See You On Broadway: A GLOBAL MINISTRY but ONE MISSION

“Broadway” to Africa and the Middle EastHow did that happen?”  What do Broadway Musicals and ministry in Africa/Middle East have in common?  Well, at first glance...not much.  However, this innovative fundraising event actually makes perfect sense.  In the greater Denver area, there is a dynamic faith community of music lovers, theater goers, and committed Young Life fans who get together each year to put on a performance like none other.  The ‘Big Idea’ surrounding Broadway to Africa (BTA) (a vision started by Shelley Sadler and a few others) was simply to have a musical experience, focused on Broadway show tunes, with the proceeds from the performances going to support ministry in Africa and the Middle East.  What could be easier? ...just wait. 

broadway-c-2.gif

Young Life is present all over the country and around the world.  From small towns to International, cities to college communities, to 103+ countries around the globe to over 1,300 YL Areas, 81,000 Volunteers and 5000 staff.  In the midst of being in so many locations it can become a challenge to be truly together as ONE MISSION.  The scripture verse that has surrounded BTA over the years has been Zephaniah 3:17, “...ours is a God who is with us...is mighty to save...delights in us...quiets us with His love...and (even) rejoices over us with singing”--a message we long to share.  Ours... We... Us…  Together  language!

When BTA began in 2011, there were 18 cast members, one performance, one dress rehearsal, and the event raised funding to offset the cost of one Young Life Africa Women’s Leadership Summit serving 35 staff.

Now, 8 years later there are:

  • 92 cast members, 

  • 4 months of rehearsals 

  • 10 sponsored Camps  (8 in Africa, and 2 in the Middle East). 

  • 4 performances

  • 3000 campers who will experience summer camp 

Without a doubt, the most beautiful part of the Broadway to Africa experience over the years has been the privilege of watching the Lord move in and tangibly affect not only students in Africa and the Middle East. However, the 125+ people involved in production (i.e., cast and crew, band, costume designers, directors, and “sponsors”) and the hundreds in the audience are also deeply impacted. Broadway to Africa is a really creative and powerful tool in helping change lives both in the US and all over Africa and the Middle East.   Steve Larmey (SVP A/ME)  reminds the audience each year that “literally thousands of young people go to camp and have an experience that, in Africa and the Middle East, they rarely get to have. When they may otherwise live in utter poverty, war zones, or orphanages, at camp these kids are are fed, cared for, safe, loved, known, and noticed, all in the name of Jesus.”  On the US-side Senior Director, Jennifer Condreay who has given her time to BTA since the beginning celebrates that  “each year our practice and rehearsal season is an amazing 16 weeks of hard work, joy, and fellowship!” 

It may be true that it takes a whole community to reach a community and when you do EVERYONE IS CHANGED!  That is what we have seen happen each year at Broadway to Africa. 

For more information about how you create your own ‘Kingdom-minded’ event contact Shelley Sadler  or to learn more about the production, just click here. This year the production in Denver is June 7-9th. Being one mission is not easy, but it really can be beautiful and you may just find yourself singing.  See you on Broadway! 



What Millennials Really Think About Evangelism

Where do millennials stand when it comes to talking about and sharing the gospel?

red-head-2-2.gif

“Is it right to share your faith with other people?”

“What does it look like?”

The answers to these questions may surprise you. Millennials face more hostility and challenges in a postchristian world, causing new trends in how faith is shared. The way that looks in real life has a different spin on it than it has been done in the past. If you’re wondering what millennials really think about evangelism, this article is full of hard numbers to understand exactly what they’re thinking.

Read the full article HERE

What the College Admissions Scandal Reveals

admissions-z-2.gif

If watching the college admissions scandal unfold makes you feel uneasy about young people's adulting journeys, you're not alone. Research studies and kitchen table conversations nationwide highlight that teenagers, both those applying to top-tier colleges as well as those making other educational and vocational decisions, face choices and challenges those most adults today never faced.

Read the full article HERE.

MOVING THE NEEDLE ON DISCIPLESHIP: QUESTIONS

output_FiNA9l-2.gif


Sometimes I wish we knew more about Jesus as a teenager. Who were his buddies? How did he spend his time as a kid? Did he win every game he ever played? When friends wondered how many stars were in the sky, did he tell them?

I wonder, don’t you?

For whatever reason, the Gospel writers give us precious little insight into the early life of Jesus, so going on wondering is about as good as we can do.

We do, though, get one scene in Jesus’ life between his infancy and his adult ministry. It’s an intriguing aside, tucked into Luke’s careful account, that I think it is profoundly relevant to those of us who work with young people. The scene warrants a closer look.

The story is in Luke 2:41-52. Try to picture it: after joining his family on a dutiful pilgrimage to Jerusalem, twelve-year-old Jesus skips out on the return trip home. Three long days later, during which time his parents frantically search for Jesus among their fellow-traveling friends, neighbors, and relatives, he finally shows up, sitting among the religious teachers, where he’d apparently been all along . . . while his parents went out of their minds with worry.

As a dad of a twelve-year-old, I can identify with Mary and Joseph’s frantic search for their missing kid. “Son, why have you treated us so? We’ve been looking for you anxiously!” You think?! So much for not being anxious about anything. What must have gone through their minds when, after a full day’s journey away from the big city, they realized their son wasn’t with them? And how must they have been feeling when a full day after that, they still hadn’t found him?

What strikes me most about this story, though, isn’t the reunion between Jesus and his parents but rather what he was doing in the temple when his parents finally found him. Think back to what you’ve heard or imagined about this scene. How do you envision it? Most people I’ve asked—even those familiar with the narrative—picture Jesus teaching the elders.

But that’s not what he was doing.

“After three days, they found him in the temple, sitting among the teacher, listening to them and asking questions.”

Jesus wasn’t teaching. He was asking questions.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The theology here is a little complicated. Before jumping to the conclusion that Jesus already knew the answers to the questions he was asking, keep in mind that in verse 52 we’re told that from this point on in his life, he continued to grow in wisdom. Jesus asked genuine questions with the goal of gaining insight. Jesus learned. And the teachers were amazed at his understanding.

I thank God for this little story and for the permission it gives you and me—as well as the kids we work with—to ask questions, too.

I wonder...

  • Do you, like Jesus, have teachers to sit amongst and ask questions?

  • Do you give space for kids to ask questions, whether in Club, Campaigners, or everyday conversation?

  • Do kids feel safe asking questions in those contexts?

  • Do you foster curiosity in those you lead so that they continue to ask bigger and bigger questions?

  • Do you willingly and humbly answer I don’t know to the questions you can’t answer, or do you feel pressured to always have an immediate answer?

I recently met Charlie, a 23-year-old follower of Jesus. During our conversation, he spoke about the many doubts and seemingly unanswerable questions that for years had kept him from following Christ. When I asked him what changed, he didn’t speak about having all his doubts erased and all his questions answered. Instead he told me about a mentor whose own questions were far more profound than the ones keeping Charlie from faith.

The honest questions of a faithful man gave Charlie permission to approach Jesus in faith, in spite of all he didn’t know or understand.

As a young leader, I felt a great deal of pressure to know all the answers and to win the argument as kids voiced their questions. Sometimes I still do. It’s taken wise counsel and discipline for me to learn that it’s okay to let questions hang in the silence for a while, and that often the best response isn’t a neatly packaged answer but rather another honest and inviting question.

Let’s be people who are honest with our doubts, who aren’t afraid to voice our questions, and who give others the freedom to share theirs as well. We’re in good company. Wonder is not the enemy of faith. It’s a prerequisite.


by Josh Powell (Metro Director, Hong Kong)



5 WAYS TO FAIL ON SOCIAL MEDIA

numbers-y-3.gif

Social media can be an enormous asset to your ministry! You’ve seen other areas of Young Life thrive on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and you’ve decided it’s time for you to follow suit. Social media is a huge opportunity for building community digitally, but it’s also a territory that can be very overwhelming. Because we know you’re eager to jump in and spreading the word about your ministry, here are our top five ways to FAIL on social media when you start firing off posts (DON’T DO THESE THINGS).


INCONSISTENCY

Don’t Start Something You Can’t Maintain

  • Don’t forget about your accounts or your audience! Establishing a pattern of consistency is key to keeping that audience and community engaged.

  • Don’t spread yourself too thin by creating a page or account you don’t plan on using.

  • Social media marketing done right can be very powerful for building a community and connecting people in your ministry. Depending on the size of your ministry, you may actually need several people dedicated to keeping your social media presence fresh and engaging.


GOING OVERBOARD

Don’t be Overbearing, but Don’t be Absent Either

  • Be smart about how often you post, and find the sweet spot for your ministry. If you have enough good content, try posting once a day. Otherwise 3-4 times a week should keep your audience engaged.

  • Depending on the type of ministry you’re representing, social media can be a great way for kids and parents to stay engaged. Make sure you keep up with both messages and responses.

  • Keep your social media efforts natural and authentic. Your online presence should be an accurate extension of your real-life ministry. Think photos vs. flyers (promotions).


BEING A SLOB

Don’t Have a Bad Design

  • Create a plan for how you want your account to look as a whole, and make sure it makes a great first impression! Today your social media presence can directly affect how people view your ministry (sad, but true).

  • For Instagram in particular, remember that your last 6-9 posts give a user their first impression, so try and keep your posts cohesive. If the goal of your social media efforts is to foster community, you want the visitor who lands on your page to want to be a part of that community.

  • Use a Young Life logo as the profile photo! For logo help, see here.



BEING CARELESS

Don’t Post Things You Shouldn’t

  • Don’t post confidential or personal information about kids.

  • Consult parents for permission whenever possible.

  • It’s not a good idea to post personal opinions on a Young Life area or club account, especially political opinions. These can be divisive, and it’s just not worth the battle (at least not on a digital/public forum). Be smart about what you share on your personal accounts as well, as you are an extension of your area’s/ministry’s account.

  • You’re speaking and posting on behalf of your ministry as a whole.

  • Avoid using the first person, “I” when posting.

WINGING IT

Don’t forget to have a plan

When it comes to your personal social media accounts, you’re totally free to “wing it.” But when it comes to marketing your ministry or organization, you need to have a plan. Developing a clear direction and sticking to your goals will greatly improve the effectiveness of your efforts.


Social media can be a powerful and integral part of your ministry strategy. It’s a great way to develop a community and spread the word about events, dates, and announcements. Our hope is to provide you with tips and tricks to use in your ministry and find new innovative ways to reach young people around the world!


Written by: Blake Anderson (banderson@sc.younglife.org)

The Banquet, ‘Our Finest Hour’

unnamed-2.gif


With all do respect, sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

In the 1995 film, Apollo 13, three astronauts are about to re-enter earth’s atmosphere. The expedition has been exceptionally difficult with a variety of complications, failures, and mishaps.  As the story goes, their re-entry is likely their demise. In this scene, two NASA directors whisper about the ensuing tragedy:

“I know the problems, Henry. This could be the worst disaster NASA has ever experienced!”

Flight Director, Gene Kranz (Ed Harris) picks up on their conversation and offers this iconic line: “I believe this will be our finest hour.”

In Young Life, we have alot of compelling moments-  A week at Camp, the 55 Minutes of organized chaos with a purpose- The YL Club, The most beautiful thing we do via Contact Work…. and the list goes on.  

What if our local Banquets were, in fact, our finest hour?

In the North Puget Sound Region in Washington state, we’re working alongside the Field Events team on a pilot project that offers resources to support local fundraising events. We recognize that most Areas have dreams and hope to create excellent banquets and other such events; and these efforts often can be improved or elevated with the right help.

There’s a huge variance across our mission in what defines a banquet. Your event is unique, and it should be! However, we consistently hear about people reaching out to others to recruit their expertise. If you want a great speaker you pay attention to where one might be and invite them to come speak. We do the same for auctioneers, MC’s, Program teams, graphic designers, and other spaces that you want the very best.

What if our very best resources were offered from a central point?

The Banquet Project is making the valiant effort to offer a menu where an Area can piece together all they need to see their dreams realized. Earlier articles in the 5 For Friday talk about the essentials of a banquet:  two goals of every banquet and three questions to ask after your banquet. Now, we’re asking what any Area could possibly need to reach those goals and answer those questions. The team is compiling this list and forming the access point for Area Staff. Most importantly this effort could change the banquet culture.  

What if we experienced our banquet the way we experience camp?

They each take an exorbitant amount of energy to setup, they peel us apart at times, we spare no expense to make them excellent, and it feels like a small miracle that it all happened. However, our camping effort ends with a full heart and great memories; it spurs our ministry forward and we share the story all year! Could our banquet end with the same enthusiasm? Could you imagine standing at the front end of your main fundraising event and knowing that the end result will be the definition of the following year in ministry?

Our hope is provide every resource necessary to make your banquet the finest hour in your ministry.  Talk to your Regional Director or Committee Chair if you have questions or input—especially if you’re doing something similar in your area—and contact our office directly by replying to this email for more information

Written By:  Blake Raney (blakeraney@gmail.com)



FINDING HOPE AT THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

sundance-B.gif

In late January, I experienced my YL Training Timeline class at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City UT.  One day as I waited in line for my 3rd film of the day, the person next to me leaned over and asked, “Are you a filmmaker?” I laughed, “Me? Nope! I’m here with Young Life staff for training!” Another “Only in Young Life” moment.

IMG_0470.jpeg

A group of 15 YL staff joined 250 Students from 22 Organizations, Seminaries, and Universities for a week of looking at the intersection of Faith and Film through conversations with each other Directors, Producers, Screenwriters and Actors.  It was amazing and so instrumental in equipping me in my day to day work with kids. Robert Redford is credited with starting the festival in 1985 believing that “society relies on storytellers”.  Over the last several decades, the chance to share your story at Sundance has become a filmmaker’s dream. Over the course of the Festival over 40,000 people descend on Park City,UT (pop. 8,378). This year, there was an astonishing 14,259 film submissions, of which only a select 112 feature-length films were chosen! The filmmakers are truly cultural theologians in how they identify longing, brokenness, need, and hope.  One short film “Period. End of Sentence” was founded by a high school, listing a bake sale and yogathons as funding in the end credits. It felt like “us,” how we’ll do whatever it takes to fundraise get a kid to camp.

So….how did we end up there? The Windrider Forum gathers a group of believers at the Festival to explore faith in the midst of culture’s primary form of storytelling - film.   The group was named after the Hebrew word ‘ruach’, meaning “wind” or “spirit.” The class was engaging, challenging and informative. Truly, the Sundance Film Festival may be one of the last cultural events that allow the YL Staffer to truly be 1 step ahead of the culture. We were challenged to have eyes to see and ears to hear where the Spirit of God was moving as we watched.

“Filmmakers are the poets and sages of our time” was a mantra we kept hearing. Each filmmaker risks to say something, to tell a story, to ask a question about real issues – mental illness, the death penalty, race, immigration, disability. And yet so many directors paint the world as they see it – broken, dark, unjust, without any sign of hope. The average Netflix user watches 71 minutes per day….numbing, consuming, grasping for something, being spoon-fed some version of truth. When I think about my Young Life kids’ learning about life through a screen, it doesn’t seem fair, it’s not the whole story, it’s not often a complete picture.

One film called “Gaza,” showed raw and broken snapshots of daily life in a war-torn streets of the Gaza Strip. I was trying to have eyes to find a glimmer of hope amidst scenes of wreckage, but I struggled. Another YL staffer later said, “You know, they have Young Life in Gaza.” Young Life in Gaza!! I got tears in my eyes, there it is:  hope! God’s writing a way bigger story sending light onto the streets of the Gaza strip.

So we wrestled with questions - how can we, as believers, become redemptive storytellers?  How do not only be students of students but also be students of the culture? It’s what YL does so well, we go into the world of kids. What if we watched with a different lens – looking for hope?  Then we would truly have a message worth seeing and sharing.

Keep an eye out:

Some of our favorite films to look out for include “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” “The Farewell,” “Luce,” and “Moonlight Sinata.” Missed it this year? No fear, you should save the date for the next year it is offered.

Written by: Kaitlyn Ousley (kaitlyn.ousley3@gmail.com)





WHAT HAPPENS IN A SMALL GROUP...SOMETIMES NEEDS TO BE SHARED!  (My Trip to NST)

Copy of Copy of 5FORFRIDAY-4.png


32 years ago, my wife and I attended New Staff Training (NST) at Trail West Lodge.  I vividly remember the impact of the teaching, the modeling, and the Christ-centered tone with which the experience launched us into ministry.

Fast Forward to 2019, Lori and I had the privilege of serving as Small Group Leaders at New Staff Training.  Over the past fifteen years, I have popped in for a 24 hour visit to our NST to cheer on these brand new mission leaders as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime.  However, this time was different. This time we treated our visit like a Summer Assignment: engaging as many of the 300 attendees as we could.

We….

  • Shared meals and led a small group of thirteen New Staff (which felt like Cabin Time).  

  • We also attended class each day, giving us a chance to hear what our new staff are being taught these days, and helping them translate what they heard into their context.  

  • We enjoyed how thoughtful the schedule was:  the priority was prayer, personal spiritual life and it was Jesus first.  I promise, I’m not making this up…there were many blocks of alone time to reflect and process; it felt like a good rhythm and pace.

We left our week with full hearts, greatly encouraged and inspired by the amazing people the Lord is sending to join our staff!  That room of 300+ folks truly are the future of our mission. They are an answer to prayer, as we all ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up workers in His field (Matthew 9:38).  We, as a mission, are doing everything we can to encourage and support them as they launch into this Grand Adventure of proclaiming the life-giving love of Jesus Christ across the globe.  

Here are a few take a ways I might ask you to consider.  

  • LISTEN- LEARN:  If you currently supervise New Staff, go buy them a cup of coffee and ask them to reflect on their experience.  Ask them about what feels most relevant to you now a month later?

  • VOLUNTEER:  Every year, the Training Team is tasked with recruiting 30+ experienced staff to serve in this role.  This opportunity may be one of the best kept secrets in our mission. Travel and lodging costs are covered by the Training Department.  You are well-equipped each day with resources and have an opportunity to learn from other small group leaders who have been serving in this role for years. If you’re looking for an opportunity to serve our mission, encourage and steward new staff and hear how we are equipping them for their roles back home,  please contact the training department. (training@sc.younglife.org)

* ONE NOTE: due to YL2020 coming up, NST will be held in August at WFR (Washington Family Ranch).

Written by Pete Johnson (peterfjohnson@mac.com)



The Simplicity (and Beauty) of the Handoff!

unnamed.gif

In August 2014, I received an email from a Young Life College staff person at Miami University of Ohio that read, “Could you send me a list of the freshman coming our way? We're gearing up for a big year!” After looking into our Alumni and Friends network, we were able to send information on 44 high school graduates that were heading to their way! Five years later we got an update on what happened with those 44…

  • All 44 were contacted and received a personal invitation to stay connected to Young Life and get involved at their school.

  • 25 became Young Life leaders!

  • 14 are still leading post-college!

  • 2 are on Young Life staff or participating in a Summer Internship!

This is one class, one school, one story, in the midst of thousands!

  • Did you know that last year we were able to stay connected to and serve more than 26,600 graduates from the high school class of 2018?

  • Did you know that the office of Alumni and Friends responded to more than 600 staff requests for information on incoming freshman to their universities and areas?

  • Did you know that this effort has ripple effects touching individual lives, families, ministries and mission units in the U.S. and abroad?

  • Did you know that we are working diligently to provide the opportunity to stay connected students in the 103 Countries around the World where YL has a presence?

  • Did you know that we are only scratching the surface of the potential?

Conservative estimates are that there are more than 90,000 high school graduates every year in the U.S. alone who were involved with Young Life. Whether heading to college, the military, or the work force, these graduates are going through a significant transition and many want to stay connected. Giving them this opportunity is an extension of our commitment to discipleship and helping them “grow in their faith.” This effort will also result in more people being capable and willing to serve in numerous ways for years to come.

So, what can you do? (5 EASY STEPS)

  1. Every region in the U.S has an Alumni Advocate/Graduate Manager. Listen to them. See who they are HERE.

  2. Make sure you’re capturing information on the students you and your leaders know. Club cards are not a thing of the past, they are a crucial first step to staying connected to, and serving your graduates.

  3. Check out our Graduate Campaign web-resources, and consider growing your local effort.

  4. Prepare seniors for their upcoming transition and the opportunity to stay connected to Young Life.

Got 3 minutes? Well, we’ve got a video for you!



For more information about the the process of connecting High School Graduates to Colleges and Universities with a YLC presence, follow this LINK.

Written By: Jonathan Schultz (jschultz@sc.younglife.org)

Listen Up!  The Power of Listening in Discipleship


output_wQl8Kb-2.gif

After following Jesus for more than four decades, one thing has become crystal clear to me: being and becoming a disciple of Christ is our highest calling in life. Period.
Jesus cares infinitely more about our own lives being transformed into God’s planned design than about anything else. All the good and noble activities we do (or fail to do) for the Lord, including discipling others, are simply the methods by which we grow to become more like Him. It will be out of our own overflowing relationship with Jesus that we lead generations of sons and daughters back into the family of God. I always knew this in theory, but I finally knew it in my soul after a season of searching discontent.

Listening to Myself (Unexpected Discontent)

Too often in life, after spending years pursuing and finally achieving our goals – whether those are tied to vocation, education, relationships, accomplishments, achievements, even spiritual advancement – we find ourselves still longing for more. In my own life, this happened after landing a new job, completing a second advanced degree, beginning married life, buying a new home, and more. In some ways, I had it all. I had every reason to be content and satisfied. But there were deeper longings of my soul tugging at my heart, which ironically had been planted and prompted by one of my accomplishments. Completing my MDiv required deep reflection on my spiritual formation and intentional focus on becoming more like Jesus rather than doing more for Jesus. Looking back, I see that the Holy Spirit was tuning my heart and soul to the dial where God was trying to get my attention. Though I lacked clarity about the specific source of my discontent and longing, I needed to acknowledge and name it in order to move beyond it.

We must listen to the rumblings of our hearts and souls in order to grow.

Listening to A Guide (Wise Discipling)

Fortunately, I had a trusted mentor who both sensed the state of my soul and listened to the Holy Spirit’s nudging. “What do you want, Carolyn?” she asked me. And I thought to myself, “I have no idea.” But now that a wise and trusted friend had put the situation into words and had challenged me, I couldn’t ignore things. After a full life of following Jesus, I still needed a teacher and guide to nudge me forward. We never outgrow that need. And when we are in a spiritually dry place, we need it that much more.

We must listen to trusted and wise advisors when God speaks to us through them.

Listening to the Holy Spirit (Questions and Creation)

I knew I needed to take time to be still, to listen, to learn, and to discern God’s voice. So I cleared my calendar and created a Sabbath. I arrived at 4pm, just before sunset, exhausted, uncomfortable, and slightly irritated by all the unknowns that come with saying “yes” to meeting with the Lord in a quiet place for an extended time. As a people-pleasing task-oriented doer, this kind of thing can be difficult. “Alright, Lord. I’m here. Now what?” The answer had nothing to do with pleasing people or doing tasks.
“Take a nap. Rest yourself. Stay a while.”

So I did. I slept until just before sunrise the next day, waking in my small monastery cell to a brilliant sky filled with morning stars, and the particular beauty of a frozen river in the early stages of thaw. I had nothing but time. I settled myself on the portico, watching birds soar effortlessly, wings fully extended, stretched out on the power of the wind beneath them in the winter daybreak.

I heard the same question my mentor had asked me, this time directly from the Holy Spirit. “What do you want, Carolyn?” But now I had an answer. “I want to soar like those majestic birds who trust the wind, and the One who controls the wind, to live their fullest expression of life. I want that!!”

We must create quiet space where we can be with God and listen to the Holy Spirit.

Listening to Love (Deep Discipleship)

From that day until now, my journey with Jesus as His disciple has deepened in ways I could not have imagined. His well of more is bottomless. The only limits are the ones we impose out of ignorance, fear, or a worldly focus. He will give us life that runs over with limitless love and blessing – but that will likely require us to limit other areas of our lives so that we can remain with Jesus and so that our lives proclaim God’s grace and goodness.

We must listen to God reminding us that being with Him and growing into Him is the most important thing in our lives. That is the first and most important part of our ministry to others.

Written by: Carolyn Harrison, Bronx Regional Director (carolyn.younglife@gmail.com)

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Student Leadership Project

To read the April, 2018 article HERE to learn about the Student Leadership Project (SLP). Below, you can read a first-person account from Jamisen, a recent SLP Assigned Team Member. She puts into words what many others have said: SLP offers all the things we love most about discipleship and ministry. Here’s what Jamisen had to say about her experience:

IMG_0420.jpg

This summer I had the privilege of serving on assignment in Minneapolis, MN on Student Leadership Project (SLP). I knew very little about this assignment, but many friends who had previously served encouraged me to wait, see, and be flexible! I arrived at Bethel University with eight other staff people and 20 high school students. Our full group included people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. I’d come from the small city of Lexington, Kentucky. My co-leader was from the Bronx. We had students from California, North Carolina, Washington, and Colorado.  For the next two weeks we would share experiences, learn from one another, serve and encounter Christ in so many new ways.

SLP sets out to take your students who are natural leaders in their schools and equip them to be Godly, multiethnic leaders in their communities. This unique discipleship opportunity allows students (and those on the Assigned Team) to learn from a wide range of Christian leaders and teachers. It also provides them a space to put into practice all that they are absorbing. They do this through a combination of classroom instructional time, small group discussion, and hand selected experiences that expand perspective and push students out of their comfort zone. SLP is set in a big city so that students can experience a wide variety of cultures that are present in the United States. SLP gives students the chance to truly learn how to serve and love every kind of neighbor in every kind of community in the manor of Christ.

Each student had to complete a final project by the end of their two weeks. This project was to reflect what the student was taking home from their experience at SLP back to their communities. When the projects were all displayed, it was a truly beautiful depiction of hope for the future. One student from a town that is 97% white expressed that before his SLP experience, he had never learned from anyone who didn’t look like him. He was so excited to go home and share with the people in his ministry all that he had learned about being a leader in a diverse world. Another student expressed how she was refreshed and affirmed of her calling to stay in her town to influence the kids in her community to pursue their education to change the trajectory of their lives.

I am fully convinced that the 20 students who were sent out from SLP will not only be bringing the gospel to their communities, but will also be the leaders of tomorrow who affect change for the Kingdom of God across the country. 

SLP will have a handful of sites around the US this summer with limited spots available to qualified students.  For more information or to apply for admission into this life changing Leadership Development program, please follow this link

Written by:  Jamisen Manley, Director of Development (Lexington, KY) jamisenroutt.yl.lex@gmail.com

Unwrapping the Gift of Healthy Supervision

A recent 5 for Friday ‘ONE QUESTION SURVEY’ asked a simple question about supervision:

“What are the top three qualities you want in a supervisor?”  Hundreds of you responded! Thank You, for responding! Below are the qualities that were listed to choose from:

  • strong leadership

  • emotional stability

  • encouragement and affirmation

  • clarity on expectations

  • empathy and compassion

  • integrity

  • disciplined and focused

  • solid communication skills

  • coaching and mentoring skills

  • flexibility and accessibility

  • clarity on expectations

  • wise and strong knowledge base

  • Confident

  • Others?  _______________

AND THE TOP 3 ANSWERS WERE…..

  • FLEXIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY

  • STRONG LEADERSHIP

  • SOLID COMMUNICATION SKILLS

The results may not be surprising because the qualities we want from a boss are understandable.  

  • We want to be noticed so we want someone to SEE us,  (Accessibility)

  • We want to give input so we want someone to HEAR  us.  (Communication)

  • We want to learn and grow so it makes sense that we want someone to stretch,develop and CHALLENGE us.  (Leadership)

But wait, in the COMMENTS section these desired qualities were also suggested:

  • Spiritually mature

  • Humble

  • Macro-manager

  • Detail oriented

  • Visionary

  • Speaks truth in love

  • Servant leader

  • Innovative/creative

And what about these attributes that didn’t make the list:

  • Loyal/committed

  • Teacher

  • Courageous

  • Listener

  • High EQ, CQ, OQ, SQ (all the Q’s)

  • Holds accountability

  • Health conscious

  • Learner/listener

  • Professional

  • Authentic

  • Trainer

So, what about a second question- “How do you 'get’ what you need from a supervisor?”

We know that no one can be all of the things listed above. Besides, our ability to receive good supervision is filtered through our own perspective.  Although we may never agree on the most important qualities in a supervisor because of our own uniqueness, there are different qualities we need in a supervisor as we grow, mature and change.

Bottom line:  You can’t design your supervisor, but you can design your supervision.

Supervisors, have the conversation with the people you lead. Let them know what you expect and what you can offer them. Let staff know why you believe what you believe about supervision. Importantly, it’s not just up to the supervisor to design.

Staff person, a form of “leading up” is letting your supervisor know what you need in supervision. In no way is it a demand, it is a conversation. Sure, you won’t be asking your supervisor to be MORE confident, but you can ask them to be clear regarding expectations. Maybe you let them know you respond best when you have time to ask questions for clarity or that mentorship is of great value to you.

Together, you can work to meet the needs.

Now what?  So, do you as the supervisor or staff person need to have a conversation? Is it a good time to provide clarity or ask for what you need? If you think yes, then do something about it right now. Make a call now, set up a check-in, write out what would be helpful and discuss supervision. Supervisors want to be effective and as staff people we need to be supported----Have a conversation.

Written by Reid Estes estescoaching@gmail.com



Leveling Up Our Ministry Model

In our Mission, Methods, and Values document it states that Young Life accomplishes its mission by “going where kids are and building personal relationships with them.”  But, what if “where kids are” is on their screens, online playing video games? Do we go there?

7ugs-2.gif

We do if the values we list on our website are correct.  We say that we value “the next kid - developing innovative approaches to reach the uncommitted, disinterested young people around the world.”

According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of 9 hours a day online and much of that time is dedicated to gaming. Ask any staff person what keeps kids from coming to club and you’ll be very likely to hear the word, “Fortnite.”  And they’re not just skipping club. According to a recent survey by LendEDU, 35 percent of high school and college Fortnite players admit to having skipped school to play.

So if that’s where kids today are, why wouldn’t we try to find a way to meet them there?  

Some might argue that video games are not relational.  You might picture a kid alone in his room staring at a screen with a headset on.  While that may be true in many instances, significant investors in the US are betting on that dynamic changing.  Arlington, Texas is home to the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium and the Texas Rangers Globe Life Park. Not satisfied with that, this year the city announced it's getting yet another new stadium -- one that will home to one of the fastest growing sectors in the sports entertainment world, eSports.  Arlington is partnering with Esports Venues to open a new 100,000-square-foot, 1,000-seat eSports Stadium right between the Cowboys and Rangers. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones himself has purchased his own eSports franchise to compete there.

The  point?  It’s not just a single kid in his own bedroom anymore.

Hong Kong Young Life Metro Director Josh Powell sees great potential in reaching kids through gaming.  “We were considering opening a gaming house storefront and staffing it with YL leaders as a business to meet and engage kids that we'd never otherwise meet and to practice hospitality, and have a venue for gatherings and ministry events,” says Powell.

This idea came to him when he saw the places where kids were hanging out. “Most of these gaming places in Hong Kong are dark dens of nothing good.  They're packed with kids, mostly boys,” continued Powell. “I was imagining us opening up something similar but with a twist and adding an element of YL hospitality into the mix to see if we might build a profitable and unique ministry opportunity.”   If you are wondering what YL Founder, Jim Rayburn might say about all of this, I think it might be good to go back and look at what he said in the original Young Life training manual.

  • “Why not seize on new methods and different ways, especially when the old have largely lost their hold on young people? Why not seek the MOST EFFECTIVE way of getting a hearing for the gospel?  Are you sold on trying to find the most effective way?”

  • “I am never going to be satisfied with what HAS BEEN done; the job must be DONE BETTER than before.”

  • “The Campaign is committed to getting the Gospel to young people by ANY, AND EVERY  means that God may direct.”

I think Rayburn would say it’s worth a shot to meet kids where they are.  Do you currently have some type of “Gamer” outreach ministry in your area?  If so, would you email me, Brian Summerall, at bsummerall@mac.com and tell me about it?  You could be on the ground floor of something new.

Written by Josh Powell & Brian Summerall, bsummerall@mac.com



A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

10 Years of wisdom, over 200 podcasts, in 9 minute, bite-sized portions


“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him.” - James 1:5 (MEV)

output_mIedOi-2.gif

For over ten years, the Field Development Team has hosted over 200 podcasts for committee chairs, committee members and staff. According to our most recent survey, most committees feel unprepared in the ministry of fundraising. Many staff are looking for a few quick ideas and encouragement to improve their funding efforts.  

There is help available. Hosts Pat Rhoades and Greg Lehman share insights from their work in Young Life Development.  From time to time, there are insightful guests and stories from the field.  They offer an entertaining and engaging look at topics such as area fundraising, community ownership, donor care, relational best practices and more. Utilizing this resource with your Committee could be a game changer for fundraising in your area.

  • Consider listening in with your Committee and staff

  • Subscribe to the podcast (new episodes twice a month)

  • Pick a podcast to listen to before your next Committee or financial team meeting and discuss what you could use in your area to strengthen your fundraising.

  • Follow Field Development on Twitter

The Young Life Funding Help podcast can be found at YLFundingHelp.org on iTunes and Google Play by searching for “ylfundinghelp”. Successful area funding requires opening our hearts and minds up to what the Lord wants to do. Remember that you are not alone!  Visit YLFundingHelp.org for the latest podcast!  “Jesus said, ‘If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.’” - Mark 9:23 (MSG)

Here are links TOP 10 PODCASTS  to help you get started:

  1. Walking by Faith in Fundraising - This podcast asks the important question: “Does your area live by faith and not by sight?” Faith is generated through practice; we get to use fundraising as our generator.

  2. Helping Donors Catch Young Life - This podcast gives advice to help donors catch the vision for Young Life.  It can be hard to explain in words, but we can help them see and experience what we do.

  3. Who to Ask:  This Podcast talks through how to decide who to engage with and who to talk to in your funding strategy.

  4. The Why Behind Events - In this episode we discuss how events fit into our year-round relationships with donors.

  5. Levels of Engagement - In this episode we discuss how to understand the levels of engagement of your donors to better help you cultivate them and bring them deeper into the ministry.

  6. Keeping Donors Happy - In this episode we discuss how to invite your donors in as partners within your ministry instead of leaving them on the outside.

  7. The Value of a Question - In this episode we discuss how to invite donors in by asking questions and inviting them in to be a bigger part of the story.

  8. Raising More Monthly Donors - In this episode we discuss the importance of monthly donors and how to engage more monthly donors.

  9. Understanding Your Donors Why - In this episode we discuss the importance of understanding your Donor’s “Why” in order to cultivate and engage in closer relationships with them.

  10. What Fundraising Is Really All About with Brent Cunningham - In this episode we discuss ways to have a healthy (and possibly a different) perspective on fundraising.


Written by Pat Rhoades prhoades@sc.younglife.org