Youth Retreat 2017: Forming Christian Leaders Through Worship, Study, Fun

Pastor Fursan Zum’ot continues a theological discussion with students during lunch break.


Jericho – Tucked away at the Jericho Resort Village in a majority Muslim Palestinian community, Senior Lutheran Youth ages 18 – 25 years old gathered with youth pastors, Rev. Haddad, Rev. Tannous and Rev. Zum’ot and their wives, to unpack Sola Scriptura, Sola Gracia, Sola Fide in a Palestinian context.

The Senior Youth filled three days of their summer break with heartfelt worship, biblical studies, food, and swimming. The young adults felt safe enough with the three ELCJHL ministers to be themselves, to question Lutheran theology freely, and to worship unabashedly.

Familiar Western worship songs like “Lord I Lift Your Name on High,” to traditional Christian Arabic favorites streamed from the small conference room in the resort.  The youth and their youthful leaders swayed as they sang the words that reminded them of how they experienced God’s mercy and goodness, personally.

Then, when the music stopped, they delved into the Scripture, and challenged the words, challenged the theology, and challenged their leaders. They had questions and worked respectfully with one another to find the best possible answers to a faith that is evident.

During a reading of Genesis 17 and Colossians 2, one young woman named Sarah raised what she called a “feminist” question. She pondered why God made a covenant with Abraham through circumcision (males) but later includes women in the covenant through baptism in Paul’s writings.

“If both books are inspired by God, why didn’t God include women in Genesis? Did he change his mind?”

The Bible study was so rich and engaging that several students arrived at lunch late in order to have more discussions with the pastors about the sacrament of baptism and God’s new covenant with Jew and Gentile; Free and Slave; Man and Woman, in Jesus Christ.

The younger youth (12-17 years old) are gathering at the same location July 19-22. See posts @elcjhl for pictures.  



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