Three Questions To Ask After Your Banquet

“HOW WAS YOUR BANQUET?” These three questions will tell you the answer.

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The area banquet is the one time during the year that Young Life is presented or showcased to the community. How do you know if your banquet did the job it was supposed to? I’ve seen easily over 150 banquets in my more than 40 years with Young Life. It is a good idea to know the evaluation questions BEFORE your banquet. That way you can shape the banquet to be “successful.” Here are my three questions to evaluate your YL banquet.

  1. WAS JESUS CHRIST LIFTED UP, SPOKEN ABOUT, AND HONORED?

As Jim Rayburn, Young Life’s founder said, “Young Life isn’t just about Jesus; that’s the only thing Young Life is about.” When Young Life was explained during your banquet, was making Jesus known in a way kids can understand front and center? When our methodology of going into kids’ worlds to build relationships with them was represented, did we give God the credit for that idea because that’s what He did in Jesus? Did the kid’s testimony highlight a new life with Jesus? Did the speaker (if you had one) open the Bible and speak of Jesus?

       2.   WAS THE COMMITTEE PROUD?

Folks who serve on the committee have devoted a lot of their time to supporting the ministry of Young Life, and in “putting on” this banquet. They want their friends, acquaintances and community to be introduced in a winsome way to Young Life. In a way, their reputation is at stake. If they are proud of the evening, it means you met the goal of presenting Young Life in an accurate and attractive way … not just the facts of what Young Life is and what are we doing, but also THE FLAVOR of Young Life, too.

       3. WERE PEOPLE ASKED TO GIVE?  

Whether folks open their hearts and their wallets and give to support the local Young Life area IS UP TO GOD. But, for goodness sakes, “the invitation” to give, or what we might call “the ask,” must not be fumbled or vague.

The financial pitch person doesn’t need to build the case or the need for Young Life; hopefully, the whole banquet did that. He or she doesn’t need to be funny or tell their whole story of their involvement in Young Life. It’s best if it’s short and sweet. Just present the funding need for the fiscal year in simple terms and ask — invite people to give and get involved. Have them fill out the involvement card, put it in the envelope and give it to the table host. Please don’t give the option to take it home and think about it. They were told that we coming to a fundraising banquet. Just ask. The rest is in God’s hands.

Written by Ty Saltzgiver (tysaltz@aol.com)

View September 2018 Email




Assessing the Aroma of your Area Culture

Scratch and Sniff: Making Your Area Culture the Aroma of Christ

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There are a lot of metaphors about what Christ followers should be and one of those is to be an aroma that others are drawn to. In your Young Life community, that “aroma of Christ” is one of the most powerful and potent elements of your fellowship. If you want to see Young Life thrive in your area, you need to become a culture-shaper. When you do — you can almost smell the difference.

Culture doesn’t have to be influenced by you, it’s happy and glad to continue evolving with or without your input. But you have influence, you can shape it. If you want to be a kicktail culture shaper, you start by being a kicktail listener.

Consider this … what if you aren’t really aware of the current status of your area’s culture? What if your assumptions aren’t true? What if your team really doesn’t like sharing ideas because they think you’re closed off? Better yet, what if this is a great moment to show your team that you want to listen to them? Having a great culture makes the work of your team more productive, enjoyable and creates a magnet for your recruiting efforts. When your area culture is thriving, people will speak favorably about their experience, you will see more and more great leaders, staff and committee come through the door, tenure of leadership will likely increase, and the snowball rolls down the hill.

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” — lots of people

Do your volunteer leaders love being together? Do they feel successful? Do they feel supported in their role? Do they feel a sense of pride and ownership about Young Life in your area? Do they feel that their ideas are welcomed and valued? These may seem like little things, but THEY ARE NOT. For example, if people feel their ideas aren’t welcome, they are less likely to bring them to the table. What if their idea is the innovative thing that helps reach the next kid? What if their friend is the next best leader? What if they could be a leader for 2, 10, 20+ years? Without a healthy area culture, we may never know.

You know how you can smell if a gallon of milk has gone bad?  You have to open up the jug and pay attention. Periodically, you need to do the same thing with the culture in your ministry.  Feedback is a gift to the person on your team sharing it, and pure gold for us as leaders. Practice this two or three times a year, and you will have great intel to help you pay attention to the right things. Here’s a simple way to listen well:

  • Send a survey to your leaders (survey link here for you to copy: Volunteer Leader Culture Make sure to duplicate this survey, do not send this one. Click the three little dots in the upper right-hand side and select, “make a copy.” Change it up, make it yours, make it anonymous if you dare.

  • Ask each team leader to give 10-15 minutes at the beginning of their next meeting to have leaders fill it out.

  • WAIT, don’t read responses as they come in. View the results all at once with a few trusted friends (committee member, team leader) and see what trends come up. What parts of your area’s culture are thriving? What parts need attention? What can you foresee as the leader that will have a huge impact if you invest now?

  • Pick a few things you want to influence and get after it together. How do you do this? … That’s for another day, but for now, see the resources below.

Remember, YOU HAVE INFLUENCE, and you can make a difference. The scent of a healthy community focused on Christ is hard to miss. Listen to others, love like Jesus, then notice the change. “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2: 15).

Written by: Christian “Bo” Gross (christiangrossyl@gmail.com)

P.S. [FREE BOOK!] First 10 people to email me and say, “I’m doing the survey,” will be sent a free copy of one of my favorite books on organizational culture. Bo Gross (christiangrossyl@gmail.com)

P.P.S. If you want to learn more, check out this stuff:



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The Best Way To Spend 8-10 Hours A Week

Pastor Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) says, “The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time.”

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In Young Life, one of the ways we let kids know we love them is through the time a leader gives in contact work. Job descriptions for a Young Life leader often list that contact work commitment as 8-10 hours a week.  

What that 8-10 hours a week looks like can look vastly different in various parts of the world.

In Munich, Germany, a week of contact work looks like the following for Nicki Walter. Nicki leads in a community of Munich public schools where he does not have access to campus. 

Monday: Grab coffee in the afternoon with one of our students who I’m mentoring.

Tuesday: Spend the afternoon playing soccer with some boys in a neighborhood park. At some point we might work on some graffiti together (in a legal spot!).

Wednesday: Grab some food or ride the subway with some guys after Campaigners.

Thursday: Hang out at the skatepark or the basketball court at a nearby park.

Friday: On the weeks when we don’t have club, I’ll plan some sort of organized event that our leaders can also bring friends to.

Saturday: Go to a soccer game for some of my kids, or we might have a breakfast in the park.

Sunday: Often I have students interested in trying out a church, so I’ll take them to church with me, or we might go try out a new church as a group.

As you can see, lack of campus access in no way hinders Nicki from going where kids are, earning the right to be heard. For every day of the week, he’s got a plan to be with kids.

In Hertfordshire, just north of London, the story is different for Beth Ann Hunter. She has access to the campus through volunteering at the school.

To get the broadest access to all kinds of kids, we’ve worked hard to volunteer at the schools. Usually just popping into the cafeteria to speak to kids is looked at as just plain weird, so we have to be a lot more creative. We have done all sorts of things — helped with school plays, gone to plays, musicals, concerts and talent shows. We’ve helped with accelerated reading challenges, and volunteered to run games at lunch times or in the library after school. Several of our schools have the library open where kids can hang before being picked up or taking their bus. The librarians have allowed us to interact and run games with kids there. In the U.K., many times the school will give access to someone who is willing to run an assembly on any topic, but especially on the Christian religious holidays as the teachers don’t always feel passionate about these assemblies.

For those of us in the states who might be reading this, I hope you are encouraged by the fact that contact work can happen without campus access, stopping by the cafeteria, or Friday night football games.

The common denominators between Nicki and Beth Ann seem to be time, a plan, and a willingness to show up. Notice, also, that none of these plans included texting, Snapchat, or online games. There is no substitute for physically showing up in a kid’s world.

After all, that’s what Jesus did for us.  

“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood” (John 1:14, The Message).

SPIKEBALL DISCOUNT!

***Looking for a great idea to add a few hours of contact work to your schedule this week?  Go to spikeball.com and enter “YLspikes’ as a promo code to receive a 20% discount.

Written by Brian Summerall (bsummerall@mac.com)

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The Cost (and Benefit) of Living in Community

“This is a true story of six strangers picked to live in community and work together to find out what happens when people start getting REAL!”

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When we kicked off the GLOBAL CITIES FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM in Hong Kong we felt like we were getting ready to live a season of MTV’s Real World “Young Life Young Life.” We didn’t know exactly what would happen if we put three 22-year-olds from all corners of the earth in one global city to live and work together for two years. It had the potential of getting messy really quick. What happened was nothing less than a miracle and far exceeded our hopes and dreams!

There are primarily two needs of every Young Life area: 1) People, and 2) Resources. Since Hong Kong Young Life’s beginning five years ago, our biggest need has been — PEOPLE! People who understand Young Life and the unique culture of Hong Kong. We had open doors at schools but didn’t have the people to walk through those doors. Since we were too young to have “grown our own,” we needed to find a creative solution, which birthed the Global Cities Fellowship. The fellowship was initially a two-year program designed for young people with Young Life experience to come to Hong Kong to be team leaders and be a part of a training leadership program all done in community to eliminate loneliness and build a greater sense of team. Time, Experience, Responsibility, Community and Fellowship became some of the tenants of this program.

We expected to have all Americans but ended up with one American , one Thai and one of Nigerian-British heritage. We couldn’t have designed things any better. Why? Because of their intentional community! They each were able to bring and share their knowledge and experience of Young Life, Hong Kong culture, and youth culture. Each week they spent three hours in training together growing in Christ, learning Young Life principles, and discussing how to implement them in Hong Kong in their individual school context. They also lived life together — shared apartments by gender, socially hung out, were inclusive of each other and treated each other like family. We learned that the combination of experience and background was far greater than just having people come who know Young Life. The fellows’ diversity has made us a much stronger team and continues to breed more diversity and unity as we identify future cohorts. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133: 1).

The benefits far outweigh the costs of the fellowship, but they are still a reality. Hong Kong is the third most expensive city in the world, and providing housing for the fellows is expensive. Also Hong Kong Young Life currently carries a majority of the burden of their cost as opposed to the traditional Young Life sending process, and your situation may be different. That being said, the fellowship answers our need for a pipeline of staff associates and helps us “grow our own” faster and develop a rich environment of diversity and cultural understanding, making our team stronger together.

Cohort 2 (Hong Kong Young Life Season 2) launched this past month with the orientation of three more fellows each with their unique background to Young Life, Asian culture, Hong Kong school culture, and Hong Kong culture. We are excited to see the outcome of this group’s community. There is a cost to community — but it is a small price to pay!


If you are interested in talking more, please feel free to email me at suzanne@hongkong.younglife.org.

Some other useful information Hong Kong Young Life Website — GCF or follow them on Instagram at younglifegcf.

Written by Suzanne Sittko (suzanne@hongkong.younglife.org)

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Who Grew? The Gospel According to Aslan

Who Grew? The Gospel According to Aslan

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Though The Chronicles of Narnia were not written or intended to be an allegory (C. S. Lewis was ferociously adamant about this), they are replete with Christian imagery and allusion, which Lewis readily acknowledged.

As we become more devoted disciples, and as we disciple others toward deeper faith and understanding, a scene from Prince Caspian (the book, not the movie … never, never the movie) illustrates this in a profound way.

The Pevensie kids are back in Narnia after several years in jolly old England, where unfortunately no one had yet started Young Life. They are their normal ages again, not the adults they’d grown into during their previous Narnian life, which must have been a terrible thing for them. Just imagine having been a king or queen, taken seriously by other adults, engaged in significant and meaningful tasks and adventures, only to have it all whisked away after being dragged back home. Let’s never do this to kids when camp is over, okay? Let’s keep taking them seriously, keep engaging them in significant and meaningful tasks and adventures, and keep reminding them of who they really are. Back to the story.

On their way to rescue the Narnians from that stinker Miraz and his wicked nasty army, the children find themselves utterly lost in an overgrown forest. Alas, being back in Narnia and living like a true Narnian isn’t quite as easy as they’d expected. They quickly feel dejected, tired and hopeless.

At their very lowest moment, when it seems clear that their long-anticipated return is not going to be the mountain-top swashbuckling experience they’d hoped for, Aslan appears to Lucy, the youngest and most devoted of the siblings.

“Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”

The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.

“Welcome, child,” he said.

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

And there you have it. That’s the magic moment. That’s the profound truth That’s the mid-chapter dialogue that should cause every reader to stop, catch their breath, and gasp at the sheer simplicity yet total mystery of growing closer to Jesus.

As we move more closely toward Jesus, gain deeper understanding of Jesus, develop more intimacy with Jesus, abide more fully in Jesus, more consistently display the love that comes from Jesus, and allow ourselves to be more completely guided by Jesus, shouldn’t we expect to feel a bit bigger — maybe not in stature, but for sure in wisdom, spiritual maturity and faith?

Isn’t that the point? To grow up into the full likeness of Jesus, becoming mature believers instead of needy babies who only fuss for milk and then conk off in long naps?

Yes, that’s the point. But the outworking of it, like all of discipleship, is a complicated paradox:

  • We find freedom by being fully dependent.

  • We find joy by embracing suffering.

  • We find fullness of life by emptying ourselves.

  • We find hope by acknowledging our helplessness.

  • And we grow not by becoming bigger ourselves but by recognizing God’s endless so-much-bigger-than-us-ness.

The more we know of Jesus, the more we realize how much we in fact don’t know. The more we become like Him, the more we realize how utterly unlike Him we still are. The more we experience Him, the more we realize how little we’ve actually experienced up to that point.

For our entire earthly life of discipleship, Jesus should seem continually bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER.

If Jesus seems the same size as when you first met Him, or the same size as last year, or even the same size as last week or yesterday or this morning, it’s time to re-enter the world of His supernatural reality, which is our true home.

May our prayer for both ourselves and those we disciple be simply this: “Lord, help us forever see and experience You as bigger than before.”

BONUS INFORMATION

The authorized (and only) correct reading order of The Chronicles of Narnia:

  1. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

  2. Prince Caspian

  3. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  4. The Silver Chair

  5. The Horse and His Boy

  6. The Magician’s Nephew

  7. The Last Battle

View September 2018 Email



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Written by:

Crystal Kirgiss (crystal.kirgiss@comcast.net)



Creative Names For Campaigner Groups

Thank you to everyone who shared their ideas for creative Campaigner Group names!  Take a look at the amazing ideas across Young Life: 

  • Walk With Me
  • Boys. Bikes. Bibles.
  • Deep Questions!
  • Stammtisch (German for Regulars’ Table)
  • WUP (Walk up Prayer)
  • Starbuckies
  • Wednesday Small Groups
  • City Group
  • Donuts and Discipleship
  • D’ship
  • Tuesday’s with Hall (leader’s last name)
  • Bropaigners
  • D-group
  • Girls Club
  • Fort Club
  • Fight Club (fight to make time for community, to pursue Jesus, for 
  • friends to know Jesus)
  • Man Time
  • House Groups
  • Beyond Capernaum
  • Friday Night Lights (Guys group that meets under the lights on leader’s back deck)
  • Friday Morning B-Stud
  • Cabin Time
  • Women Around the World
  • Journey Groups
  • Beyond
  • CORE (Christ, Outreach, Relationship, Engagement)
  • Connection Groups
  • James’ Gang
  • Soup Group
  • Community Group
  • Beyond Campaigners
  • 222 (2 Timothy 2:2)
  • Breakfast Club
  • Manversations
  • Breakfast and Jesus
  • Discover
  • ECO (acronym for study, share, pray in Spanish)
  • Wolf Pack
  • Lagniappe (French for “a little something extra”)
  • Three Brothers’ Sistuhs (name of coffeeshop)
  • YoungLives Beyond
  • FYE (first-year experience for YLCollege)
  • Shakers
  • Mantown
  • CC (acronym for Conversation and Growth in Spanish; used in Costa Rica)
  • The Fellas
  • Deeper
  • Minute Men

The Two Goals of EVERY Young Life Banquet!

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There are a lot of reasons to do a Young Life banquet. Here are a few: a thank you, a night of information, communication of our mission, raising funding, raising awareness, valuing leaders, giving kids a chance to shine, education, lifting up Jesus, sharing the gospel, celebration, a “stockholder” annual meeting, sharing vision and strategy, growth plans and I am sure I am leaving many out.  (Ping me the ones I missed!)

 

But, for today, I just want to share the two partnering reasons for banquets to think about as you plan: funding and impact.

 

Funding

Let’s be honest, most area directors know that the annual banquet is all about raising necessary funds to keep adding fuel into the tank so we can reach more kids for Christ. It’s a huge component of the night, and having spoken at more than 150 banquets, here are a few thoughts I have regarding this key focus of a banquet.

Funding should be sprinkled throughout the night, not just in the pitch. People need to know long before they ever step foot in the banquet hall that this night is about raising funds to enhance the mission of Young Life. It could be as simple as having it stated on all of the materials and publications that go out with phrases like “Annual Fundraising Banquet.” You also might talk about this with your table hosts so that we are inviting the right people who would want to financially invest if they knew. You also can sprinkle funding into how people talk at the event. It could be as simple as every person who takes the stage (leader, kid, committee) comments on how grateful they are that “You all came tonight and are considering how you might invest in this great mission.”

Impact

Why does Young Life exist? We exist to introduce adolescents to Jesus and help them grow in their faith. So, this needs to be the focus of the night. Focus on the impact we are making. This can happen in materials on tables, videos shown, people who get up front, the area director’s “area report” session, and certainly the testimonies given. The kids who share their testimonies need to be evidence of our mission statement. These need to be sharp, worked with, and focused on communicating how Young Life made an IMPACT.

I went to a banquet in the fall where the testimonies were a miss. The testimony might have been a great testimony for the church, or this person’s love of their friends, but it did not show a kid that came into contact with Young Life and was IMPACTED.

You can convey impact at multiple points in the night. One of the best moments of a banquet is the student, or leader, or parent who can communicate IMPACT. Another spot to share impact is in the area report session, where an AD can look back at where they have been, where they are, and where they are going.

I think that if a banquet team puts on the lenses of funding and impact as they plan out a banquet, it can make a huge difference. As the banquet and event unfold, and decisions are made about timing, food, buffet, plated, who speaks, what we do for the skit, what is on the table, and the rubric of FUNDING and IMPACT are utilized, it can make a huge difference.

Let me know if I can assist or you have more to add. Bless you all as you move into the fall and the “banquet season”!

Written By Eric Scofield (escofield@sc.younglife.org)

 

How Many Hours Does It Take To Make A Friend?

I was recently texted an article from the Southwest Airlines inflight magazine with the headline, “How Many Hours Does It Take to Make a Friend?” Immediately, my mind went to a letter written by our founder, Jim Rayburn, in 1952.

“For example, take our ‘contact work.’ By that we mean the hours and hours that our leaders find it necessary to spend with the kids, meeting them where they are, going along with them, living with them.”

While Jim Rayburn couldn’t put a specific number on the hours that are spent by our volunteer leaders, earning the right to be heard, science is trying to.

“The Journal of Science and Personal Relationships” recently published a study by K.U. Professor Jeffrey Hall, which reveals:

  • It takes 50 cumulative hours of hanging out (contact work) to go from “acquaintance” to “friend.”

  • It takes 90 hours to go from “friend” to “good friend.”

  • It takes 200 cumulative hours to become someone's “best friend.”

“We have to put that time in,” Hall said. “You can’t snap your fingers and make a friend. Maintaining close relationships is the most important work we do in our lives — most people on their deathbeds agree.”

That should not come as a surprise to any Young Life leader, and it indeed would not be a surprise to Rayburn.

In today’s world, it is important to note that these hours refer to “face-to-face” time. Social media and texting simply won’t do. None of those technologies will ever replace showing up at the school or a Friday night game.

Let me put this in a Young Life context:

  • 50 hours — Sounds like a weekend camp to me.

  • 90 hours — That’s a great semester of contact work at lunches, games and just hanging out with kids.

  • 200 hours — Add a 20-hour bus ride to seven days of summer camp, plus follow up, and that’s what you will get.

If you are a leader struggling to get to that next level of friendship with your kids, you might consider what Hall calls a “context shift.”

“What seems to be the case is that doing something I call a ‘context shift’ matters; this means that you want to spend time with somebody outside the place you met them,” Hall said.

What Young Life calls “Level 1 Contact Work” (just showing up/being seen) and Level 2 Contact Work (conversing with a kid) has to experience that context shift to move to Level 3 (doing something together). Without that critical shift, leaders are left with superficial relationships with kids that have little or no impact.

If you are a volunteer and feel you are stuck at “Level 1,” just showing up at the school or a game for an hour or two every week, ask your team leader to help you make that “context shift” with kids. Pray that God would help you see new opportunities ahead of you to deepen those relationships.

Maybe we didn’t need the “The Journal of Science and Personal Relationships” to tell us these things, but it’s helpful to see the science to back up what Rayburn knew. Those hours and hours of contact work you are putting in are not a waste of time. The Lord is using them!

“ … (M)any well-meaning Christians have felt that we are wasting time. Yet it is this time spent with the youngster, before and after his confession of Christ, that has made Young Life something far more than the ordinary youth movement. Not only do we win a hearing among the most difficult and hardest to reach, but after reaching them we stay with them, as a true missionary should. The winning and establishing of a soul for Jesus Christ cannot be done on a hit-and-run basis. The Lord Jesus Himself is our example in this.”

Keep logging those hours, volunteers. Science backs you up. But better yet, Jesus backs you up as well!

 

Written by Brian Summerall (bsummerall@mac.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Main Factor In Creating Culture: Volunteer Leaders

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Regardless of setting, having a Mission Community of thriving volunteers is the way to grow deep and wide in reaching adolescents and helping them grow in their faith. This was modeled for me when I became a volunteer leader in college in 1972. I could not wait to be with those leaders. I had met Christ in Young Life and served on work crew and summer staff, so this was a natural outcome because my Young Life leaders always talked about me becoming a Young Life leader. I would not have called it this at the time, but they were “casting a vision for my life and growth.”

As a young area director, because it had been modeled for me, I knew the job was

  • Recruiting (Always),

  • Training (Always),

  • Deploying , Empowering and Encouraging VOLUNTEERS.

Sure, I was doing contact work and running a good club and Campaigners, but my JOB was developing a culture where the volunteer leader was the KEY to effective, growing ministry. In the recruitment of new leaders, I invited every Jesus follower to join us because I knew they would experience Jesus in Young Life, in training and in being on a team reaching kids. Creating a culture where leaders would experience Jesus in doing Young Life was my job. There are thousands of ways to do this, so steal them all and create new ones every day. (Focus your time and talent here.)

“You can’t start or create a culture because you already have one. All you can do is develop it, adjust it, tweak it and change it over time.” — Anonymous

When I stepped into Young Life International in 2006, there were less than 1,000 volunteers outside of the U.S. I spoke with many mission agency leaders who told me that finding volunteers in undeveloped economies would not be possible because unemployment was often well over 50 percent. Stubbornly I responded, “Well, volunteers are the key to any healthy Young Life, so that is what we will aim for.” Most missionaries patted me on the head and said, “Good luck.”

All of the International leadership (tremendous, courageous staff) were in alignment on this, but we had to overcome one key dynamic: We were working with populations that had never heard of Jim Rayburn, had never seen a Young Life camp, didn’t know the term “contact work,” and more. Many of them had English as a second or third language. NONE had heard of Young Life.

In 2018, there are over 18,000 volunteer leaders outside of the U.S.!  What did we do?

1. We PRAYED. We used everything we could to prompt us to pray for laborers for the harvest: Matthew 9:38 lists, whiteboards, spreadsheets, leadership trees, maps ... we really prayed … a lot! And then repeated it. Pray for laborers of the harvest and call people to pray.

2. We DECIDED that the leaders were there in the neighborhood and we had to find them. If you do not believe they are there, you will not look for them and you likely will not pray.

3. We BELIEVED that Young Life would bless every leader who joined us with significant growth in Jesus, significant experience of mission and community (family), and they would model the hopes of the Kingdom for broken and lost communities.

4. We were CONVINCED that volunteers were the only way forward.

5. We made it FUN, ENCOURAGING, VALUABLE, JOYFUL and DEEP to be a leader.

We always say, “Being a Young Life leader will give you more joy and more sorrow that you can imagine, but it will also pull you into the abundant life Jesus has for you. It is worth it!” Bottom line: If you celebrate victories and lament great loss as a mission community, you will not only have an abundance of invested and committed volunteers, you will all experience greater intimacy with Jesus. Who doesn’t want that?

Written by Marty Caldwell (mcaldwell@sc.younglife.org)

Ever wonder about the state of the your Young Life Area's culture?  Take this simple, self-assessment quiz!  

Young Life AREA ‘CULTURE’ SELF-ASSESSMENT Quiz

Designing the Perfect Question With Four Words

Moving Forward with 4-Words

Getting conversations off to a good start is a basic skill everyone should possess.

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Getting conversations off to a good start is a basic skill everyone should possess.

Keeping conversations active and ongoing – even after it seems like they’ve hit their end – is an art that every minister should develop. And by minister I mean every Young Life, WyldLife, YoungLives, Young Life Capernaum, and Young Life College leader or staff person.

The basic tool for advancing conversations is deeply active pastoral listening in which you truly engage, intently pay attention, make eye contact, take the speaker seriously, nod your head in acknowledgement, and remember everything that was said.

Beyond that, here are additional back-pocket tools that you can use throughout a conversation with kids (or adults) to move it forward to the next step and move it deeper to the next level.

 

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What other 4-word tools do YOU use? Send them to crystal.kirgiss@comcast.net.  

 

Remember last month?  We asked you for the names YOU use for your Campaigner groups.  Well, we got a TON of great, creative names submitted and we thought we'd share.  You can see all of these HERE.


Written by Crystal Kirgiss (crystal.kirgiss@comcast.net)

Global Innovation August | The Day My View of YL Got Bigger (and Smaller) At The Same Time

 

This is how I remember it …

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YOUNG LIFE INTEREST MEETING, SEPTEMBER 1999

  • The Time: 7–9 p.m.

  • The Town: Mackay, Idaho

  • The Location: According to my handwritten directions — the house 5 miles down a county road on the left-hand side just passed the split rail fence.  

  • The Purpose: Interest meeting to start Young Life.

  • The Agenda: Starting club at Mackay Junior/Senior High School — enrollment: 92.

    • Prayer

    • Coffee, pie and brownies

    • Introduction and sharing

    • Discussion about kids at the local school  (Mackay High — Home of the fighting Mushers!)

    • What is Young Life?  

  • The Attendees:

    • 12 adults (1 local pastor, 2 ranchers, 3 teachers, 5 parents and 1 forest ranger)

    • 3 dogs were left in trucks parked outside.

For much of my more than 40-year career with Young Life, this has been my life. It involves driving a few nights each week from small town to small town all over the Western United States with names you have never heard of and on county roads you have never been on. It involves traveling with the hope of getting to talk with people about bringing Young Life to their community.

One of many pivotal moments was at a Young Life interest meeting sitting in Hilda Goddard’s living room one fall evening. “We need to tell our neighbors in Challis, Idaho, about this Young Life thing!” was the reaction of Harold, (one man in attendance) at the end of the night. I soon discovered that the “neighbors” in Challis lived at least 60 miles away! My understanding of the word “neighbor” began to grow that night. The gap of distance was overcome by the closeness of circumstance. Even internationally, I have been struck by the countless villages, townships and small towns dotted all around the globe that share common traits and challenges. My constant prayer is that there are people in these places who will reach out to these kids to love them, walk with them and tell them about the hope that comes with a faith in Christ.

Harold, whether he knew it or not, shared the heart and vision of Jesus. He understood how God works through the ministry of Young Life to not only transform individual lives of students who attended Mackay Junior/Senior High School, but to a greater extent, the entire community. The book of Matthew tells us that “Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives” (Matthew 9:35, MSG). Jesus wanted His message to get to everyone, so He went places most people would pass by. He had a heart and vision for the next small town!

We pass by our small towns and villages every day, giving them very little thought, but there are so many!

Here are a few interesting observations that I have learned in the past year.

  • In the United States there are 18,025 small towns.  

  • There are over 32,000 schools in small towns; 18,000 are secondary schools.

  • 21 percent of the U.S. population lives in small towns.

  • 94 percent of the total square miles of the U.S. (3.4 million square miles) are considered rural.

  • At-risk behavior statistics in rural communities are identical to urban centers.

Here are some facts that you won’t find on any U.S. government website.  

  • Many small town high schools adjust schedules around the harvest or hunting seasons.

  • The nearest Walmart may be over an hour away.

  • The local high school may have special parking for students’ tractors or horses.

  • It is a community event when a new fast-food restaurant opens!

  • Young Life leaders have been known to reschedule summer camp dates to not interfere with the County Fair.

… And there is a pretty good chance that you have a small town “neighbor” right down the street within 60 miles or less. So what do you do? Four steps to think about the NEXT school!

  • Never Forget to Pray — Get a map and draw a circle with your town in the center of a 60-mile radius. Pray for towns in this circle; pray for the towns that jump out at you; pray as you drive through them; pray for the Lord of the Harvest to raise up workers. Do a prayer walk through the town. TRY THIS: Set an alarm on your watch to remind you to pray at 9:38 (Matthew 9:38). Pray each day for one or two of the towns in the circle of your “neighborhood.”

— Ask your committee, leaders, friends, who knows somebody in these towns? TRY THIS: Contact Young Life Alumni & Friends to help you find people in town who may have a Young Life background. Make some calls to pastors, civic leaders, and business people.

  • eXtend a Hand — Get a leader, a committee member, club kid, friend and make a road trip! TRY THIS: Go to the town; spend time in the community. 1. Pray at the school. 2. Eat at a local restaurant. 3. Meet with a local pastor.

  • Take the Next Step — Mobilize someone in the town to host a meeting of people who care about the kids in their community and need to know more about Young Life. You can check out the Small Towns Tool Box to give you ideas for this meeting.

 

There are Small Towns everywhere we go. Slow down, take some time to notice them and then do the NEXT steps. Email me if you would like to receive the Small Towns Newsletter or would like to attend the Small Towns Summit in December. To learn more or if you have any questions, check out the resources below for help.

Resources to Help: Small Towns — The Atlantic Magazine

Small Towns Director — J.C. Bowman — jcb31954@gmail.com, 208-866-0540

Jump Starts — Don Stuber — dstuber@sc.younglife.org, 360-789-6676  

Ken Purnell — kendpurnell@gmail.com, 541-620-0270      

 

Written By J.C. Bowman

External YL Resources

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Discount at InterVarsity Press for YL Staff! 

InterVarsity Press has offered Young Life staff a 40% ongoing discount!  All you gotta do is call 1-800-843-9487 and identify themselves as a "staff member with a ministry partnering with InterVarsity on campus." Our customer service staff will set up the accounts and communicate further instructions, including how to sign in at ivpress.com.

 

 

Global Committees - 3 Questions Every YL Committee Should Answer

 

“Asking the right questions can take as much skill as finding the right answers.”

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In working with Young Life Committees over the last few decades I have consistently heard the same questions surface from Committee members.  

Q.  What is my role?  

Q.  What do you need me to do?  

Q.  What is our plan?  

Sometimes these innocent questions can quickly become frustrations and lead to significant challenges within your local YL Committee.  I have seen us try to answer the questions too with lists of roles to fill, sub-committees to join, and ‘sign up’ sheets to fill out but these tactics are bandaids because oftentimes we have not addressed the key questions.

Below, I have listed 3 key questions that every Committee needs to answer.  If you answer these well a few things will result:

  • You will never be at a loss for defining your next Committee agenda.

  • Every member of your team will have a good chance of having a role where they can serve and thrive on Committee.

  • Your YL Area will have clarity on direction, purpose and next steps.

 

Ready?  Question 1.  

WHO ARE WE?  Most Young Life groups love this question and are pretty skilled at giving a compelling answer.  It speaks to our purpose, mission and principles. Simply, the answer to this question will lead you toward your Core Values.  Although some YL groups may create complimentary Core Values that represent the convictions of their local community and context, the Mission-wide Values and Methods may be a good place to start to remember who we are as a mission and commit to those principles as a group.

Now Question 2

WHERE ARE WE GOING ?  This is the #1 question at the heart of every Committee member.  Although it can cause anxiety and vibrant discussion, the framework for an answer can be found in a simple Strategic Plan.  Young Life Field roles as well as local area duties are framed around what we call the 5 Core Functions:  Direct Ministry, Ministry Support, Spiritual, Leadership, and Resource Development. Truly, you cannot find a area of emphasis that does not fit within these five.  If done well, via a simple strategic planning process, your committee/staff/adult stakeholders will work to align on a 1-2 year goal in these five areas. Even better, that means your committee agenda for the year is done! All you do now is work the plan!   Your regional office can help; click here for some simple templates on strategic planning and a SWOT analysis tool.

Finally, Question 3

WHAT DO WE NEED TO GET THERE?  It makes sense that after affirming Core Values, and designing a Plan, then you have to address the final step of assessing what it will take to get there.  That is simply A Vision Case.  This tool helps you ‘count the cost’ of both people and resources that will be needed to achieve your goals.  If you want to hire more staff, start WL at a new school, double the number of kids in Club or going to Camp, there will be a cost to fulfilling that dream.  There are several tools for communicating this vision, but some simple templates that we have used recently is HERE and HERE.  Your regional leadership or our Mission-wide Development team can help you design a clear tool to engage your community. 

A final thought.  Every Committee member in the mission of YL got involved to see their community and themselves changed. More simply, they want to see God’s movement in their lives and in those around them.  That is a big vision! It order to see that vision come to fruition, these three questions are a good place to start.

Next Step:  Ask these questions at your next Committee meeting.  Print some of the tools and links above and see how close your local team comes to giving a clear, concise and compelling answer.  A good place to start.

Questions/Thoughts/Input- email Tank (kenbtank@gmail.com)


 

 

Global Discipleship - DON’T COPY ME

“DON’T COPY ME!!” (said Jesus never)

 

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Preschoolers are famous for shrieking with indignant rage, “DON’T COPY ME!” when an older child or adult copies them. It’s annoying, irritating, and entirely unfunny to the child being copied.

But older children and adults do it anyway because sometimes they (we) are overly zealous about creating and satisfying their (our) own amusement. (Insert an honest confession and admission here.)

Copying little children isn’t especially nice. Copying a classmate’s test answers isn’t at all honest. Copying someone else’s creative production isn’t even remotely decent.

Copying Jesus is another matter altogether.

Jesus himself tells us to copy his behavior by serving as he did (John 13:14), obeying as he did (John 15:10), and loving as he did (John 15:12).

Paul tells us to copy Jesus’ attitude (Phil. 2:5).

Peter tells us to copy Jesus’ way of living (I Peter 2:21).

So copy away. Copying the living Word that was (and was with) God in the beginning is a very good thing.  So is copying his written word.

For everyone who has ever struggled to engage with the Bible, to journal about its profundity, or to immerse themselves in sacred scripture, here is the easiest devotional/contemplative/intentional/analytical way to interact one-on-one with God’s word:

JUST COPY IT.

That’s it. That’s the secret sauce.

1. Open up your Bible to a particular passage (anything will do – a Psalm, a story of Jesus, an epistolary teaching, an Old Testament episode).

2. Open up your journal (anything will do – lined, unlined, leatherbound, spiralbound).

3. Pick up a writing instrument (anything will do – ballpoint, rollerball, #2 graphite, Staedtler markers in 24 vibrant colors, fountain pen).

4. Copy (all the words from the Bible passage, into the journal, word for word).

You needn’t follow the original formatting, i.e. you can use UPPER CASE AND lower case at YOUR DISCRETION. You can use various colors. You can change your handwriting style. You can underline or highlight or bold. You can turn a long list into a

  • streamlined

  • organized

  • structured

  • business-y

  • left-aligned bullet list.

You can write VERY BIG or very small.

You can do whatever you want, as long as you copy all the words.

That’s it. Really. Truly.

Deuteronomy 17 provides guidelines for future kings, including a specific imperative that a new king must copy for himself all the words of God’s instruction. Not “just because,” but so that:

  • he would have a personal copy of God’s words,
  • he would learn to fear God and obey him,
  • he wouldn’t become proud,
  • he would remain wholly faithful to Yahweh.

It’s right there in Deuteronomy: JUST COPY IT. For good (and kingly) reasons.

We are not on the road to Old Covenant kingship, but still, let’s JUST COPY IT. For good (and disciplined) reasons, so that:

  • we would slow down and spend more time with the words,
  • we would see new things as our eyes and brains and hands work together,
  • we would learn to identify and remember small sets of words as cohesive thoughts,
  • we would notice repetition, emphasis, structure, and intent.

Copying God’s word is easy. It is never a waste of time. It transcends age. It requires no special training, education, or knowledge.

Most importantly, it will change you in sure and subtle ways, as God’s word always does when we simply take time to read it, relate with it, and rest in it.

_______________

Some other things:

1. A new journal is supremely motivating.

2. A stellar pen is almost absolutely necessary.

3. The Psalms are an obvious starting point.

4. White space is your friend. Don’t cram as many words as possible on a page. Spread out. Take it easy. Triple space.

5. After copying, think about these things:

  • What did I notice about the act of copying?
  • What did I notice about the content of what I copied?
  • What did I notice about these words after copying them that I’d never noticed after simply reading them?

 

Written By Crystal Kirgiss (crystal.kirgiss@comcast.net)

 

Global Volunteers - Why have Club?

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Recently at one of our “Brilliant at the Basics” cohorts (where regions bring selected staff to Dallas to train in Ministry Strategy and reaching more kids), the question came up, “Why have club?”

In other words, “Can’t we just hang out with kids, do contact work, go to camp, and start Bible studies?”

Before I jumped in with any quick answers of my own, I wanted to know what other, younger staff, staff thought.  I texted my friend Caitlin Carr, Young Life Area Director, who happened to be eating with a group of her campaigner girls when I reached her.  She was able to take advantage of the moment and ask her campaigner girls why club was important to them.

Here’s what they said:

  • “Club was the first step we took in trusting you.”

  • “Because you came to our school, and seemed normal and invited us to something that was fun, we went. If you had invited us to something with Bible in the title, we would have bailed fast.”

  • “It was a social event that ended up changing our lives.”

  • “It was the first place in high school where older kids were nice to us - we all wanted to be a part of this crazy fun party they all talked about.”

  • “You never rushed us into anything. When I think back, all along we were taking steps together and with you... but you let us get to ‘here’ on our own terms.”

  • “Those boys that go to Young Life would never want to go to Bible study. They come to meet girls.  Because y'all are the one group of people in their lives not calling them "bad kids" y'all let them be exactly who they are... and someday they'll get it - that's what Young Life club is about.”

I think Caitlin’s girls got it right.  

Young Life without some regular form of club (a relational, fun, non-threatening, proclamation gathering… not necessarily five songs, skits, and announcements) can be like a bus without tires.  We’re loaded up with kids and ready to go somewhere, but it’s difficult to move anywhere.

Club is a natural product of excellent contact work.  As leaders know kids and kids trust their leaders, it’s natural if all those leaders are gathering somewhere on a weekly basis, that the kids that know and trust them would want to be there as well.  It’s a weekly celebration of relationships.

If club numbers lag, it can be a weekly barometer revealing a lack of quality contact work.

John Evans, trainer of Regional Directors, puts it like this:

“Club keeps me honest. Club and numbers are not THE critical standard, but they are a gauge. They let me know we are reaching a certain group of kids.”

Don’t get me wrong.  Contact work drives everything, but Club is a natural result of it.  One leads to another

Summer camp is wonderful, but not accessible to everyone.  Weekend camps in some parts of the world are filled to the brim, but in most areas, happen only once a year and have limited space.

Club is a weekly opportunity celebrate relationships and for EVERY kid in your area to hear a leader they know, stand in front of them, open the Bible, and proclaim the gospel in a way they can understand, relate, and respond to.  There’s no deposit required, no scholarship money needed, and no limited number of seats available.

Why have club?  To quote John Evans once again…

“Club still works… At the end of Monday night when club is over, I'm thankful. Kids had a great time, heard about Christ and were with people who love them. I'm convinced this is as powerful as anything we say.”  To read John Evans’ entire article on the importance of Club, click HERE.

By Brian Summerall (bsummerall@me.com)

Global Innovation - The Biblical Mandate That Comes With A Harvest

“Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  (Matthew 9:38)

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"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their words; that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in you; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me" (John 17:20, 21)

Lists.  We use them all the time.  Every time I go to Costco I have a hand-scribed list from Marni.  I see others just like me in the grocery store… lists on paper, lists on phones, and calling in for a verbal list.  Everyone in the famous movie that was on Schindler’s “list” actually lived. It was a powerful list.

More than fifteen years ago, I challenged a campaigner group to pray for ten of their unsaved friends.  A mom called me and asked if I could come by while her son was in school. I came by and she marched me into her son’s bathroom and there on the mirror was a scrappy piece of paper list of ten kids names.  “What is this?” I told her that these were the kids her son was praying for… all were in 9th grade.  Today, everyone on that list knows Jesus and 4 of them are on Young Life staff.

We list out projects.  We list out prayers. We list out who can come to a gathering.  We have wedding lists. We have Christmas card lists. We are list people… and today, I want to challenge you to consider a new type of a list.  The “Discipleship List.”

The Discipleship List was an assignment that really stuck with me when I went through the official “Young Life Practicum I and II” sometime in the late 80’s. This list has two parts.  First, who are the kids that you are discipling? Second, what are you wanting them to learn, experience, and do while they are under your tutelage?

It starts with YOU knowing the kids that you are discipling.  (Discipling means teaching them to follow Jesus with their life, to love the word, prayer, to have fellowship, to be obedient, and to strive to follow the great commission.)  The famous quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You want to have a plan for who you are discipling.

Again, it starts with a list.  Who has the Lord laid on your heart to “pour into.”  We call it so many things in Young Life. There are phrases you might use that I don’t:  my campaigners, small group, discipleship group, student leadership team, green beret campaigners, student leaders, etc.  I would say it is as simple as a list. Who are the kids that you are going to give it all to?  You are pouring your life into them – you are available to them always, and your life is an open book.  They know they are on your list, and you know they are on the list.

I remember going to a restaurant that was owned by long-time Young Life supporter Bob Farrell.  Sometimes when you went to his Stanford’s restaurant you would see a person following the waiter or waitress around the restaurant.  They literally just followed. At times, it even felt a little awkward. Well, it was actually a beautiful thing. They were “in training.”  Bob wanted them to see it all, the full scope of what it meant to take care of multiple tables, crunch time, mistake orders, etc. Who is following you around?  What are you wanting to make sure they see?

My first year of Young Life training my trainer Jeff said, “What do you want to make sure your sophomore followers of Christ leave with in two-years?”  Oh my, did this open up my mind of the possibilities! I wanted them to know so, so much. You could, and should, make some notes right now, on what you want your kids leaving within 6 months, in a year, in 2, or even 3 years.  (If you have a Wyldlife and a College ministry – you could have a 6-year plan.) What do you want to make sure they know about Jesus? About the Holy Spirit? About the Word? About scripture? About lifestyle evangelism? About service?  About how to “do Young Life?”

In Young Life, at least in this 5 for Friday, I would hope people would make a “list.”  Who is in your life? What list do you want to make sure they end up learning, experiencing, and doing?  

Here is a sample list to get your mind going – would love to have others add to this list by sending me an email:  escofield@sc.younglife.org

My brainstorming of what a list could look like of what to impart:

  • Have an accountability relationship/partner

  • Treat your body with respect – temple of the Spirit

  • Be able to write down 50-75 high school/junior high students by name from memory

  • Develop a plan for your disciples

  • Practice Spiritual Disciplines:

    • Reading

    • Memorizing

    • Church

    • Prayer

    • Journaling

    • Solitude

    • Sabbath

  • Be a “come with person” – bring people with you to club, church, run errands

  • Memorize TMS

  • Lead a Campaigner Group

  • Give your testimony

  • Go on Work Crew (Summer)

  • Go on Work Crew (Weekend)

  • Do a service project

  • Have a quiet time for 30 straight days.

  • Do the Thread Journal — and give one away

  • Have a list of 10 non-believing friends

  • Be a student leader for Monday Club

  • Speak well of others

 

Written by Eric Scofield (escofield@sc.younglife.org)

 

Global Training - What YL Can Do For You!

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Have you ever wondered how your favorite YL Administrator seems to know all of the different resources available in Young Life that you haven’t heard about?  We are pulling back the curtain to share some of our favorite game changers with you. Below are 5 things that Young Life can do for you that could help Field staff do their job more effectively and efficiently.

 

1.     STAFF RESOURCES: Yes. www.staff.younglife.org The website that we all visit every single day. Did you know there are great resources on the staff website? A few of our favorites.

  • Rental Car Discount Codes: YoungLife has negotiated discounts with six national rental car companies! The next time you’re traveling for business and have to rent a car these codes will save you money!

  • Publisher Discounts: Looking for great donor or leader gifts? Check out our negotiated rates with 13 publishers before you buy books!

  • Computer, Printer and Phone Discounts: Need a new laptop or printer for your YL office? Make sure you contact the Help Desk for information on how to save BIG with Apple, Dell, AT&T and Verizon.

2.  THE YOUNG LIFE PODCAST: Any time Young Life people gather, ideas start to flow. The Young Life Podcast gives the Young Life family a platform to hear and learn from a diverse group of pioneering fellow staff with a variety of cultural and leadership perspectives.  This is ‘cabin time for your commute.’ Like a cabin time, there will be a wide range of content, conversations between leaders of all types, an equal playing field, laughter, prayer and encouragement to continue the conversation. You can follow them (@younglifepod) on Twitter and Instagram. Incredible guests, including Donna Hatasaki, Veronica Tutaj, Kristy Fox, Millie Carter and Newt Crenshaw, among others. Don’t want to listen online? Visit them HERE.

3.  FIELD DEVELOPMENT PODCAST: The YL Funding Help podcast is committed  to helping Young Life staff be more effective fundraisers to help maximize time for ministry. Our Field Development office has over 200 podcasts available under 6 minutes each, ranging in topics from Committee to Donor Engagement and Events and a lot of great guest speakers. Visit them at http://ylfundinghelp.org

4.  STAFF DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND EVALUATION TOOLS: As we enter ‘evaluation season’ YoungLife has some wonderful resources for all types of staff evaluations. Everything from ‘annual reviews’ to ‘360 Evaluations.’ Simply type ‘HR Toolbox’ in the search feature on the staff resources page. Additionally, staff management resources are available to help you navigate the management process and support you in making good personnel decisions in your local area, Region or Division.

5.  GRANTS & FOUNDATIONS: Young Life’s Grants and Foundations office exists to tell Young Life's story with  excellence to help you connect with foundations for further funding sources. To get started fill out the Foundation Research Request Form so our research assistant can begin to find foundations in your area which are seeking to support missions like yours. Have questions? Call the Grants & Foundations office at the Service Center.

Have questions about more helpful Young Life resources? Call Mission Assistance at the Young Life Service Center and they will help answer your questions.  Administrators!! Want to help communicate more of this helpful information to your staff? Contact Kimberly Silvernale or Jen Reynolds for best practices!

*For assistance regarding how to access the links above, please contact the Global Innovation & Training office HERE.

 

Ministry In Unlikely Places: Serving The Refugee Population

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We all have pictures in our mind of what Young Life camp looks like, right?  However, there are a few camps happening this summer that look a little different from what we typically picture in our minds.   Let’s take a look at two camps to see what I mean:  one you know and one you don’t know.

Let’s start with the one camp you probably don’t know: Nyarugusu. You don’t know it because it’s not a Young Life camp; it’s a refugee camp. Located in western Tanzania, between 139,000 and 400,000 refugees from DR Congo and Burundi live here in tents.  Some have been here for over 20 years and some have just arrived. Over half of these residents are under 18 years old.  They have fled warlords, rebel groups, tribal wars, genocides and food shortages.

One of these residents is a Young Life leader Pascal (name changed). He decided to follow Jesus at a Young Life camp in Congo and became a Young Life leader before he and his family were forced to flee insecurity caused by rebel groups. Pascal is recruiting leaders and working with our team in Tanzania to begin Young Life in Nyarugusu. We hope to bring kids from this camp to a very different kind of camp soon.

Now let's look at the camp you know: Timber Wolf Lake. Fast forward to July 3rd of this year. Picture 46 kids rolling off a bus at the welcome. Some are in headscarves, most laughing and speaking to each other in Arabic, a Burmese dialect or in Kiswahili. They are from Syria, Myanmar, Congo and half a dozen other places. All of them are from Southport High School in Indianapolis. Their leaders, Joe and Rachel Snyder, direct the area on the south side of Indianapolis where tens of thousands of these refugees have been placed. Many of them are part of the club at Southport High School. On July 3, 2018, they will experience a new type of camp...and Jesus' love for them.

  • Across the world there are currently 22.5 million refugees and over 65 million people displaced internally in their own countries. More than half of these people are kids.
  • Over 56% refugees live in sprawling tent camps in Africa and the Middle East.
  • Over 3 million refugees live in the US.

There are hundreds of thousands of kids, most of whom have experienced trauma people in Western Europe or the US cannot imagine.  Most of these kids do not know, or may not have even heard of Jesus, and are being gathered in unprecedented numbers into our countries and neighborhoods. What an opportunity we have as a mission that cares for kids who are lost and looking for a place to belong!  

In YL Africa/ME we are committed to figuring out how to reach these kids. And people like Joe and Rachel are showing us all how to do it in our own cities. Ministry to widows, orphans, strangers and captives—this is real gospel ministry.  God has positioned Young Life perfectly to be His hand in the lives of these kids and God is literally dropping these kids from the worst and hardest places on the planet into our backyards. Wow! Join the leaders in Africa, the Middle East, the Snyders and others as we figure out how to love and reach these kids and their families.

Written By:  Steve Larmey

steve@ylafrica.com

 

**If you, or someone you know, is working with refugees in a YL context please email (kimberlygraceyl@gmail.com ) The YL Global Innovation and Training office so we can help them connect to others who are reaching these students in these unlikely places.

 

 

Global TRAINING | "Now That's An Acronym I Can REALLY Use:" IDP

Welcome YL’s newest TLA (Three Letter Acronym)

We do love our TLA's in YL. I’m sure you can think of a few right now.  Today, we want to focus on one really important TLA: IDP.

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“The IDP, or individual development plan, is a tool to assist employees in career and personal development. Its primary purpose is to help employees reach short and long-term career goals, as well as improve current job performance. An IDP is not a performance evaluation tool or a one-time activity.”

This amazing tool (which comes in many shapes and forms, ours is at the link at the end of this article) is for you, me, and every person that works for YL. It’s a simple, structured way to think about your development as a person and an employee of YL. It will make all of us better servants of the Kingdom.

More Clarity Around The IDP:    

  •  The IDP is not your set of goals for the year. It is focused on your personal and professional development.
  • You are responsible for developing your IDP. Hopefully you will discuss this on a regular basis (3 or 4 times a year) with your supervisor, but it really grows out of your particular desires for growth as a staff person.
  • It is a tool that will help you get clearer about what your gifts are and what you are really passionate about.
  • It is to be used regularly! It is simple, one page, and made for efficiency. You can add as much to it as you want but it is great ast  is: 4 simple (and rich) questions.

Experience is a great teacher... IF you learn from it. Similarly, the IDP will be a great tool... IF you use it. JUST GET STARTED! Right now follow these links (or put it in your schedule to do):

Look at the IDP, find some time to fill it out, and then schedule a time to go over it with your supervisor. This conversation could help decide your next YL training, camp assignment, or even ministry assignment. You can also get input from a mentor, your committee chair, or anyone who knows and cares about you. Now put “review IDP” in your schedule every four months. You’re on your way. You’ll never regret it! This is one of the best investments you can make, in yourself, in Young Life, and the Kingdom.

 

Written by:  John Evans

jevans80@mac.com    

 

Observations From Our Committee/Area Survey

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During my first week on YL staff, I got a call from my Regional Director.  He had sent out a letter and survey to our area committee about the new season of YL in our area.  At the end of the letter he asked them about their ongoing involvement on the local committee. He was calling to tell me that all of them had chosen to step off the committee at this time....ALL of them.  

Because I didn’t really know what a YL committee did, I wasn’t overly concerned by the news.  It was two years later, after operating without a committee, after knowing that anything that needed to be done in the area would have to be done by me, after feeling more and more alone in my life and ministry...that I begged a couple I had just met to help me build a committee.  I’m still not sure why they said “yes,” but they did and I soon learned what a gift it is to have a group of adults who shared God’s call to reach kids in our local area.

From that first committee couple (still some of my closest friends) to our Board of Trustees, I am amazed at the caliber, character, and commitment of those God leads to serve on a YL committee or board.  Almost 40 years later, I am even more convinced that we cannot and will not reach all the kids God has called us to reach without them.

Committees Today:  Our Recent Survey

We recently sent a survey to committee chairs and staff across the mission.  The good news is...we got great feedback! The even better news is that committees want to be more involved with staff in reaching kids.  Here are a few of the highlights:

  • 544 Committee Chairs (CC’s) and 619 staff completed the survey

  • 70% of CC’s were donors first

  • 1/3 of CC’s were involved with YL as a kid

  • 78% of CC’s and 58% of staff view “partnership with AD” as primary role of committee

  • CC’s view themselves as having a significant role in the spiritual health of the staff and leaders in their area

Some Observations:

  • Consistent communication between AD and CC (44% of AD’s meet with their CC’s 2x/month or more) is key!

  • Attention to the definition of Committee roles and purpose is vital.

  • The use and involvement of set subcommittees to work alongside the committee at large is on the rise and is healthy for growth.

  • There is a desire for more training for CC’s from Region/Division/Mission levels.

  • More contextual work needs to be done in how committee looks like in different types of settings.

  • There is a desire for collaboration and shared best practices among CC’s.

 

So what do you do with this information?

  • Stop and thank God for the men and women in your ministry!

  • Pick up the phone and verbally express gratitude to them.

  • Focus on the connection between CC and Area Director on a more regular and deeper level.

  • Review the survey results with your entire Committee, perhaps even do your own Committee survey for more conversations.

  • Click this link for Committee Resources and look for more to come from Global Innovation and Training to help staff and committees grow together in our call to reach and teach kids.

 

Written by John Vicary
jvicary@sc.younglife.org