My two children have been involved in YoungLife for about 6 months and, I can truly say… it has changed their lives! Monday, they introduced YoungLife to Lara, our German Exchange Student, and now she loves it! You’ll see the smile on her face, and on the faces of my children and their friends, throughout pictures on this Blog!
YoungLife is an International Christian Ministry with a mission to introduce middle school, high school and college-aged kids around the world to Jesus and help them grow in their faith. http://www.younglife.org/us. Adult leaders reach out and build relationships with youth, provide life-changing experiences and share God and the Bible in a way that teens understand, learn and develop their faith. Sometimes there’s humor… sometimes there’s tears. Sometimes they meet in small groups… sometimes in large groups. Overall, more than 30,000 volunteers work with teens in more than 800 communities in the United States and in more than 70 countries.
Monday night is “Club”. YoungLife calls it a “party with a purpose”. And that’s what Lara attended for the
first time. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be too loud or too wild for her… but she was with Travis and Brittany, and some of their close friends, and willing to check it out. This particular event was for kids from several local High Schools, called “All Area Night”. I counted about 125 kids. Afterwards, they went out for ice cream.
YoungLife explains Club as: “a controlled chaos that’s almost impossible to describe, but kids know it when they see it.” Personally, I got goosebumps seeing the kids with their arms around each other, swaying back and forth and singing inspirational songs… many of them current songs with a special meaning. Sometimes the group gets a little loud… and wild… a great way for kids these days to just let loose! I guess I’ll REALLY see just how loud they can get starting September 26. We’ve volunteered to open our home for Club nights for the school year! There could be as many as 50 kids here! This Monday, they’ll be doing a Digital Photo Scavenger Hunt. I’ve been told to let the neighbors know they’re coming! Of course, I will share it with you on the Blog!
After a night of fun and games, Leaders end with a simple message from the Bible about God’s love for them. And they’re encouraged to join YoungLife on Wednesday’s Campaigners Night. That’s a time for the kids to learn or grow more in their faith through study, service and leadership. It’s a more solemn night, according to my kids. Lara has not yet attended Campaigners because the group has been studying the book, “Crazy Love” and she didn’t want to go in the middle of a series… but plans to go in a couple weeks when they’ve completed the book.
Lara’s overall take on YoungLife is… she liked that they plan to go “deep” into the Bible and Jesus. But, as she said, “It’s done in a relaxed, cool way like friends do who are our age!” She also said, “I like to have fun and dance and meet friends”. This allows her to do just that… while building her faith!
Funny thing though… the day after she experienced YoungLife, she learned there’s a YoungLife group for Exchange Students in the area. I also sent her a link about YoungLife in Europe. She quickly saw that YoungLife is something new for her… but has actually been around the world for years …. since 1941 to be exact! http://www.younglife.org/AboutYoungLife/History.htm
(To learn more about YoungLife, please check out the links provided in this Blog. Our kids highly recommend Camps http://www.younglife.org/Camping/ where kids really get an in-depth look into their faith and friendship.)