Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents:

General Information

What should we bring?
Please bring clothing to dress modestly. Also, some people like to dress up for the Divine Service, light jacket or sweater, comfortable shoes for walking, catechism, Bible, notebook, pen, camera, backpack/bag, snacks, umbrella, personal toiletry items, spending money, sunscreen, refillable water bottle, shower shoes, medical release forms and insurance information.
How many meals will we need to pay for on our own?
All meals during the conference are included in your registration fee. If you come a day early or stay a date late, meals on those days will be your own responsibility as most groups spend that time sight-seeing and are not on site at meal times. Also, if your group goes site-seeing during a free-time block and chooses not to eat a meal on campus, that meal would be your responsibility.
When can we see the conference schedule?
The tentative schedules are available here. Please keep in mind that the schedules will not be finalized until just before the conference. And even then, minor changes have been known to happen on the fly during the conference itself! But as soon as we have the basics figured out, we'll post them. Just remember they're TENTATIVE.
How much walking is involved at a conference?
A lot. We try to keep all conference activities as close together on the sites as possible, but because of the nature of college campuses, you will get your exercise, so bring comfortable shoes for walking and a reusable container for water! If you are unable to walk long distances or expect that you will need special assistance getting around at the conference, please note this on your individual registration form. We will do our best to accommodate everyone, but need to be able to plan in advance.
I'd like to teach a sectional or preach at a conference. How are speakers and preachers chosen for the conferences?
Sure! But first you must be registered to attend the conference. In order to keep registration fees as low as possible for youth, Higher Things only pays for the registration and travel for the plenary speakers. In order to keep costs at a minimum for the kids so they can come to a conference every summer, speakers and preachers are chosen from LCMS pastors and lay members of LCMS congregations in good standing who are already registered for that conference.

In other words, you must already be registered to be invited to serve in this additional capacity. All speakers and preachers must also be able to speak to youth, and speakers need to teach on topics that are of interest to kids and faithfully living out their vocations. Once you are registered, you are free to contact the Chaplain and/or Catechist for that location and volunteer your services. However, we do have limited sectional offerings and this does not guarantee that you will be invited to teach or preach.
What is the capacity for each conference in 2008?
The University of Scranton can accommodate at least 1,200 registrants, St. Louis University can hold up to 1,100 people, and Concordia University - Irvine will have approximately 500 people in attendance.
What's this about preferential registration for Amen - Irvine?
One of the reasons that Higher Things is having a conference in California is to accommodate those Lutheran youth who have had a very difficult time traveling to attend conferences in the mid-west or the east coast. So, the first 300 spots at Concordia-Irvine will be reserved for groups located from the Rocky Mountains westward, and the remaining spots will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. We recommend that those of you who would not qualify for the preferential registration register for your second choice conference and go on a waiting list for Irvine. If a spot for your group becomes available you can request that your registration be transferred up until April 1. That way you won't miss out on the opportunity to attend a 2008 Amen conference entirely.

Free Time/Entertainment

How much free time will there be and when is it scheduled?
See the above question about the schedule. We are planning for some scheduled entertainment and/or free time each day of the conference. However, if your group wants to do some sight-seeing around the conference areas, you will likely need to plan for an extra day in town. For your convenience, your groups can reserve an extra day for your housing assignments at the time of registration.
What will we be doing for entertainment at the conferences?
We're working on some really fun stuff that we'll be able to tell you about very soon! In the meantime, Google the locations to see if you can guess what some of the options might be!

Catechesis

Who will be the main speakers?
The Rev. George Borghardt III of Conroe, TX and The Rev. Mark Buetow of Du Quoin, IL are the plenary speaks at all Amen 2008 conferences.
When can we get a list of the sectional topics and speakers?
Not until about May-June.
Do we need to sign up in advance for sectionals?
No, seating is first come, first served. While we try to make sure everyone can have chairs, it's impossible to predict how many people will attend any one sectional. Some rooms have ample seating, others have people sharing chairs and sitting on the floor!
Are we expected to attend a certain number of sectionals?
Yes. You may attend at least one sectional during each sectional period! Sectional topics and speakers are chosen with a teenage audience in mind, and a wide variety of topics are covered. You should be able to find a sectional that interests you in each session. A large number of conference participants even find creative ways to attend as many sectionals as possible in a day.

Parking/Transportation

How do I get from the airport to the conference site?
Groups are responsible for their own transportation to the conference sites. If traveling by airplane, groups will need to make arrangements for ground transportation from the airport to the site and for any your group's private use during the week if you want to go sight-seeing.
How do I get to area attractions from the conference site?
Transportation for conference activities will be provided by Higher Things and is included in your Registration fee. Groups will be responsible for arranging your own transportation for any other sight-seeing your group has planned.
How is parking being handled at the conferences?
Parking is limited at all sites. Detailed information regarding parking will be made available soon.

Housing

What kind of housing is included in our registration fee?
Since the 2008 Amen conferences are at college campuses, all registrants will be staying in residence halls. This type of housing allows us to keep costs down so that groups can more easily afford to attend conferences annually.
Can we opt out of the housing portion of our registration fee and find our own housing?
No. The registration fee is a package deal of which housing is a portion. Besides, staying in dorms allows youth to get a taste of what college life will be like. It also provides enormous opportunities for fellowship with other youth attending the conference.
What is provided in the rooms?
Lodging at the Amen 2008 conferences is dormitory style. The arrangements, layouts, room capacities, and amenities for residence halls vary even within each conference. Basic linens (sheets, blanket, pillow, towel and washcloth) are provided. Linens are not changed daily, however coin-operated laundry services are available on each campus. Rooms are generally NOT equipped with items such as soap, shampoo, cups, hairdryers, refrigerators, phones, televisions, microwaves, or alarm clocks.
How many people are assigned per room?
A wide variety of room styles have been made available to us by each conference site. Unless there are unusual circumstances, most rooms will house 2-4 people. Download the Higher Things housing policies for conferences.
Will guys and girls from the same group be housed near each other?
Wherever possible, we will do our best to assign group members' rooms near one another.
Are guys and girls assigned rooms on the same floor?
Wherever possible, males and females will be separated by floor, wing, or building. Download the Higher Things housing policies for conferences.
Are the bathrooms private or communal?
Again, housing is in a variety of arrangements. Some rooms may have private or semi-private restrooms, but others may have communal restrooms with private shower and toilet stalls. Your group will be notified in advance of the type of restrooms available to them. If assigned a dorm with communal restrooms, individuals may wish to pack shower shoes.
Can husbands and wives be housed together?
Not likely. This type of room is very limited and makes keeping males and females separated by floor or wing very difficult. If you must be assigned a room with your spouse, please be aware that it may be in an area separate from the youth housing in order to maintain appropriate division of the sexes.

Music

Can I sing in the choir?
YES! The conference choirs are one of the best ways for youth (and adults) from all over the country to get to know each other. Everyone is welcome to sing in the choir regardless of experience! Information about rehearsal times will be included in the tentative conference schedule and the location will be provided at check-in when you arrive on site at each conference.
I play an instrument - will there be a chance to play at the conference?
Because it is so difficult to accommodate and plan music selections for the wide variety of instruments people volunteer to play at the conference, instrumentalists will be selected by the Worship and Music staff from those registered for each site. If you'd like to volunteer your services, contact the Conference Assistant and you will be given the contact information for the appropriate instrumental director.

Christ on Campus

How many Christ on Campus Volunteers (CCVs) will be accepted for each conference?
About 15 CCVs will be accepted for each of the Scranton and St. Louis conferences, and 12 CCVs for the Irvine conference.
How old do I have to be to be a CCV?
You have to have completed at least one year of college and still be considered a student at the time of the conference.
How do I apply to volunteer as a CCV?
Apply online here.
Should I still register with my church's group?
If your church is sending a group, then yes you should register with your group as well. We encourage you to register initially with your group so that you are certain to get into the conference. However, if necessary, a college student may register individually. If you are selected as a CCV, your registration will be processed separately from your group and you will be assigned to stay in a separate area. Those accepted as CCVs who are not registered for a conference may still register at that time. If you are registering with a group, please plan to arrive by noon on Monday of the conference week.
How much is my registration if I am selected as a CCV?
CCV registration is significantly discounted and will be no more than $175 per person, per conference. We are working on identifying donors who will provide scholarships for CCV registrations, so you may actually end up paying less than that! We will distribute whatever donations we receive for this purpose equally across all accepted CCV registrations and let you know the final balance due by June 1, 2008.
Will I have special privileges as a volunteer?
CCVs will have staff (i.e., "backstage") access to all areas of the conference and a special conference t-shirt identifying them as staff.
When will I know if I have been selected?
Applications will be accepted during the regular registration period, from November 1, 2007 through February 29, 2008. We should have all CCVs selected and notified by April 1.
Do I have to arrive early or leave late for the conference?
Yes, plan to arrive by noon on Monday of the conference week for orientation/set-up, and to leave late on the last day to help pack up after the conference. This is not an absolute requirement we realize that some of you will be traveling with a group.
What would I be doing as a volunteer?
Here's a list of some things CCVs may do at the conferences. This list is NOT exhaustive.

Registration: Directing groups to the registration area, helping prepare and distribute materials, direct people to dorms and parking areas, break-down of the information table after the end of the conference, etc.

Speaker Care: Some of you may be assigned to a sectional speaker to hand out materials and evaluations in the sectionals, make sure speakers have any needed food and/or beverages, run AV, etc.
Worship: Help set-up and break-down the chapel, provide crowd control, assist with altar guild type duties.

Merchandise: Help set-up and break-down.

Photography: 1-2 CCVs per conference will be asked to take digital pictures of events (you will need to provide your own equipment)

General: Help chaperone, give directions, answer questions, run errands, put up signs, etc.

Worship

How many worship services can we attend each day?
At least 3, usually 4. It sounds daunting, but each year most youth report that worship is the best part of the conference week. The 2008 Higher Things conferences will begin and end with the Divine Service. Each day, youth and adults can start their day with the service of Matins, followed by a brief spoken service of Responsive Prayer or Suffrages in mid-afternoon, and end each day together with Evening Prayer. Time for Individual Confession and Absolution is offered following Evening Prayer each night, and small groups are encouraged to gather just before lights-out to pray the service of Compline.
I've never heard of most of those services you just listed! Are they even Lutheran?
Yes! And they're all taken from the Lutheran Service Book which many of you use in your home congregations. It is a long-standing tradition in the Christian church to conduct short prayer services throughout the day. At Higher Things conferences, we want to teach youth about the richness of our confession and expose them to some of the ways Lutherans have historically practiced their faith. Pre-conference materials will be provided to help youth leaders teach their groups about these services and the traditions that are often practiced in them (chanting, kneeling, crossing oneself, incense, etc.) so that they are prepared to encounter them at the conference.
Is there a conference hymn again this year?
The conference hymn for the 2008 Amen conferences is "Our Paschal Lamb that Sets Us Free" (LSB #473). Please make use of this hymn in your congregations in the weeks and months leading up to the conference. It's a catchy Easter hymn that we are sure everyone will enjoy singing together.
Is the conference theme, "Amen" based upon any particular Scripture passage?
"Amen" is a common word in the Bible, but we got the idea for making it a conference theme from 2 Corinthians 1:20. It is also explained in Luther's Small Catechism, in the explanation of the 7th petition of the Lord's Prayer.

Support

I'd like to volunteer to help out at the conference, what can I do?
We are never complaining that we have too many volunteers! If you live near the conference site, we can always use help transporting staff and CCVs to the conference site. We may need people to just run errands on or off site or you can just help prepare check-in materials too.
Is there a way I can provide some financial support for the conferences?
Conferences have a number of important costs that can be underwritten by one or multiple donors. Some of the needs we have are:
- Scholarships for CCV registrations so that starving college students don't have to pay any registration fees. These young adults work HARD at the conferences and provide invaluable help for us all. $15,000 total, $325/person.
- Conference t-shirts for all registrants. We anticipate this expense to cost about $17,500 total for 3,000 shirts. These shirts are a great way for kids to take home a souvenir of their week, and provide great opportunities for them to confess their faith and what they learned when they wear them at home! $17,500 total; your business logo printed on the t-shirts for a single donation of $5,000.
- Magazine subscriptions. This year, Higher Things is providing each registrant with a free 1-year subscription to Higher Things: Dare to be Lutheran magazine. $36,000 total.

Registration

When does registration open?
Registration will open November 1, 2007. You can register right here on the Higher Things Website and get your group signed up online. Access to online registrations will be available via our registration page.
What do I need to register online?
All you need is a Higher Things Account. If you don't have one, you can sign for a free one here
I thought I had an account, but I don't remember what is was, what do I do?
If you think you had a Higher Things Account but you can't remember what the username is, you can retrieve it using the form here.
I'm having problems registering online, help!
If you need help registering online please contact the Higher Things Conference Registrar by e-mailing them at registrar@higherthings.org. A member of our registrar staff will reply to you as soon as possible with assistance.