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.
“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 (email@example.com)
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:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 (email@example.com)
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 —
Donors, friends of Young Life.
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:
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.)
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“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.
WAS JESUS CHRIST LIFTED UP, SPOKEN ABOUT, AND HONORED?
As Jim Rayburn, Young Life’s founder said, “Young Life isn’t just about Jesus; that’s the only thing Young Life is about.” When Young Life was explained during your banquet, was making Jesus known in a way kids can understand front and center? When our methodology of going into kids’ worlds to build relationships with them was represented, did we give God the credit for that idea because that’s what He did in Jesus? Did the kid’s testimony highlight a new life with Jesus? Did the speaker (if you had one) open the Bible and speak of Jesus?
2. WAS THE COMMITTEE PROUD?
Folks who serve on the committee have devoted a lot of their time to supporting the ministry of Young Life, and in “putting on” this banquet. They want their friends, acquaintances and community to be introduced in a winsome way to Young Life. In a way, their reputation is at stake. If they are proud of the evening, it means you met the goal of presenting Young Life in an accurate and attractive way … not just the facts of what Young Life is and what are we doing, but also THE FLAVOR of Young Life, too.
3. WERE PEOPLE ASKED TO GIVE?
Whether folks open their hearts and their wallets and give to support the local Young Life area IS UP TO GOD. But, for goodness sakes, “the invitation” to give, or what we might call “the ask,” must not be fumbled or vague.
The financial pitch person doesn’t need to build the case or the need for Young Life; hopefully, the whole banquet did that. He or she doesn’t need to be funny or tell their whole story of their involvement in Young Life. It’s best if it’s short and sweet. Just present the funding need for the fiscal year in simple terms and ask — invite people to give and get involved. Have them fill out the involvement card, put it in the envelope and give it to the table host. Please don’t give the option to take it home and think about it. They were told that we coming to a fundraising banquet. Just ask. The rest is in God’s hands.
Written by Ty Saltzgiver (email@example.com)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
“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 (email@example.com)
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
QUESTION: What is one of the most important relationships in your YL Area?
(Hint: It's not what you think.)
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….
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!”
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)