Why I YL

1:47 PM

Last semester I thought about quitting Young Life.

It's a ministry that runs all over the world. Their mission statement is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. What makes Young Life unique is that it's about going to where the young people are and loving them regardless of how they respond. It's not about converting a bunch of people to Christianity. It's about sharing with them the good news of Jesus Christ. We try to "earn the right" to share the Gospel with them by being their friend. Ultimately, we want nothing more than to help them meet their savior. But, regardless if they ever do-- at the end of the day we are their friend. (A friend who lives above reproach). 

That all sounds good, so what's the problem?

Well my journey last fall semester was a challenge and definitely not one that's only unique to me.

To give you a little background, I signed up for Young Life freshman year because I wanted to get involved with a ministry on campus and I sorta knew a couple people involved with it. I was not in Young Life in high school mostly because I was connected with my church's youth group. I went to the first informational meeting and was hooked. In fact, I called my parents that day and changed my major. (Not only because of Young Life but it was definitely a big part of it). Since high school, I have always wanted to do youth ministry and I wanted to try Young Life because it was different from the church ministry I had been involved with before. 

I went through training and got placed on a team in a local middle school in the sub-ministry called Wyldlife. It's the age where they are just at that point of needing to wear deodorant but don't quite realize it. 

When sophomore year rolled around our Wyldlife team was jumping into a a just-starting ministry. At the same time, I had finally changed my major to a double major in Biblical Religious Studies and Communication Studies. I was taking three religion courses and I began to get overwhelmed. Although I had grown up going to church and had a totally solid youth group, I didn't realize there was so much involved in the academic study of the Bible. I also attend a really conservative college where most of the students and faculty are very Reformed. I had wise people presenting me with what they believed to be truth but I wasn't willing to just accept it without investigating myself. But hey did you know that looking into that stuff is actually a lot harder than it seems? 

I began to doubt everything I believed. I was learning all these new dimensions to Christianity and realizing there's a lot to be debated about. During this time, I also realized that Young Life isn't as perfect as I thought. 

Being on the team was hard. Working with others wasn't easy. It was a learning process for sure. 

But more than that, I got to the point where I doubted my ability to stand behind this ministry with my whole heart. Since I was doubting everything I believed, I didn't have the confidence to follow my gut. Critics of Young Life say that we don't go deep enough, that we're prideful in our ministry, that we obsess about the numbers, that we worship YL, the list goes on and on. If I'm being honest, I started to agree with those critics. 

It was a long and challenging battle. Through a lot of prayer and counsel I realized a few things. The turning point for me was when I met with two professors to discuss my questions. The first was a religion professor who assured me that being unsure is okay. He encouraged me to make a list of non-negotiables for Christianity and allow myself to explore everything else. The other professor was someone who I knew supported YL. He laid it out for me like this: You have two options. Quit Young Life because you don't support it and don't continue the relationships you've established. Or, realize that the ministry is not perfect and do everything you can to be a good leader. 

So I realized that I may not agree with every other Young Life leader. Are there prideful leaders? People who worship the name YL? People who are arrogant about their position? Absolutely. And honestly, I'm not perfect either. But our area made a list of what we value. These are the things we are striving to have in our ministry:

1. Jesus First.
2. People Over Program
3. Excellence in what we do
4. Commitment
5. Every Kid
6. Life-Long Disciples

I can say with 100% confidence that my knowledge of the Bible is inferior. But I know that God does crazy-awesome things through many inferior people like me. 

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  1. My brother seems to be going through a hard time right now. He graduated college after a rough four years, and currently cannot find a job. I keep on encouraging him to get involved in our church's youth group because I believe he has a lot of advice to give pre-teens and teens.

    Why do I bring all of this up? Because it sounds to me like you do too. That while you might not have the most epic or courageous story, the fact of the matter is that you can help them.

    You see, I remember clearly how depressed I was in high school. How I had no friends (a few acquaintances), did terribly academically even though I supposedly am rather smart (according to a counselor and former teacher), and pretty much wasted my years of high school. If I had been reached out to, and maybe even became a christian, I would have been better off sooner. Now I am Following Christ, but I could have done so much more good, accomplished way more than I did, if I had only been Saved.

    One more thing, I was saved because of two conversations and a book. And one of those conversations was with a christian women who was trying to make conversation. She was earnestly trying to be nice, and kept the conversation alive. She has made me feel better by just talking to me after I had been saved.

    I say all of this to encourage you! Please do not quit until God tells you to.

    If you want to ask me something or talk, you can email dddavidp@gmail.com btw.

    1. Thank you! It seems to me like most people meet Christ through conversation. That inspires me to talk to people about God. Specifically I feel that I am most passionate about youth ministry. :)


About me

Regina is a junior at a small college in the middle of nowhere. She dreams of moving to California, painting, writing letters, thrifting, and cuddling with a dog.

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