware of the hurts and needs of those around them and living out the Good Samaritan story. Through the peer ministry training the participants will learn how to be careful listeners, to guide healthy and purposeful conversations, to clarify concerns and values, to ask open-ended questions and make observations, and know when a task is to large and how to ask for help.

Youth will be challenged to take home what they have learned and to inspire action and teach others what they learned in their own synods and youth groups.

The Youth Leadership Summit is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and partners with the Domestic Mission Unit, the Faith Formation Team, the SYMBOL Network, the ELCA Youth Gathering, 65 Synods across the United States, ELCA Disability Ministries, and ELCA Ethnic Specific Ministries.

Who attends?  Two youth in grades 9-12 and one adult per synod are invited to attend. Synods are asked to pay attention to gender, ethnic and ability diversity when selecting youth leaders to participate.

Theme Verse: Ephesians 4:11-13

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.


We start with dinner on Thursday, October 31st at 6:00 pm Eastern and conclude on Sunday by 11:00 am Eastern.  A detailed schedule will be provided closer to the event.

When booking flights into Charlotte Airport (CLT), be sure to plan arrival no later that 3:30 pm on Thursday October 31st and depart no earlier than 2:00 pm on Sunday November 3rd.


Pastor John Tirro, University of Tennessee Tyson House

Special Guests:
  • Lyle Griner, Peer Ministry Leadership
  • Bishop Tim Smith, NC Synod
  • Savanna Sullivan, ELCA Young Adult Ministries
  • Molly Beck Dean, ELCA Youth Gathering
  • Jessica Stewart, Lenior Rhyne University
  • Chris Harris, Newberry College
  • Brenda Poggendorg, Roanoke College

All lodging, meals, programming, and a bus to and from the Charlotte Airport are provided by a gracious grant from the ELCA. Your synod’s responsibility is to provide the flights for the two youth and one adult attending from your synod and any incidentals they might incur during their travels.

2018 Youth Leadership Summit

ELCA Youth
Leadership Summit
Nov. 1-4, 2018 at
Camp Carol Joy Holling
in Ashland, Nebraska

The ELCA Youth Leadership Summit is an annual gathering for high school youth identified as leaders and adult representatives from each synod from across The ELCA. This summit focuses on leadership development through engaging speakers and thought leaders in key areas at the intersection of leadership and faith in daily life AND faith formation and building connections for high school youth in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Youth will be challenged to take home what they have learned to inspire action in their own synods and youth groups. The Youth Leadership Summit is a shared ministry between ELCA Youth Ministry and The SYMBOL Network.

Location: Camp Carol Joy Holling in Ashland, Nebraska
Who Attends?

Two youth in grades 9-12 and one adult per synod are invited to attend. Synods are asked to pay attention to gender, ethnic and ability diversity when selecting participants.

Photo Gallery from the 2018 Youth Leadership Summit
Theme: Through Christ We Can

The theme for the 2018 Summit is “Through Christ We Can” and will use Philippians 2:1-5 as it’s scriptural base. The event will focus on young people’s call to ministry for the sake of others and advocacy because of their faith. For our learning and networking times we will be joined by various ELCA ministries and staff including Advocacy, Young Adult Ministries, Justice for Women and Global Mission.

Event Chaplain:

Pastor Kevin Strickland

Guest Speakers:

Advocacy — Alaide Vilchis Ibarra
Welcoming of All — Aubrey Thonvold
Women’s Justice — Diane Brauer
Amparro — Alaide Vilchis Ibarra and Advocacy Intern
World Hunger — Jeanny Sharrick and Sophia Behrens
Young Adult — Savanna Sullivan
Environmental Advocacy — Dr. Laura M. Hartman
Racial Justice — Nicolette Faison

Musical Leadership:

Korey Breutzmann and Band

Sunday Offering:

Our Sunday offering will go to the Nebraska Synod’s “Micah 6:8” project. It combines efforts of people interested justice, world hunger and advocacy, and one of their efforts includes AMMPARO training. They also helped support our synod’s Racial Awareness, Reconciliation, and Engagement (R.A.R.E.) team members to attend the recent anti-racism training in Chicago.


We start with dinner on Thursday, November 1st at 6:00 pm Central and conclude on Sunday at 10:30am Central.


Event Registration is covered by the ELCA via a special grant for youth leadership development

Synods are responsible for transportation to and from the Omaha Eppley Field Airport. (OMA). Transportation between OMA and the camp will be provided.


Contact us via e-mail.