In Heart of America, LTC helps train church leaders from small congregations

Nationally, Lads to Leaders/Leaderettes and Leadership Training for Christ events draw more than 40,000 to 17 sites in 13 states.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Four families from the Northern Hills Church of Christ in western South Dakota drove more than 700 miles each way to attend the Heart of America Leadership Training for Christ (LTC) convention this past weekend.

Alaethia Thompson — one of 11 LTC participants from the 70-member church between Spearfish and Belle Fourche — developed her talents in events such as Bible quiz, Christian art and small group chorus.

“I love how LTC just brings everyone together, and all of the things that I participated in were just amazing and so much fun,” said Thompson, who sang on stage at Saturday’s closing celebration with her sisters Kaitlyn, 14, and Sophia, 12, and fellow Northern Hills church member Sammy Zoller, 12.

From puppeteers to song leaders, signers for the deaf to Christian fiction writers, 579 young people — not counting parents and sponsors — flocked to Kansas City’s Crown Center for the Heart of America event.

“I always love it when multiple congregations come together — just the fellowship and unity that are there,” said Nathan Thompson, a Northern Hills member and father of nine, including Alaethia, Kaitlyn and Sophia. “Seeing so many people from so many different churches is just great.”

Jenifer Zoller, mother of Sammy, said LTC has helped her daughter grow both in biblical knowledge and personal confidence.

“Before, she was shy and wouldn’t stand in front of people and participate very well,” Jenifer Zoller said. “To see her up on that stage tonight singing in front of hundreds of people makes me very proud of the young woman she is becoming.”

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This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.