Young Life does not exist to meet all of your needs. Please take seriously your need to be involved in relationships and communities (Church communities in particular) outside of Young Life.
— Chad Edwards

Feeling Lonely on Young Life Staff?  You Are Not Alone

by Chad Edwards, Young Life Senior Vice-President - Europe

Why did you join Young Life staff?  For most, it wasn’t for a job.  You can make more money doing less work other places.  For most people, it’s the Young Life community that attracts them.  Not just any community but a missional community with Jesus at the center and the opportunity to love others well.  This is Young Life at its best.  

One of the most powerful proclamation and discipleship tools is healthy missional community— where Young Life has enjoyed the favor of the Lord for decades. As a staff your one-sentence job description is that you are a builder of such communities. This is what you create as you invite others to join your committee and volunteer leadership teams.

Because the YL community has eternal impact, it is not surprising that the enemy attacks here.  What better way to disrupt a missional community than for its leader to feel isolated and alone?  The ultimate irony: you join Young Life staff for the community, and once on staff, you feel isolated and alone.  

With the demands of the job and the desire to grow ministry, it becomes easy to just plan meetings instead of encouraging community.  However, because the key to ministry success and your long-term enjoyment and health is in building communities, here are a few ideas to consider.

1.  Christ needs to be the center, not Young Life.  Young Life is great, but it isn’t the center of any missional community.  Are your gatherings focused on Christ or Young Life?  

2.  Create the kind of community you want to be a part of.  Lead gatherings or meetings that are life-giving. Use the best of your creativity (and the creativity of others) to plan meetings that people want to attend. Use the best tools of Young Life: humor, adventure, surprises, depth, story, Gospel and relationships.  Remember, things that are familiar sometimes have little impact while the unfamiliar can create a big impact. The saying “I can’t believe we get to do this” should not only be reserved for kids at camp.

3.  You are not alone.  People around you would love to help you create community.  Look for people with gifts that complement your own —hospitality, teaching,  leadership, or encouragement.  You don’t have to do this alone.  You really shouldn’t try and do this alone.  

4.  These communities are a gift to you.  As you spend time with these people, look for where you see God at work. Be reminded that God is the giver of all good gifts, including your partners in ministry.

One last thought.  A senior staff person once said, “Young Life is not your mama.”  Young Life does not exist to meet all of your needs. Please take seriously your need to be involved in relationships, communities and church outside of Young Life. This is good for you, good for your soul and also really good for Young Life.

Schedule a time to meet your committee chairman for coffee and review these four ideas. What is one step you can take to build healthier community with your committee and volunteer leaders?

For more a comparison of a Committee vs. Mission Community, download a helpful PDF below.

Young Life also has resources and staff who can help you equip and training your committee.  For more information, click below.