Middle school kids need Jesus. Because of the ways God created their minds and hearts, young teenagers are often more open to the gospel. “Recent studies we have conducted show that the beliefs a person holds at age 13 vary little during their adult years. The most effective way to influence such beliefs is by teaching people when they are young and still in a spiritually formative stage,” said George Barna, founder of the Barna Group.
You have a longer window to help kids grow in their faith. When kids begin a relationship with Jesus in sixth grade, your leaders get to spend the next six years helping them learn what it looks like to follow Jesus and give their lives away. Imagine the fruit that can appear in those years.
When your area has WyldLife, you will be a part of changing kids’ lives for eternity. WyldLife can also impact parents, donors, leaders and the area as a whole. A healthy WyldLife ministry can produce these significant secondary benefits:
Parent connections. Because parents manage the schedules, transportation and finances of their middle school children, WyldLife leaders must get to know, earn the trust and communicate regularly with parents. Relationships with WyldLife parents can efficiently and organically open doors to parents serving in many ways.
New and longer-term donors. Parents are still actively involved in the lives of their middle school kids, so they will notice leaders who care for their kids. Because of what they see firsthand, they may be willing to give financially throughout their children’s time in middle school and high school.
High school discipleship. WyldLife started in some areas more than 40 years ago because leaders wanted their high school Campaigners kids to know how to share their lives and the gospel with others. When your area has WyldLife, you have a built-in discipleship opportunity for your high school friends.
Bigger pool of leaders. High school students can be great WyldLife leaders, but they need to serve alongside adults who provide maturity and stability. Teachers, coaches and middle school parents are great potential leaders. WyldLife may include only two clubs and two Campaigners a month, and contact work is often done with groups instead of one-on-one. This lighter schedule may make WyldLife an option for some great adult leaders.
Area stability. Staff who start with WyldLife in an area before adding Young Life point to WyldLife as the stabilizing factor. The solid parent support and existing relationships with kids contribute to this consistency.
Written by: Julie Clapp, Mission Director of WyldLife