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students at the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute


For more than 15 years, Augsburg University has been gathering high school students from all over the country for a weeklong experience focused on theological reflection.

Every summer, we host an annual weeklong on-campus experience for high school students (completed with 9th-12th grades). The Institute offers young people an environment with the freedom to discover who God has called them to be through building meaningful relationships, engaging in community, and practicing vocational discernment. This experience offers young leaders an opportunity to learn to love themselves more fully through discovering the gifts God has given them, through engaging community and spiritual practices, and applying what they are learning in a meaningful way that lives into the hope they have for a more loving world. 

It is a collaborative effort sponsored by Augsburg University’s Christensen Center for Vocation and supported by Lilly Endowment, Inc.


Reconciling in Christ logo
Reconciling in Christ logo

As a university of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Augsburg is shaped by Christian values. Augsburg is a Lutheran university with students who come from many different faith traditions. An attitude of openness and acceptance is promoted throughout the university and at the summer Institute.

In 2009, Augsburg was named a Reconciling in Christ (RIC) institution by Reconciling Works: Lutherans for Full Participation, meaning the University is welcoming and affirming of all people in regard to their gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The Institute is committed to living and teaching these faithful values at the Institute in our instruction, small group relationship building, and worship. You can read more about Augsburg’s RIC and LGBTQIA+ services here.


  • Do you wonder what gifts God has given you?
  • Do you want a more loving and just world?
  • Do you have questions about God?
  • Do you have an open heart and open mind?
  • The summer Institute is for YOU!


  • A diverse community of participants from a variety of faith communities and geographic locations around the United States.
  • A place to build meaningful relationships with other high school students while spending time in small groups led by a college mentor.
  • A chance to experience spiritual practices such as communal worship, contemplative prayer, journaling, and small group discussions that become useful tools for us to use in our vocational discernment during the week and beyond.
  • An opportunity to explore community-based learning in the Twin Cities area by experiencing the richness of neighborhoods through meeting people and trying new foods, and hearing stories.
  • A brave space to engage in academic inquiry shaped by ongoing engagement with a theological text and theological questions facilitated by a college or seminary professor and designed to help us make connections between what we are experiencing and God’s vision for our world.


  • Small groups, led by college mentors, for building intentional community
  • A variety of daily spiritual practices: prayer, journaling, meditation, prayer walks, first word, devotions, etc.
  • Vocational discernment through discussion, guest speakers, personality inventories, and reflection
  • Academic inquiry through reading of books and articles to understand concepts more deeply
  • Theological exploration around the topic of vocation and calling
  • Big group games, hiking, city bus rides, neighborhood exploration, service projects, campfire, etc.
  • Community based learning in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood and around the Twin Cities



Augsburg University undergraduate students are eligible to apply for the student leadership position of Mentor. These student leaders are committed to supporting young people in this faith journey as they participate in the summer institute. Mentors receive extensive training in preparation for their work with high school participants.

  • Mentors are college student leaders
  • Mentors lead small groups of high school participants
  • Mentors provide relational support for participants throughout the week
  • Mentors help with academic inquiry, vocational discernment, theological exploration, community based learning, daily worship, and small group facilitation
  • Are you an Augsburg student? –  APPLY TO BE A MENTOR TODAY!


When do I apply? The Institute is a once a year, annual event in the summer. Applications open on February 1st.

Who can apply? High school students who have completed 9th-12th grade with a curiosity about vocational discernment.

How do I apply? Complete the online application and essay questions. Fill out the form: APPLY HERE!

How much does it cost? $350 per participant (in-person) or $130 per participant (virtual). PAY HERE!

What is included in the cost? For an in-person, on-campus event the cost includes registration fees, housing, meals, supplies, transportation during the event, and overall institute staffing support. The cost of travel to and from the event is the responsibility of the participant. For a virtual event, the cost includes registration fees and supplies and overall institute support.

What were past years like? Check out past institutes here.

Who can I contact with questions? Please contact with questions about the Institute.