2018 Great Lakes Gathering


December 27-30, 2018 • Lansing, MI

Learn more about:
2018 Theme
Young Adult Track
Small Groups
Service Projects

Penny Offering
Peer Ministry
Courageous Speakers

Recreation & Skillshops
In-Kind Items Needed
Packing Basics

Get Fired Up for the Great Lakes Gathering!

The Great Lakes Gathering is fast approaching and this year’s event returns to The Radisson in Lansing for its 36th year! By utilizing The Lansing Center (connected to the hotel) we’re working to provide great worship settings, small groups, service opportunities, speakers, music, and other experiences that will enrich the lives of high school age youth and young adults age 18-25 in the lower peninsula of Michigan and beyond. Please review the following information to help better prepare you and your group for an experience of Christ’s love and grace.

2018 Theme: Be | Matthew 5:1-16

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us that our worldly understanding of greatness is upside-down. During this year’s Great Lakes Gathering, we’ll explore daily themes that dig into Christ’s understanding of greatness. Daily themes will include: Be Less, Be Hungry, Be Persecuted, and Be You. We’ll explore together through worship, small groups, skill shops, and the community we form together how to take these inverted teachings of Jesus and apply them to our daily living as people of faith. How might we embrace a life that seeks humility, peace, and justice in the name of Christ in the face of a world focused on achievement, success, power, strength and wealth?

Cost – Registration Opens September 1st, 2018

This year the pricing structure is changing for The Great Lakes Gathering. Groups will pay a per person participant fee to Living Water Ministries when they register and then independently book their hotel rooms with The Radisson directly. Living Water Ministries will not be assigning housing and each group is responsible for securing housing by booking directly with The Radisson using their HOUSING FORM and by contacting them directly at (517) 482-0188. We will be happy to connect groups looking to collaborate with other groups to maximize their housing.

2018 price

Registration Tips

For adult leaders registering groups of youth, you’ll need to collect the following details for each participant before you begin entering information into our registration system.

  • First name
  • Last name
  • DOB
  • Gender
  • Grade
  • Address (Street, City, State, Zip)
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail
  • T-Shirt Size
  • Young Adults Welcome!

    Young adults age 18-25 are also welcome to register & attend the Great Lakes Gathering in 2018! Programming for the Young Adult Track will intersect with the event, but also have components specifically designed for the young adult audience. Young Adult participants register as individuals and do not require adult leader accompaniment. Young Adult participants will be accountable to the Young Adult Program Manager, house with other young adults in The Radisson, and be expected to participate in all Young Adult programming components.

    Small Groups & Peer Ministry

    Participant leadership is at the core of the Great Lakes Gathering experience. In 2018 there are a variety of ways youth can lead at the event, including being a Small Group Leader and Peer Minister.

    Small Group leaders are assigned to facilitate a small group of approximately 15 peers over six small group sessions throughout the event. Each session is a mix of icebreakers, games, thematic discussions, scripture, and story telling.

    Peer Ministers serve as our youth-led hospitality team and also provide a ministry of listening and presence to their peers who are looking for a place to share their story.

    In 2018 participants can choose to be trained and serve as only a Small Group Leader, or a Small Group Leader AND a Peer Minister. Participants will not be able to serve only as Peer Ministers in 2018. To sign up to be a Small Group Leader or a Small Group Leader and Peer Minister please fill out the Google form at: https://goo.gl/Tc3JaF

    Courageous Space Speakers

    At each worship during the event there will be two courageous space speakers (high school or young adult), and one at each Jumpstart (morning worship) who will have a maximum of 2.5 minutes to share a story about a moment their faith was impacted. Half of these speakers will be chosen from sign-ups received prior to the event and the other half will sign up at orientation. If you are interested in being a Courageous Space Speaker please contact Nicole McCarthy.

    Service Projects

    We believe that serving is a necessary component of sharing Christ’s love with the world and we are excited to offer it again this year! Projects will primarily revolve around hunger at this year’s event with participants participating in a community-wide food drive. Hygiene kit assembly, board painting for board-ups in Southeast Michigan, and more will also occur.

    Penny Offering

    Great Lakes Gathering registration scholarships are funded by the annual Penny Offering that takes place at the Great Lakes Gathering. Freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors, young adults, and adult leaders compete in an effort to provide this meaningful experience for others. Points are awarded for pennies, and subtracted for other change and bills. Bring pennies to help your team and bring other change & bills to subtract points from other teams!


    Worship is at the center of how we build community during the Great Lakes Gathering. Led by our co-conveners (high school age leaders), each worship experience is uniquely crafted to tie into our theme and with the goal that we grow in faith together. Branden Hunt is our speaker that will weave a common narrative connected to our curriculum through each worship as well.

    Recreation & Skillshops

    Skillshops (worskshops) will be centered on our theme of Be. Participants will be given opportunities to learn new skills and have new experiences that will help them grasp Christ’s inversion of our worldly understanding we hear in the Sermon on the Mount. Participants can also learn about organizations and initiatives that they can get involved with as an expression of their faith after the Great Lakes Gathering concludes.

    Each evening participants will have time for fellowship while enjoying recreational activities. Activities typically include a basketball tournament, gaga ball, table games, mini golf and more!

    In-Kind Items Needed

    Our goal is to assemble approximately 500 hygiene kits for foster care campers, and families suffering from homelessness. Please bring full size shampoo, soap, washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and combs.

    Packing Basics

    Bibles (a must), pen or pencil, forms, clothes, toiletries, swim suits, coolers (for food), food or money for eating out, games for congregational time, and a willingness to grow in faith and have fun!