My first call right out of seminary was to be a Youth Pastor. I was in shock. I went to see Dr. Ronald Feuerhahn, my faculty advisor, and pleaded with him because I didn’t know anything about youth ministry. Not a thing! How could I be a youth pastor? He told me I needed to get involved with a group out of Laramie, Wyoming, called "Higher Things."
After I took our youth group to Duluth in 2002, I would have crawled across glass to volunteer for Higher Things. In the years since attending that first conference, I think I’ve probably done just about everything but that for HT! I started out writing the first Reflections in 2005, then was invited to serve as a theological editor for Higher Things Magazine, which led to being asked to coordinate Catechesis for the Feast conference. Following that, the Board of Directors asked me to take over Internet Services, serve as a Conference Coordinator, then the Conference Executive, and eventually my peers elected me as the Deputy Executive to represent them to the Board. Oh, and I also co-host HT-Radio and HTV.
So when my dear friend Pastor Cwirla asked me to consider becoming the President of Higher Things, I thought he was joking. I had to re-read the email three times. Higher Things has had some amazing presidents and vice presidents in its history. Who doesn’t respect pastors like Klemet Preus, Marcus Zill, Brent Kuhlman, and Bill Cwirla?
I’m not those guys. I’m not even in the same league.
But then I remembered that it’s not about me. It’s about Jesus for me. In the church, we say that the Office seeks the man, rather than the man seeking the Office. We simply do the job given to us by the Lord, for the time He gives us to do it.
So ride this crazy roller-coaster with me for the next year and we’ll see where the Lord takes us! In just a couple of months, He’s going to gather youth at our 2013 conferences to hear the Gospel, sing the liturgy and hymns of the Church, be catechized, and have fun. Retreats will bring our conferences to junior youth throughout the United States and Canada. Our magazine, website, Reflections, radio, and HT-Video will pepper the internet with Jesus Christ and Him crucified for young people. We’ve even started writing Vacation Bible School programs so little ones can Dare to be Lutheran too.
I’m deeply humbled to be the President of such a great organization. We've based everything in Higher Things on the premise that the best way to have young people remain Lutheran is to teach them good Lutheranism. We don’t teach them to be evangelicals and then expect them to still be Lutheran. No, we pass on the faith that was put into us and we challenge them to be even better Lutherans than we have been.
Now, let's dare some young people to be Lutheran...and have a blast while we do it!
Rev. George Borghardt