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Youth & Family

Youth Ministry is a program of the South Dakota Synod that has an emphasis on helping and equipping congregations to teach families that faith forms at home. We have an emphasis on helping congregations train youth leaders by offering educational opportunities, networking with other youth leaders, and being a resource to the youth leaders themselves.

If you have questions, please contact
Suzanne Hansen, AIM
Youth Ministry Coordinator
605-274-4105

For more information on Youth Ministry in the ELCA, please visit the ELCA Youth Ministry website.

Youth Leaders:  Join the Y-Net E-mail List.


Technology Milestone for Youth

A group of South Dakota youth directors and ministry leaders gathered at Joy Ranch in Watertown to discuss the importance of technology in today’s connected culture and the ways social media, mobile phones, and other devices can be used for ministry.

We find technology in nearly every aspect of our daily lives—especially in the lives of our teenagers. All of us are continually plugged into the internet and social networks—technologies which have completely saturated our daily lives and work. And yet, as pervasive as these technologies and digital media are, we don’t really talk about them in church. In this digitally-integrated time, churches need to take seriously and engage in conversation at the intersection of faith and technology for all ages, but especially youth. As our youth live more of their lives online, they will also live out their faith there too. If we don’t engage it, we will miss out on a huge part of their lives . . . and leave them without spiritual guidance.

As part of their work, ministry leaders at the retreat created a way for parents to faithfully discuss with their children the joy, danger, and blessing that technology can be in their lives. They created a ministry milestone including resources for worship, ideas for a cross-generational event, and a Four Key resource for home (Rituals and Traditions, Service, Devotion, Caring Conversations). These resources are available for use in your ministry setting however you see fit.

We hope you will join us in this important conversation!

Technology Milestone for Youth (pdf)
Technology Milestone for Youth (docx)


Vibrant Faith Ministries

Vibrant Faith Ministries equips congregations, households, and individuals to live a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ and share the Christian faith among all generations.

For Vibrant Faith resources, information about coaching, training events, and other goodies, please visit the Vibrant Faith Ministries website.


Faith Formation Learning Exchange

The Faith Formation Learning Exchange provides the necessary tools to assist congregations and their leaders to respond creatively and adaptively with relevant approaches to faith formation. Their website gives you access to the best thinking and the most innovative practices in faith formation today.  The website will be updated monthly, so you’ll always have access to the most current information.


Peer Ministry

Peer Ministry is a ministry that equips youth and young adults with listening skills to minister to their peers.  It is a very powerful and effective ministry already happening in many South Dakota Synod congregations.  For more information about the ministry and future training events, please visit the Peer Ministry website, or call Suzanne Hansen in the Synod Office at 605-274-4105.


“Safeguarding God’s Children” Curriculum

To help protect children and adults from sexual misconduct in congregations and other church organizations, the Church Insurance Agency Corporation has created training programs and model policies for its ‘Safeguarding’ programs.  A number of churches in South Dakota have used this curriculum with positive results.

For more information, visit the Church Pension Group website, or call Suzanne Hansen in the synod office at 605-274-4105.

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