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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.


  • 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)