Reaching Those in the First Third of Life

The Minneapolis Area Synod provides support, networking, and educational opportunities for staff and volunteers who work with Children, Youth, and Family (CYF).  A vibrant CYF ministry is critical to a flourishing congregation. At the same time, the work of the CYF leader can be challenging. The synod works to provide companions and support for this important work.

IMG_0483Supporting Our Youth and Families

Jason, 16, lives in two homes. One week he lives with his mom and younger sister; the other week with his dad and step mom and their baby.  Jason’s life is filled with constant change. Everything from figuring out which house his sports equipment is at, trying to manage being the youngest grade in high school, and trying to find a part-time job so he can afford drivers education.

All this is overwhelming for Jason.

In First Third ministries we support our lay and volunteer staff in churches so they can provide a space where Jason feels at home, is reminded often that he is a beloved child of God,  can laugh and learn, be with friends, and experience a lively community of faith.  This is why First Third ministry leaders are critical to congregational life.

Safe Gatherings

The Minneapolis Area Synod is committed to ensuring that we provide safe places of worship and fellowship to everyone we serve.  As part of that commitment we are providing information on Safe Gatherings as a resource for you in this important area.

Safe Gatherings is an online abuse prevention program that screens and educates staff and volunteers to help prevent abuse of children, youth, and vulnerable adults in group settings. When employees and volunteers are trained to identify potential abusers, recognize the signs of abuse, and know how to handle reporting, they are better equipped to prevent abuse.

Upon successful completion of the Safe Gatherings application, background and reference checks, and online training program, each applicant will receive documentation of approval valid for three years, and will have continued access to the online training program for one year.

The price per applicant for the individual church program available through the Safe Gatherings website is $45. This includes processing of two electronic references, a national and multi-county of residence 7-year background check, national and state of residence Sex Offender Registry check, and the 1.5-hour online abuse prevention and boundary awareness training.

More details >

Minneapolis and Saint Paul Area Synods’ CYF Team

Children, Youth, and Family (CYF) Ministry in this synod is led by the Minneapolis Area Synod and Saint Paul Area Synod Children, Youth, & Family Team. The mission of the CYF Team is to support, encourage, enhance, and develop children, youth, and family ministries as they effectively share the good news of Jesus Christ.

The CYF Team exists as a resource for congregations, as well as CYFM workers and volunteers. Whether you are just beginning an intentional CYF ministry, or if your congregation already has a robust program, the CYF Team is here to connect with and support you. This is done throughout the year with a number of events, learning opportunities, and meet-and-greets, as well as being a resource for all things CYF.


Have a question that the resources below can’t answer? One of the CYF Team representatives from this synod can help:

The CYF Team hosts or sponsors five regular events throughout the year. Specific details about these events appear on the calendar page of our website as the event draws nearer.

  • Welcome Event: The Welcome Event is designed to introduce recent arrivals to the Twin Cities’ synods who work or volunteer with children, youth, and family ministries. This event connects you with other people who are passionate about CYF ministries.
    Join us on November 8, 2018, 9:00 – 11:30 am at Roseville Lutheran: tiny.cc/cyfwelcome
  • Recharge: Recharge is a day-long continuing education event for CYF workers and volunteers aimed at reigniting a thoughtful passion for CYF ministries. Recharge typically happens at the beginning of the year. More details can be found at www.ministryrecharge.com.
  • Synod Lunch at the Youth Ministry Extravaganza: Join other youth leaders from the Twin Cities for lunch and conversation during the annual Youth Ministry Extravaganza.
  • Do Justice Retreat: The Do Justice Retreat is a weekend event for youth and youth workers interested in engaging in thought and action on pressing social issues.
  • Ascension Day Breakfast: Celebrate the year of ministry with worship and conversation with other passionate CYF workers and volunteers.

Held every three years, the ELCA Youth Gathering attracts 30,000 high school youth from across the nation. Gathering for a week of faith formation through interactive learning, diverse worshiping experiences, Bible study, service learning, and fellowship, the young people who gather are witness to a powerfully transformative experience and are challenged to think in new ways about living their faith in their daily lives. The 2021 Youth Gathering will be in Minneapolis!

With questions, contact:

Synod Coordinator, Elizabeth Pedersen from Lord of Life in Maple Grove or Synod Day Director, Dain Swanson, from Word of Peace in Rogers.
or visit https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering

Are you new to youth ministry in the Saint Paul Area or Minneapolis Area Synod? Whether you’re full-time, part-time, or a volunteer, the CYF Team wants to connect with you! Fill out this form so that the CYF Team can invite you to events and include you in their network of resources.

Featured Resources