Teens gather for 2024 WELS International Youth Rally

From June 25-28, WELS teens had the opportunity to worship together, learn and study God’s Word together, grow in faith and fellowship with one another, as well as enjoy recreation and entertainment at the 2024 WELS International Youth Rally. Around 2,200 teens and 600 adults convened at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo. This was the second largest rally ever, second only to the 2005 rally in Orlando, Fla.

The rally started Tues., June 25, with an opening worship service in the evening. Wednesday and Thursday were packed with keynote speakers, small group workshops, and excursions. After closing worship on Friday morning, it was time for everyone to head home.

Rev. Donn Dobberstein, director of discipleship, the area of ministry that holds the event, said, “Keynotes and breakouts were practical and relatable. To sum up what I heard from others regarding the two keynotes—the speakers, their stories, and the Scriptures on which their presentations were based connected with our heads and hearts. Most importantly, they pointed to and connected young hearts and heads with Christ.”

Rev. Dr. Phil Huebner, campus pastor at Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Milwaukee, Wis., along with a panel of high school students, presented the first keynote, titled You Are Not Alone! The teens who joined him shared their own journeys filled with mountains and valleys and how God, Christian friends, and family supported them.

“I was really looking forward to speaking to WELS teens because I know how much they are hurting and suffering in very challenging times, and I viewed it as an absolute privilege to be able to encourage them with the message that they are not alone,” says Huebner. “I hope that the teens clearly understood that, most importantly, they are not alone in what they are going through because Jesus is with them every step of the way. Secondly, in Christ we have a family of brothers and sisters, and there are many teens who are going through the same things they are. We can look for opportunities to encourage one another as we find strength in Christ and fellow Christians.”

Rev. Alex Groth, Beautiful Savior, Cincinnati, Ohio, presented the second keynote, titled Certainty from the Mountaintop. Groth says, “When I accepted the invitation, it struck me how important it would be to put a spotlight on God’s grace to this giant gathering of young people. Our culture is pulling them in a million directions, and most of those directions are dangerous. Having a chance to talk about Jesus and the means of grace felt like both a great privilege and a serious responsibility.”

He continues, “I pray that those who heard my presentation first understood the importance of clinging to the means of grace and, second, grasped the reality that our time on earth can be so short. We aren’t guaranteed a certain amount of time on this earth. Therefore, let’s focus on both hearing God’s Word for our own eternal benefit and sharing it with those who haven’t heard it yet.”

Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, the attendees had a variety of small group workshops to choose from, with topics ranging from tips on how to study the Bible, apologetics, outreach through creating a community and relationships, and Christian vocation.

While in Fort Collins, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy optional recreational activities, including the popular whitewater rafting option, hiking, horseback riding, or the Fort Collins museum.

Mrs. Kris Snyder, event organizer, says, “The comment I hear over and over is how incredible it is to be with so many teens who face the same struggles but have the same hope in Jesus—that WELS teens from around North America get to be with so many other teens who all believe the same thing.” She adds, “Worship in that setting with 2,800 people is incredibly powerful. When do you get the chance to do that? When I heard the musicians, assembly, and choir all join to sing ‘Praise to the Lord, the Almighty’ at closing worship, it was overwhelming!”

View more photos from the event.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email