MINNEAPOLIS — If you see lots of young people wearing purple backpacks in downtown Minneapolis this weekend, here's why: they're in town for the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod Gathering, which lasts for the next five days.
The event draws high schoolers from nearly every U.S. state and 10 countries. This year, there are about 23,000 attendees.
"It's an opportunity for us to learn more about our faith," said Derick Broten, the Program Director of LCMS Youth Gathering.
Students will participate in discussions, Bible studies, concerts and other live events. Most of the action is happening at U.S. Bank Stadium and the Minneapolis Convention Center, but throughout the weekend, students will be across the metro working with about 80 organizations on service projects.
Some of the projects include painting homes, working with people living with special needs, and packing meals for Feed My Starving Children.
"What we really hope they take away is a love for their church, a love for Jesus, a love for each other and to take all the things that they've learned to take it back into their community and to really serve, love and care back home where they're from," said Broten.
This is the first year the event has come this far north. Broten says organizers fell in love with Minneapolis while deciding where to hold this year's event.
"One of the things that we're really excited about is most of our kids haven't had the chance to experience Minneapolis or Minnesota, so this will give them a chance to see something that they don't know and we know that they're going to fall in love with the Midwest," said Broten.