Middle School Gathering

LCMS ND District 23rd Annual Middle School Gathering for grades 6 and up!

October 17 (7 pm) – October 19 (noon) at the Ramada Inn, Bismarck!

More information coming soon!

Sponsored by Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod North Dakota District Life Together Standing Committee


LCMS ND District 22nd Annual Youth Gathering

For grades 6 and up!

Ramada Inn, 1400 East Interchange Ave, Bismarck, ND

October 19 (7pm) – October 21 (noon)
Sponsored by Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod North Dakota District Life Together Standing Committee

Check the Downloads page for all the forms needed for the Gathering.

Plan for loads of fun!
Including, but not limited to:

  • Bible Study by Rev. Travis Hartjen
  • Mercy Meals Packing
  • Interest Sessions
  • Small Group Devotions
  • Games your Mom won’t let you play in the living room
  • Worship Service at Bethel
  • Guest Musicians: 100 White Flags
  • Master Chalk Artist: Bob Upgren, Bismarck

Don’t delay! Register today! Forms are located on the Downloads page!

Gathering Schedule

(See “Mini schedule” available for download.)
Thursday, October 19
Please enter the SW corner of the Ramada Inn, Door 5, for registration.
4:00 PM    Teen counselor registration & room check-in
5:00  REQUIRED teen counselor orientation (Supper provided for teen counselors only)
5:00       General registration & supper on your own
7:00 – midnight  Gathering
Friday, October 20
8:00 AM  – midnight  Gathering
Family members are invited to attend any part(s) of the Gathering, especially Friday evening.
7:30 – 9:30 PM       Chalk art by Bob Upgren
Concert by 100 White Flags
Saturday, October 21
8:00 – 9:30 AM    Gathering
9:30      Depart hotel.  Move to Bethel Lutheran Church, 615 E Turnpike Ave, Bismarck.
10:00 – noon    Bible study & closing worship
Family members are welcome to attend the Bible study and closing worship service..

Parents!   Please pick up your child(ren) at Bethel Lutheran Church at the conclusion of the Gathering.
Noon   Lunch on your own

Location:  The Ramada Inn (formerly the Doublewood Inn) is a full service hotel located near I-94 exit 159, SE corner of Highway 83 and I-94, Bismarck.  Please make all housing arrangements with the Gathering Coordinator to receive the best room rates.

Hotel phone number: (701) 258-7000   Cell phone use, including texting, is discouraged during the Gathering.  If an emergency phone message is received, hotel staff will contact the Gathering Chaplain.

What to bring:

    • Bible
    • Completed medical form and covenant (available for download at https://www.ndyouthonfire.org/downloads/)
    • Remaining payment due, if any.
    • Casual clothes, personal items, swim suit & towel (limited swim time)
    • Sleeping bag, if it would be more comfortable for you when sharing a sleeping room with three others.
    • Spending money – 100 White Flags CDs, t-shirts and possibly other items for sale.
    • Musical offering – Gathering participants who wish to provide special music at the closing worship service are invited to participate in the strings/brass/voice choir. Contact Matthew Jahnke at jahnkemr@live.com if you wish to participate so he can send music to you ahead of time.  Practice will be at 7 AM Friday and Saturday mornings.  Bring your instrument and a music stand.

  • Offering for closing worship service – designated for Mercy Meals of North Dakota. Our goal for this Gathering is to pack TEN THOUSAND meals!  Through packing and distribution of precisely formulated ingredients, Mercy Meals provides a nourishing meal for just 15 cents.  Thank you to Andrea Eckstein, Concordia, Jamestown, for making the Mercy Meals packing event possible at this Gathering.  If you wish to sponsor a meal packing event in your community, contract Andrea at (701) 658-9057.
  • Variety show act – The Bible reminds us that “Whether you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This applies to our Christian gathering variety show as well.  Songs or skits that convey a Christian message are highly encouraged.  While not all acts need to be of a spiritual nature, there should obviously be nothing in them which would in even the slightest way compromise our Christian witness.  This includes the words and messages in any songs or comedy acts.  We want 100% of our Christian youth gathering to be a positive witness to God, including our variety show!  Sign up for the variety show at registration!
  • Teen Counselors! DYC Nomination form and letter of recommendation from your pastor, DCE or youth counselor – Friday morning, there will be an election for the 2017-2018 ND District Lutheran Youth Fellowship officers (DYC) and selection of the annual mission project.   The DYC Nomination form available at ww.ndyouthonfire.org/downloads has more information about these opportunities to serve.  You can nominate yourself and also encourage others to submit their nomination.  You do not have to be present at the Gathering to be nominated.  Remember that the nomination form also requires a letter of recommendation from your pastor or youth leader.
  • A great attitude!

What to leave home:  All valuables.

Cost:  The $175 registration fee includes:

  • Your hotel room for Thursday and Friday nights, four people/room.
  • Meals on Friday, Saturday breakfast and three snacks
  • Program costs (including covering partial cost of Mercy Meals supplies)

If youth attend the Gathering with an adult counselor and the congregation group makes other housing arrangements (i.e. sleep at a relative’s house or at home), a reduced fee is available as shown on the registration form.

Part-time attendees are also welcome! If you can attend only parts of the Gathering, please specify which parts:  1) Thursday evening; 2) Friday morning; 3) Friday afternoon; 4) Friday evening, and/or; 5) Saturday morning.  The cost for each segment is $35 and does not include breakfasts or sleeping room.

Adult Counselors:  Counselors will be expected to help with small group Bible studies and discussion, prayer time and congregation sharing times.  Each youth and teen counselor will be assigned to an adult counselor, with one adult counselor for approximately every seven students.  If a congregation registers with less than seven youth, one or more youth from another church may be assigned to your congregation group.  We ask for your cooperation in taking students from other congregations into your congregation group.  Please help them feel comfortable by finding ways for them to get acquainted with the rest of your group.

It is the responsibility of congregations to provide adult (over age 21) drivers for transportation to and from the Gathering.

Teen Counselors:   Confirmed young people may serve as teen counselors if recommended by their pastor or adult counselor.  The Counselor Handbook (See the “Download” tab at www.ndyouthinfire.org) gives further information about serving as a counselor.  Teen counselors are an important component of this Gathering because they can have a strong, positive influence on middle school age youth.

Registration due date:  Sunday, October 8  (extended through Sunday, October 15)

Later registrations will be accepted if space is available.

For Gathering information contact:
Pat Sebastian, Gathering Coordinator
Cell:  (701) 471-3289

Guest Bible study leader – Pastor Travis Hartjen


Travis grew up in northern Illinois and attended Concordia University, Seward, NE. where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology with a minor in Youth Ministry.  He now lives in Allen, Texas where he is a Pastor and Church Planter.  Before serving as pastor at Tangible Grace Lutheran Fellowship, Allen, Travis was a Director of Christian Education (DCE) who loved to share the story of God and his life with junior and senior high students.

Travis and his wife, Tara, have four kids who keep them on their toes and remind them to laugh a lot.  Travis’s ministry statement is, “First to be a child of God, and a husband and father to my family.  [Then, in response to] the calling of God to His love and grace, [to work] with students and help them see the plans that God has for them.”  Travis has a passion for student leadership, making people laugh and think, building teams, and helping people use their gifts.

His presentation style engages students while at the same time making sound Biblical teachings come to life for them.  North Dakota students introduced to Travis at national LCMS events insisted we bring Travis to North Dakota!  He was the Bible study leader at the 2008 ND District LYF Gathering, the 2010 and 2013 Middle School Gatherings and students wanted him to return again!

Guest Musicians:


You might remember 100 White Flags from their presence at the 2014 Youth Gathering in Fargo!

100 White Flags officially came together in June 2006 as members Beth and Jeromy Dorsing, Zac Harder, and Paul Tietjen joined forces to make some music.  Paul and Beth (Beth Gearhart, Girl With Guitar) have both enjoyed successful solo careers, performing nationally, in both concert and weekend youth event venues.

“We are sort of a pop-punk-alternative-folk-rock-regea-rap-country band,” says bassist Jeromy Dorsing.  Then Zac threw a drumstick at Jeromy for talking out of turn.  “Actually, we are more of a progressive rock band with a blues and folk influence,” interjects drummer Zac Harder.

The members of 100 White Flags all have similar backgrounds. All four members spent time touring the country as a part of a youth ministry team at various times in their lives. With a heart for ministry and a passion for music, 100 White Flags hopes to be able to share music and have fun with the people they meet along the way.

Master Chalk Artist/Interest session presenter

For more than twenty years, Bob Upgren, Bismarck, has been one of the most in-demand speakers for youth.  Bob is president and founder of Cross Training, Inc. which offers sports and leadership camps to youth.  Bob’s humor and amazing chalk drawings have left people talking for days.  As the lights go down and the music begins to play, sit back and watch Bob transform a 6’ x 8’ black canvas into something amazing!

As one of the top chalk artists in the world, Upgren credits this unique talent for giving him an edge in engaging youth audiences and reaching them with a message that matters.  Using a rare combination of art, humor, and challenging content, he is able to bring his fresh perspective on personal leadership, purpose, and creativity to center stage.