Global Committees

September 2019 Global Committees


Q.  Why should we do Young Life? 

Q.  Aren’t there other organizations out in the world sharing the gospel? 

Q.  What does healthy Young Life ministry look like? 

These were all questions that Jim Rayburn (founder of Young Life) and other staff explored in 1942 at a staff gathering. These questions are still ones we ask today in all sorts of contexts. Regardless of time passing, much of what Jim shared here is helpful for us in Young Life. It’s a good reminder to help us know our role as leaders, boards, community peers, and representatives of the ministry.

Global Committees August 2019

This should be required for EVERY Committee Member

When I was an Area Director I heard about an area that had term limits and a wait list for Committee members. I shared this at a Committee Meeting and you should have seen the bewildered looks – shock, awe, and disbelief. The conversation quickly turned to, “if only people could SEE what Young Life is doing, they’d be all in and we’d have a wait list, too.  How do we show them?”  

What if I told you that the most strategic way to build a vibrant committee, and let’s get crazy here – a WAIT LIST of potential committee members – was to do the same thing your area is already doing with kids, but with adults? TAKE THEM TO CAMP! We constantly tell kids that Young Life is something that they need to “see to understand,” and yet, we convince ourselves that describing what we do to adults will paint a full picture. Our words won’t do justice in translating the abundance, intentionality, connection, quality, sacrifice, and transformation we see at camp in the same way that being in the room for a Say So will.  

Jim Rayburn’s original vision is still the central focus of the adult guest experience: The adult guest experience is a window on the mission for adults to discover and further their understanding of the mission, both locally and mission wide.

Did you know…

  • We have 15 Adult Guest lodges in the U.S.

  • There are 154 Adult Guest Host openings every summer.

  • Adult Guest Hosts get to reserve TWO rooms to bring their friends!

  • With 918 guest rooms available in a summer, we can accommodate up to 1,836 adult guests for full week stays. 

  • Between 2016-2018, on average, an individual who participated in the adult guest program increased their annual giving by 21%.

Okay great, so you’re a believer – now, what? What if your area established and implemented an Adult Guest camping strategy? Here’s a quick timeline to follow:

  • September – With your Area Director, identify 2-4 people on your committee who have never been to a Young Life camp.

  • December – Convince them to attend camp as adult guests and work with your Area Director to sign them up.

  • Summer – While they’re at camp, encourage them to think about their prayer list, or the people in their community who should be “on this trip next summer.”

  • November – Have those guests serve as Adult Guest Hosts and bring their friends next summer.


What if someone on your committee pursued adults in the same way a leader might pursue students to go to camp? With intentionality and relational connection?  Not taking NO for an answer? Looking for “key” or “strategic” guests who could impact your local ministry? Praying to “fill a cabin (or guest lodge, in this case)” starting in August? 

It’s worth the risk – chase after adults, believing that seeing hundreds of lives transformed by the gospel in a week will impact them and turn them from a participant to an influencer or vision carrier! 

By Kristy Clifford (


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Putting on a fundraiser can be daunting, frustrating and overwhelming. Or… It can be awesome.  After speaking and singing at 400+ Young Life fundraisers I’ve seen it all.

Here’s my top 10 list, ranking what things are most important to focus on when you are striving to ‘up your fundraiser game’ (ranked from least important to most important). Drum roll, please!!!

10.  PROGRAM. Good program characters can add the YL flavor to a fundraiser, but be careful because skits and games can end up being huge ‘time suckers’ which can be counter to a tight event.  If you do it- Make it great! 

9.  FOOD. It’s important to make your fundraiser feel inviting, but don’t spend a gajillion dollars on food! Most people just want to have something good and simple. Go for elegance over extravagance.
8.  A/V. Invest in a sound system that suits the needs of the venue and hire a pro to run it. It is worth it, I promise!! If you are using videos, make sure you have the A/V person practice showing them several times over before the event. How many times have you been to a banquet where the video failed? My answer… WAY too many. 

7.  VENUE. Choose a place that facilitates great communication with your guests. Outdoor venues can be great, but they also come with the biggest risks:  uncertain weather, sound issues, etc. That is stressful!! Choose a place that is right for the size and ‘feel’ for your audience. Also, it’s often overlooked, but lighting matters! Ambiance matters! People will focus and enjoy themselves much more when you have cozy lighting with a spot lit stage. 

6.  CONNECTION TIME. YL fundraisers can be one of the greatest ways to bring a community together. Make sure you carve out time for people to mingle, laugh and connect as a community!

5.  SPEAKER. I’ve been the ‘keynote speaker’ for most of my 400 plus fundraisers, but I’ve also attended plenty of YL banquets as a guest, and I can tell you this for sure… Who you choose to speak and ask for involvement and financial support matters! A great speaker will not only engage your guests, but they will also take the opportunity to share the gospel and inspire them to get involved and give (in the form of invitation, not obligation). When you hire a ‘professional’ to cast the YL vision and ask for involvement and funding, it almost always translates into more engagement and more money pledged. That’s a fact, Jack (Just ask ‘Ash’☺)!

4.  STAFF Presentation. Other than the kids you are ministering to, who do guests want to hear from the most? YOU! They want to hear where you’ve been, where you are and where you are going so they can get a vision for what you are building in your area. ‘Area updates’ can either be a boring numbers ‘blah, blah, blah’ or an opportunity to inspire your guests with ‘God stories’ and amazing accounts of Him moving in your area!!

3.  TIMING of the Night. You may be surprised this is #3, but timing is essential! I’ve been a part of too many fundraisers that go way too long. If your guests run out of the room when your banquet is over (or even before it ends), you probably went too long and lost out on a big opportunity. You’ll know you’ve timed it right when your guests linger after the final ‘thank you’ has been said. 1.5 - 2 hours in length is the ‘sweet spot.’

2. KIDS! When people are deciding to support a ministry, they want to see who they are supporting. If you are able, do whatever you can to get kids involved. You can do this with kids welcoming guests, serving dinner, sharing individual stories at dinner tables, cardboard testimonies, etc. Also, individual kid testimonies can be the most powerful and compelling part of a fundraiser, so invest time and work into training kids on how to share their stories effectively. Kids are key!! They are only 2nd to #1 and that is….

1. JESUS. Of course I was going to say this! He is the reason you give your life to serving in this mission. Fundraisers are a unique opportunity to share Jesus with so many who may not have otherwise heard about His transforming love. You have already ‘earned the right to be heard’ with many parents and supporters because you have spent your life giving to their kiddos. Invite Jesus into every detail and the rest will follow.  

In conclusion, my biggest advice is this...  Keep. It. Simple.

Go for ‘sleek,’ avoid ‘clunky,’ and make sure Jesus is the lens through which all is  communicated. If you do that, you will have successfully ‘upped your fundraiser game’.  

Jonah Werner is an award winning musician and speaker who has played music for YL all around the world. He’s done 33 month-long YL assignments and has a deep passion for the mission. You can bring Jonah to your area fundraiser! He speaks, entertains with music and story and is a professional at asking for involvement and funding. His hope is to ‘take the work out of the fundraiser for you! Contact him at  You won’t be disappointed!!  

Also, see what other staff are saying about Jonah as a YL banquet speaker HERE.

Young Life's Impact Over 8 Decades

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Recently I was at a meeting with a prospective investor to one of our Young Life camps. This person said something that many have said in a variety of ways, and we need to have an answer. Does Young Life have an impact? Do you have statistics or hard facts to back up what you say?

Historically, what I have said are these two statements:

  1. 90% of all adults who profess to be followers of Christ made this decision before their 18th birthday, and this is the target audience for the Young Life mission.

  2. 33% of all summer campers meet Jesus for the first time. (This is based on our own camp director reports as to how many Bibles we gave out, how many kids went on new believer walk, and those who stood at “Say-So.”)

These are true statistics I am sure, but there has been no way to “footnote” them that I know of so that we can put them in a foundation request as a statistic with a bibliography or a citation.

Young Life Forward, i.e., Newt Crenshaw our very own president, has an Executive Campaign Committee gathered around him as he leads us. They said to Newt nearly two years ago, “You know, if you could say, ‘Barna says,’ this would be very helpful in documenting what we already know: Young Life has an impact.” And so, we commissioned Barna to do just that.

Who is Barna? “Barna Group is a visionary research and resource company located in Ventura, California. Started in 1984, the firm is widely considered to be a leading research organization focused on the intersection of faith and culture.”

Young Life wanted to put into the hands of our area directors, regional directors, SVPs, and our executive campaign committees across the mission some gunpowder. We know that Young Life is making a difference, but what do donors say, staff say, alumni say, students say, as well as pastors and believers in the U.S.? We aimed to find out!

Thousands upon thousands of unique people filled out surveys, and Barna consolidated, scrubbed and did their own version of analytics on this data to come up with the following:

  • 4.9 million U.S. adults participated in Young Life as students and are still practicing their faith today.

  • 6% of pastors are Young Life alumni.

  • 1.1 million adults CREDIT Young Life as the MAIN influence in developing their faith.

  • 3.2 million adults CREDIT Young Life as ONE OF the main influences in developing their faith.

  • Before participating in Young Life, 22% of our alumni say their faith was very important in their lives.

  • Today, 85% of alumni say their faith is very important.

You can see for yourself, and truly, this is just a fast highlight reel to get you excited to digest this material for yourself.

We know, you know, and people out there need to know that Young Life is making a difference. This may be an entrée for you to consider serving up in some way, shape or fashion. Here are a couple of fast ideas for you to consider:

  • Take the poster, digest it a bit, and send it alongside a letter from you to all of your current investors.

  • Have this poster be a “placemat” at a thank-you dinner this summer, or for that matter, your fall banquet.

  • Share this with your local committee and use it as a discussion starter as well as a brainstorm for how you could use this in your local area.

  • Equip leaders and staff to at least have two or three notable quotes at their fingertips to be able to use.

  • Share with school officials who are insiders and may find this survey helpful as well.

There are growth areas we have as a mission, and as you look at this survey you will see them. We have a lot of room for growth for sure. I will let you see these for yourself and how they might be fleshed out in your area/region.

Young Life is having an impact, and this will not be our last survey. As for now, let’s aim to use what we have until another one is completed.

Read the full summary HERE.


The Committee Chair/Area Director Regional Summit

Here is what we knew:

  1. We knew the WORKING RELATIONSHIP between the committee chair and the area director was important.

  2. I am not sure we ever appreciated how key THE FRIENDSHIP between those two individuals would be.

The conversation about an Area Director and Committee Chair (AD/CC) Summit really started way back in September 2018 for us. We both were in the planning stages of our largest regional times of the year; the Annual Committee/Leader Weekend was imperative to provide some solid, intentional training for all of of our local committee and volunteers. The training was always good and appreciated, but we wanted committee care to be an emphasis, and how to demonstrate that care was the challenge.

We decided that in addition to training the hundreds of committee members annually, we would FOCUS on the dozens of committee chairs with an entirely separate summit. Elevating the key role of our committee chairs across our regions became the linchpin to our vision for the Summit. The missionwide committee office shared a global vision to build relational ownership between the local area director and committee chair. Concentrating on that relationship with energy and focus tapped the much-needed expertise in the mission. When we announced our goal of an inaugural AD/CC Summit, the excitement was immediate. The themes of the relationship between committee and staff were obvious:

  • Transformation rather than transaction.

  • Partners more than fans.

  • Joint ownership and vested interest and partnership.

  • Aligning the needs of the area with the gifts of the committee.

  • Shared responsibility.

We had undervalued and underappreciated the role and significance of the committee, and specifically the committee chair. That was going to change!

From that moment the prep work began for the Summit.

We benefited from some of the work the larger Young Life mission had done regarding committees, but the real game-changer was our “lead team” that involved local and regional board members. They planned, designed and led our time. It was nothing short of amazing. Step by step we had advice and direction to how the day would flow and how to really prioritize the AD/CC relationship. They were all instrumental in making the day come together.

The agenda was simple. Sample Schedule

  • All areas were asked to come (committee chair and AD).

  • The whole summit was six hours total (four to five discussions/trainings/conversations).

  • Each person filled out an area assessment before the day (provided by YL).

  • Interaction and specific training toward the CC/AD relationship.

  • The time was nationally facilitated and regionally owned and taught by staff and committee.

  • We highlighted healthy committee chair/AD relationships that were attainable and transparent.

While fun and engaging, it was groundbreaking to not only rally the key decision makers and our staff at the same time, but also for us as regional directors to see vision come to clarity. Even though we are in different phases in the process, we both see the landscape shifting toward more community-centric thinking and relational equity building in the local area. This is KEY.

A few stand-out highlights:

  • Everyone heard from two co-committee chairs from Akron, Ohio, — Chad Crawford and Josh Stephan. They provided an honest look into how the deep-rooted community within the Akron committee had sustained them through some challenging times in the area.

  • We took a different perspective of strategic planning via committee member, Dave Chalmers.

  • The committee chair is the most important volunteer in the local area. We now do all we can to foster that relationship. The AD/CC Summit was the catalyst to propel us in this relational endeavor long-term.

  • We heard from many that one of the main highlights was the time together traveling to the summit, conversations around a meal, knowing that there are other committee chairs “out there.”

It’s amazing to see what happens when the Young Life area “decision makers” get in a room together. Committee Chair/Area Director Summits are being scheduled (by U.S. regions) for next year. Next year there are ONLY eight total dates available! If you are interested, email the national committee office here and contact your regional office.

Have questions about what we did in Ohio? Email us!

Rich Dargenio, Regional Director — The Buckeye Region (

Chris Kessick, Regional Director — The North Coast Region (

Dave Chalmers, Regional Board (

Todd Long, Regional Board (

Written by: Rich Dargenio & Chris Kessick




“Do I have the time to travel to Colorado this weekend?”

“Is this camp going to be lame?”

“Is anyone cool going?’

“Are we going to be singing “Kum-ba-yah” the whole time?”

Although these statements could be quotes from an average high school student (anywhere in the world) before they experience camp, in this case they weren’t.  Rather, they were the questions I was getting from men who were going with me to MAN CAMP at Frontier Ranch this past month. To be honest, I had some of the same questions myself!  250 Men at a YL Camp for a Weekend? I couldn’t only imagine the possibilities for something less than great.  I was a little skeptical going into that first year; I had no idea what to expect. I’ve had the privilege the last three years to attend the Young Life Man Camp at Frontier Ranch, and thankfully, none of my fears or hesitations came true. Actually, the reality was the opposite.

What DID I find? I found myself laughing, resting, being challenged, entertained, inspired, and having meaningful conversations with men that I have been friends with for years as well with others I met that weekend. My revelation was that ‘most of the men in my community are longing for deeper relationships, but they either think they are too busy to cultivate them or have no idea how to make it happen.’ Man Camp was the vehicle to help those deeper relationships flourish.  I can honestly say that each year I have gone I have returned changed! Not an easy thing to do.

I think Man Camp provides a great place for guys to begin the journey of sharing life and space with other guys. We desperately need safe, humorous, life-giving places for men to be able to be themselves, while still being called to live into all that God is calling them to be. It is so fun to watch a room full of adult men laugh, sing, listen, and truly experience Christ in such a freeing, significant way. We all know how beautiful camp is for our teenage friends.  What I’ve always believed, and have come to know, is that adult men are just as hungry and open to God as our adolescents, they just don’t have many spaces where it is provided for them. In fact, although the ages change, the questions remain the same surroundingife, and God and what life with God could look like. Get a glimpse of Man Camp by clicking this LINK.

Man Camp is an easy way to invite some guys into something more, with typical Young Life excellence, humor, and focus on Jesus. It can be a great reminder or introduction to Young Life for men in your community. EVEN BETTER, have you ever wondered how to get your COMMITTEE or a group of dads better connected to Jesus or the world of Young Life? Invite them to a weekend with you at Man Camp, and watch their love for each other and Jesus deepen! Better yet, get one of your committee guys to own Man Camp for your area and help them fill a cabin like we do our teenage friends.

They will thank you, and even if they can’t come, being invited to be involved does wonders for people.  

* BONUS!  If you want your Committee Men to go, contact (Jonathan Schultz and be entered into a drawing for $500 in Campership (to help keep the cost down for next year’s weekend).

Written by: Rodney Huffty (

What the College Admissions Scandal Reveals


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.

The Banquet, ‘Our Finest Hour’


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 (



In Young Life there are no spectators because it is harder to explain the Gospel then to experience it.  The same is true with the Incarnation, understanding salvation, God’s love, and even your local YL Club and Camp.  You have to ‘come and see.’ None of the principles and elements of the mission are reserved just for adolescents.   The best week of your life isn’t just for teens. Young Life camp can make a profound impact on the adults in your ministry too.  Not to mention, camping for your adults can make a huge impact on your local ministry in the long run!

Q.  Do you have a need for more adults to join in your area ministry?

Q.  Do you want to reconnect with alumni, friends and former staff in a manner that is natural, fun, and benefits both them and your area? Are you looking for a world-class window into the mission of Young Life?

Look no further! What better place to get adults excited about the Young Life ministry than at camp? Let adults have the best week of their life too and catch a glimpse of how they can help support your local ministry. Inviting adults to Adult Camping trips increases awareness, ownership, and investment in the ministry.  

Here are some ways to get Adult Camping Plans started:

  1. Make a yearly plan of all camping opportunities NOW and mark them on your calendars.  Work backward to see when you need to start prepping the adults in your community.

  2. Add a role to your committee for someone to take charge of the Mission Community.  Assign your Mission Community Director the job of engaging adults on these Adult Camping opportunities.

  3. Reach out to those who are in charge of the men’s, women’s, couple’s, and family camps and see if there are ways to help support the event itself.  Often, there are opportunities to help with registration, skits, worship, and more. Knowing these needs may help you find ways to engage the adults in your community and help them have deeper buy-in for the trip.

Spending a little time investing in an Adult Camping Plan for your area will reap amazing dividends for your adult friends and your area ministry. We all know that a Young Life camp experience with kids serves to solidify relationships as distractions are minimized and shared-experiences abound. Similarly, getting away with adults from your area can truly accelerate the process of building trust, knowledge, and a desire to serve. Whether being an adult guest at summer camp, experiencing Trail West, or attending a weekend retreat or family camp during the school year, a Young Life camp experience creates space to listen and learn, opportunity to grow in relationship to God and others, and a clear path to meaningful opportunities to serve!

Jonathan Schultz


The video above is in my “hard-day” list of bookmarks in my browser. Regardless of the challenges in front of me, I know I can take three minutes to watch it and leave encouraged. It tells the almost-mythical-but-true tale of how Young Life started. It wasn’t Jim Rayburn — it was Clara Frasher, a kind older woman, who sat on a front porch across from Gainesville High School with her friends praying for the students for years. It would be awhile before Jim showed up to birth Young Life, but those prayers were the beginning.

I’ve been blessed to have a prayer warrior on my committee or support team since I came on Young Life staff 18 years ago. I want to be one, but I’m still a work in progress. Lately, I’ve been swept up in the trend of "prayer moments.” My team prays every day at 12:11 to remind us of Revelation 12:11 and the triumphant blood of the Lamb. I’ve heard of others who pray at 9:38 (Matthew 9:38 — Lord give us the harvest workers!). The options are endless.

For others it isn’t tied to a particular Scripture, but to an action. Maybe you pray at the same intersection every time you approach the school. Or decide as an area team to pray whenever you brush your teeth or turn on your car. One committee I know had a conference call … every day … at 5 a.m. …to pray for a season (s/o to D.C. YoungLives!).

Here’s the point: As a community of believers, and particularly as committee, we make all types of commitments. To raise money. To visit club. To bake cookies. My challenge to you today is to make an area-wide prayer commitment. It might manifest itself in a couple of annual events (pray at the schools, prayer vigil at the Young Life house), but I’d say make it routine. Martin Luther said our prayers should be “short, often and strong.” Choose a verse, a time, a landmark or something else that unifies your team, and start praying. Start sharing at monthly meetings and at leadership gatherings how you see the Lord moving because of your faithful obedience. I firmly believe you’ll be glad you did.

Clara Frasher’s 1933 prayer echoes around the mission and Kingdom today. May we be thoughtful, strategic and prayerful in adding our own voices to that glorious chorus, one hope-filled word at a time.

Written by: Josh Griffin (

CLOSER THAN YOU THINK … The Mission Community Coordinator

The car I drive has a passenger side mirror that states, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” I’m guessing that many of you also have this message etched on your mirrors. Similarly, I’m guessing that many, if not all of us, share a need for more —

  • Committee.

  • Volunteer leaders.

  • Donors, friends of Young Life.

  • Advocates.

What if I told you that these people are “closer than they appear,” and there is a committee role that can help you find them while also helping your committee operate like a great Young Life team?


The MISSION COMMUNITY COORDINATOR is a role on your committee team that you may never have heard of, but can be a game-changer. As Young Life staff and leaders with kids, we know the value of getting away, playing together and having shared experiences. The same principles apply to adults. and releasing a committee person to focus on this will pay exponential dividends in your committee and your ministry impact.

It’s easy for an area committee to get into a pattern of only spending time at committee meetings, and only getting together around an agenda and area needs. In today’s busy world we all agree that it’s prudent to be careful how much we are asking of people. At the same time, we all know that a committee that plays together not only stays together, but is contagious and cannot help but experience growth. We also know that people expect a Young Life experience to be relational, adventurous, fun, Christ-centered and life-changing. Imagine if you were to charge one of your committee people with focusing on the following core responsibilities:

  1. Facilitate regular committee social experiences outside of committee meetings. (Social times with no agenda other than being together and, possibly, inviting other adults to join in the fun.)

  2. Keep community-building opportunities in front of the committee at meetings and via email. (For some ideas, see the attached pdf: “10 Opportunities for Your Committee to Operate like a Young Life Team.

  3. Partner with Young Life Alumni and Friends to find, greet and engage your local alumni, friends and former staff. This could include regular YL Connect searches for new alumni and friends near you, facilitating gatherings and preparing for future anniversaries or reunions.

Like a good passenger side mirror, your mission community coordinator will help to create a connection between those who have been impacted by Young Life in the past and your ministry goals in the present and the future. As a committee chair and area director, take some time soon to meet, pray and task one of your committee people with this valuable role.

Written by Jonathan Schultz (

Download Here: 10 Opportunities for Your Committee to Operate Like a Great Young Life Team

Three Questions To Ask After Your Banquet

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


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.


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?


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.


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 (

View September 2018 Email

The Two Goals of EVERY Young Life Banquet!


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.



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.”


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 (


Global Committees - 3 Questions Every YL Committee Should Answer


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


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 (



Observations From Our Committee/Area Survey


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


Cat Herders Wanted!   The Important Role of the Committee Chair​​​​​​​


Author:  Valerie Morris

Have you ever tried to herd cats?  I have literally tried this when we got three kittens a few years back and I can attest that the expression is true to its meaning 100%.  Cats are fast, agile, smart, and have a mind of their own. This is often how many Young Life committees can feel too. Committees are often full of fast-moving, savvy and smart adults, who all have their unique perspectives and expertise.  This is a true gift if you’ve got it, but when you have so many perspectives coming together, how do you get going in the same direction? The answer is in the Committee Chair.

The Committee Chair is a vital role within any Young Life ministry.  You might be surprised to find a few parts of this role that you hadn’t considered before.  It might just change how your entire committee operates moving forward.

I asked a few of my friends around the mission about what the role of Committee Chair entailed and here are a few common themes that kept popping up in these conversations:  

  • Bridge - Young Life ministries need their committees, and committees need staff and volunteers who are on the front lines each day doing ministry. The Committee Chair is the core bridge, or liaison, between these two groups.  He/She comes together with the Area Director to truly partner and help make sure that both groups of people are all going in the same direction.

  • Encourager - Committee Chairs have the opportunity to encourage committee and help them to stay engaged and focused, throughout all seasons of ministry. They also are vital encouragers of the area director and staff too.

  • Organizer - Organizing meetings, logistics, and schedules is often where we first go to when we think about the role of the Committee Chair, but the reality is that this is just a small part.  Albeit an important part, it’s just a fraction of what the Chair’s role involves.

  • Accountability Partner - The Committee Chair is the ultimate accountability partner in the area.  A Chair will meet regularly with the main staff in the area and help keep them accountable to life, ministry, and spiritual goals.  However, a Chair is also there to keep the committee accountable to doing what they said they were going to do.

  • Friend: Young Life is all about relationships, which is why it is no surprise that the Committee Chair is a friend and focused on being intentional in relationship with the Area Director and committee.  That friendship can have a business side to it, yes, but it also is focused on transparency, longevity, and partnership.

  • Visionary - It can get lonely at the top, which is where many of our staff operate from.  The Committee Chair is someone who has committed to invest in an intentional relationship with the Area Director.  Together, they can dream and cast vision for what Young Life could look like in the local area. Since both the committee and staff/leaders can’t do it without the other group, it makes sense that the Committee Chair AND Area Director would cast vision together. 

  • Shepherd - The Committee Chair is someone that has spiritual maturity and discernment.  He/She is someone who is seeking wisdom and willing to pursue that. They are there to help ensure the spiritual/financial/emotional health of the staff, committee and the local ministry.

  • Mobilizer - Every person on a committee is vital and brings different skills to the table.  Committee Chairs speak into the strengths of those on the committee and find opportunities for them to shine and thrive.  

  • Cat Herder - Committee Chairs ultimately help pull people going in different directions (leading, ministry building, fundraising, networking, praying, event planning, etc.) and attempt to get everyone moving in the same direction.

As I got all these descriptions and perspectives in from leaders in Young Life from all over the world, and from all types of roles, it became pretty clear to me that the Committee Chair is one of the most vital roles within a local ministry.  It’s a role that does many of the unseen things and overall direction of the ministry. It’s easy to read a big list like this and get overwhelmed by all that you could be doing. But, as soon as I got tempted to go down that road in my head, I turned it back to what a possibility this role is and the impact one role can have on Young Life ministry and the gospel.

Special thanks to a few folks for creating this picture of the Committee Chair role:


  • Anneke Brown

  • Sophia Cox

  • Newt Crenshaw

  • Rich Dargenio

  • John Evans

  • Maria Farlow

  • Christa Gorman

  • Tom Gorman

  • Pete Hardesty

  • Chris Kessick

  • Terry Leprino

  • Jan Pascoe

  • Rick Rogan

  • Ken Tankersley


Your Banquet Season Is 12 Months Long!

banquet plate.png

Author:  Gabe Knipp

All throughout scripture banquets represent celebration, abundance and the coming of the Kingdom of God.  Lately though, within Young Life, the term ‘Banquet’ can make some Young Life staff break into a cold sweat. If that’s you, I hope this short article can give you a new perspective on what can be the best night of the year for your area. After all, what could be better than gathering a few hundred adults from your area, eating a meal together, laughing hard, and telling them about Jesus and what He is doing in the lives of kids?  Time after time we hear adults proclaim after a banquet, “Could you have Old Life? That was amazing!”

With that positive experience in mind, there are three numbers that will help you accomplish that feeling as you look forward to your next banquet: 2, 12, and 15.


2- Aspects

Every banquet has two aspects. The PEOPLE and the PROGRAM.

Most Staff and Committees are familiar with program. You know how to set up the room, tell that one story to communicate the heart, passion, and commitment of Young Life. The issue, more often, is getting people into the room.

The process of getting people in the room for the banquet is not much different than getting people in the room for club.  It’s all about contact work. A club full of kids is a celebration of excellent contact work. A banquet full of adults is a celebration and natural extension of great contact work with adults.  Just like a club flyer should not be a kid’s only invitation to club, the physical banquet invitation should not be the first time your guest has been invited to the banquet.

What if you pursued adults in your community like you do kids in the local school?  What if you “sold” the banquet and planned for it months ahead of time? What if you were committed to helping people get there because it’s a chance to experience what God is doing and to be a part?


12 - Months

After a week at camp, you probably begin thinking about next year the next day (if not on the bus ride home). I’d be willing to bet camp crosses your mind almost every day of the year.

Banquets need to be the same.  While camp can be the best week of a kids life, the banquet can be the best night of the year for your community.  We should look forward to that night with great anticipation all year long.

The best banquets are done on with a 12-month strategy, just like camp.

A 12-month cycle means follow-up after the banquet is essential, like reviewing those commitment cards and actually sending people information about the golf marathon. Maybe there’s a banquet reminder in your Christmas letter, or you’ll casually mention the banquet next time you meet a donor.  


15 - Minutes

Take 15 minutes today. You’ve read this article.  Now watch the video below to get a better picture of this process.  Next, write down “people” and three things you can do over the next three weeks to invite people to be part of what God is doing, which is always an invitation to fuller life.  No matter how far away your next banquet is, the process starts today. Be excited.

And if you want to smile when you think about banquets, schedule time (not today) to think through the two aspects, People and Program, and what you can do each month to make your next banquet a no-sweat success.

What is one of the most important relationships in your YL Area? 

QUESTION:  What is one of the most important relationships in your YL Area?   

(Hint:  It's not what you think.)

ANSWER: _______________________________??

The Area Director/Committee Chair Relationship

Written by Eric Protzman Committee Chair, Intermountain Young Life

The relationship between the Area Director and the Committee Chair may be the most important relationship for introducing kids to Christ and helping them grow in their faith.  Over my tenure of involvement with Young Life, I have grown more and more convicted of the truth of this statement because I’m part of the community.  I'm not staff, I’m a Committee Chair. Let me tell you what I see.

If you ask the question “who really owns Young Life in your community?” a common response is “well, um, actually, it's the Area Director or staff.” It’s true that our current model defines Area Directors as having the greatest vested interest and at times it seems like the the AD “really owns” the local ministry, but if that is our reality we ignore and neglect a tremendously significant group:  the local community and the YL Committee!  As a missional organization, a Young Life staff-person may serve in several communities in their tenure, while the adults who make up the local Committee remain. The adults in a YL Community communicate the ministry of presence as strongly as anyone in town!

The flawed premise of exclusive Area Director ownership can promote the ‘outsourcing’  of ministry to kids in a local community to the local Young Life staff.  However, my growing conviction is that a community has a responsibility for the engagement of kids in their town with the Gospel; it is non-transferrable. Intentional cleaving of ownership from the community leaves key adults underutilized.  We can find ourselves waiting for a list of ‘tasks’ from the Area Director and take on only what we feel like taking on ranging from very much to very little. We treat what help we provide as a gift to the AD, not a responsibility to our kids. In the end, we are delighted to help, but we have missed the true calling because….

Intermountain Young Life

There is a Better Way

There is a better way:  100% joint responsibility and ownership between the Committee and Local YL Staff.

When the Area Director/Committee Chair relationship holds 100% joint responsibility for everything that happens in the Young Life Area there is a durable focal point for ministry that belongs to both the community and the YL organization.  There is division of labor tied to gifting and skill sets but the ‘secret sauce’ is not shared labor it is shared responsibility. AD's work hard, but they often work alone. In our 100% model, we are truly in this together.

There are numerous benefits to a strong relationship between the Committee Chair and AD because 100% joint responsibility says, 'whatever happens in the Area, good or bad, is at the feet of the Area Director and Committee Chair.'  Not one...Not the other...Not sometimes. It's always and both. Or, as we have become fond of saying - “It’s Our Town, Our Kids!”

our town our kids

By sharing the responsibility of the local Area between the Committee Chair and AD we gain wisdom, a partner, a friend, a brother or sister in Christ, experience, and know how.   If we don’t get this relationship right we can live in frustration and tension.  However, when the responsibility is jointly held you may discover a deep respect, admiration and love for each other.  The YL staff I have worked closely with have truly become some of my favorite people! I have seen them grow in their gifting, calling and leadership.  To be transparent, I have been changed too. Even though they may transition to other communities or roles, they have kept the same priority of having a strong relationship with their local Chair and I have now seen this model work repeatedly.

When the Committee Chair and Area Director share a common vision and commitment to the local ministry - the result is transformative.  We are in it for each other.  We are in it together. We do have a lot of work to do, but we do not walk in fear. It feels so good to have a partner. It feels so good for our efforts to be focused on introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. If this kind of relationship is what you long for with your Committee Chair or Staffer, the following 4 steps are a good place to start.

4 STEPS to building healthy relationships between the Area Director and the Committee Chair:

1) Protect a weekly one hour face to face AD/CC meeting time (meet by phone as a last resort).

2) Start your meetings with prayer for your relationship, your community and your kids.

3) Tackle the topics, of Faith, Family, Fears and Ministry - nothing is out of bounds.

4) Connect, follow up and encourage each other several times over the week and create a partnership.

If you honor these four simple steps - you will tranform this critical relationship and you will be able to watch it ‘trickle down’ to the rest of the Committee and Community.  Trust me. The Committee Chair is the highest level of volunteerism in your local area. The Area Director is the Senior staffed position in the local area. If the relationship between these two roles embraces the command to ‘love one another’ (John 13: 34-35)  then you stand as an example for everyone else in your community. It’s ‘Our Town, Our Kids!’


Feel free to contact me with questions or let me know how it goes!

Eric Protzman, Committee Chair (