Ron Whitehead


Welcome to the Youth Ministries Department. 

Youth ministry in the Lake Union goes back to 1879 when Luther Warren and Harry Fenner, ages 14 and 17, gathered together for prayer in Hazelton, Michigan, to establish the Adventist Missionary Youth Society. In 1901, the General Conference voted to establish a youth department, and in 1916 the Lake Union Conference established a youth department to better serve the needs of Lake Union youth and young adults. Since 1996, Ron Whitehead has directed Lake Union youth ministries for five union presidents.

The Lake Union historically and currently values youth and young adults. This union of conferences believes their youth are not only the church of tomorrow, but they are the church today. Here are a few ways our youth are involved in the mission of the Seventh-day-Adventist Church.


Each year, hundreds of young people from our union academies from elementary to university respond to God's call to help others take the Matthew 18:19 commission to heart. For more information, visit our website.

Summer Camp
Year after year this form of evangelism pays big in the following areas: baptisms, decisions for Jesus, young adult leadership training, employment, and pure fun. For more information on your local conference's summer youth camp please click here.


Pathfinders and Adventurers are the strongest local church youth programs within the Lake Union. These two ministries effect "our" youth. They learn Christian values, build a relationship with Jesus, discover the world around them, and train for leadership, as well as Bible evangelism, etc. Adventurers and Pathfinders are for those in grades one to 12. Barna Research Group well documents that if young people do not make a decision for Jesus at age 14 they are only four percent likely to make that decision later on.

In 2001, the Lake Union Pathfinder Camporee was held with more than 1,800 in attendance. In 2004, the Lake Union hosted the world camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with over 30,000 in attendance. The Lake Union hosted its quinquennial camporee in September 2006. Pathfinders convened again in Oshkosh in 2009, and are looking forward to another world camporee in Oshkosh in 2019.

Click here to view the International Camporee and Master Guide Training.

Public Doctrine Evangelism

To inspire, train, and equip young people. During the past few years, increasing numbers of youth and young adults are seeking more involvement in various forms of public evangelism. Some youth are holding Revelation seminars, others are starting Bible correspondence schools, while still others are preaching the gospel. A Lake Union youth evangelism effort was held in Ghana, Africa, with 49 Pathfinders. More than 500,000 pieces of literature were distributed and 702 people were baptized. With more youth evangelism training and funding taking place in the Lake Union, we expect more youth and young adult involvement.

A Chosen Generation
The youth and young adults around us are a chosen generation called to usher in our Lord’s return. To this end, the Lake Union Youth Ministries Department stands ready to support its youth.

Please contact me if I may assist you.