2014 Michigan District High School Youth Gathering on Mackinac Island


The theme of the Michigan District High School Youth Gathering on Mackinac Island was “Lighthouse.” It is our personal reminder that Jesus is our light so we can be the light to others. Matthew 5:14 was our theme verse. “you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Each of the youth who attended Michigan District High School Youth Gathering on Mackinac Island wrote about the speakers message they felt impacted them the most . Following are information on the speaker and in quotes and italics the youth’s response to the speakers.

Reverend Bill Yonker is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in East Dundee, Illinois.

“Bill Yonker’s Stories were inspiring, compelling in such a way to make me strive to become a lighthouse –  to be bold and not be scared of criticism for my beliefs/religion.”

Bob Lenz is on the nation’s top youth speakers. He easily connects with his audience by sharing valuable principles intertwined with humor, stories, and personal experiences that help youth deal with real life while igniting their faith, instilling hope, and challenging them to make a difference in their world.

“ This man is hilarious and adding some stories of faith made him one of my favorite speakers. His story about grace and how we don’t deserve it really hit home.”

Brian Pruitt was a 1994 All American running back for central Michigan University and a sure pick for the NFL draft in 1995 when tragedy struck. Through the love and concern of a coach, Pruitt was challenged to begin making wise decisions and now speaks from wide range of personal experiences that challenge his listeners to overcome obstacles that lie within their own struggles.

“I really like Brian because the way he spoke was just great. He taught us how to identify ourselves and he was just all an inspiration.”

Tina Marie Griffin spent 10 years in Hollywood, besides acting in countless movies; Tina worked on TV shows such as Lizzie Maguire, Drake and Josh, and Malcolm in the Middle. For the past decade, Tina has built a reputation for being a leading media expert regarding the distortion of reality in entertainment industry. Tina’s mission is to encourage others to live with integrity and to use their God-given talents to create change in their culture.

“I enjoyed Brian Pruitt because he is a Christian role model. Not only for his own kids but everybody that was there. He talked about how he has tough times in his generation and life. He says the only way he got out of it was through Christ. I also liked. Tina Marie because she showed us negative movies, shows and videos games etc. That we shouldn’t listen to. The negative also has an effect on your brain.”

The Living Stones began playing together in 2006 as a youth group band at their home congregation, Our Shepherd Lutheran Church, in Birmingham, MI. They have been apart of Youth Gatherings in Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Tennessee. They are four ordinary guys with incredible passion for music and consider it a privilege to spend their time interacting with their fans and worshipping God. Swen and Dean are brothers originally from Northfield, Minnesota. They love to sing, interact, hang out and have fun. During the past 10 years they have traveled around the country performing for thousands of people, sharing their unique gifts at events ranging from large scale youth events to fun, family night concerts. Swen and Dean blend spiritual depth with spirited fun.

“Brian Pruitt was my favorite because his stories were very inspirational and he made it a blast. He made me want to be a better Christian and have a greater influence on others. I also like the Living Stones because they are great singers and their songs praise God through song. Swen and Dean were great too, they gave it a homey feel and made sure you were having fun and cared about you. They helped us to learn about God. I also liked Bob Lenz because he was very motivational.”

Our youth participated in a servant event where they pulled weeds for the historic St. Anne’s Catholic Church on Mackinac Island. We shared the love of Christ using our hands. We witnessed to the many walking past by wearing our Gathering shirts and servant event headbands. We heard many others speakers, worshipped with 1,000 other youth and leaders from all over Michigan; listened to a sermon by Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier, President of the Michigan District; enjoyed a (very cold) sunset cruise to see Mackinac Bridge; participated with other youth and leaders to form a record breaking number of people forming a lighthouse with glow sticks and flashlights; explored the Island on a carriage ride; laughed; sang and praised the Lord. We were reminded in many ways that we (Christians) are the light of the world and that we are to be lighthouses to others, shining the light of Christ in word, actions and the very life we live.


Servant Event