An Anonymous Guest Post From A Wyldlife Leader In Ohio
If you are a Wyldlife leader, we’d love to hear from you too. There are tons of Wyldlife clubs out there, but most of the ideas on YoungLifeLeaders.org come from high school leaders. If you have thoughts or ideas to share, please send them in!
Last night I spent my Friday night at a house with 8 middle school girls and got to experience yet again why WyldLife is called WyldLife. Night sledding in regular clothes (some with no shoes) with screaming and laughs to wake up the entire neighborhood; crazy games where no one quite understood the rules and others continued to cheat just to get a laugh; injuries and broken items; tons and tons of junk food; random bouts of wrestling. It was wyld and I love those girls beyond words.
Some people don’t see WyldLife as an effective ministry, some see it as effective, but not as important as Young Life, and still others see a need for WyldLife. Regardless of your belief, the Lord works through WyldLife and I want to talk about just how wonderful the ministry is to encourage fellow WyldLife leaders in the their humble service for the Kingdom.
I can still remember the first girls that I met as a new volunteer leader. I gathered up the courage to sit by these three girls at a basketball game and have a conversation with them. I remembered their names, but figured I would never see them again.
I had no faith in what God could do in their lives and had already given up on pursuing them. But God had other plans. Little did I know that I would get to hang out with those girls all summer, introduce them to Young Life, and learn that one accepted Christ after Fall Weekend. Praise be to God!
What a humbling experience! I was used for such a short time, but I am almost convinced that if God hadn’t used me for just that short time while they were in 8th grade, they wouldn’t have gotten involved in Young Life.
Whether your WyldLife club is 6-8 grade or 7-8 grade, I’m sure all WyldLife leaders can relate to the pain of saying goodbye to the kids with which you had such a short time. Especially if you meet 8th grade kids. But I believe that it is the most important time in ta kid’s life.
WyldLife leaders get to enter into this age group that is hated by the world. Sure, high school kids are hated as well, but not like middle school kids. Think about how many times you hear on the media and from people around you how much they hate middle school kids. I could go on about what the world thinks of middle school kids, but I’d rather talk about how much WyldLife leaders get to be completely opposite of the world and love middle school kids like they have never experienced.
WyldLife gives the glory to Jesus because there is literally nothing of ourselves that we have to give to middle school kids. Nothing. We don’t have the energy, patience, love, joy, or selflessness that it takes to truly love middle school kids like we do. It is so clearly from Jesus.
But, I think most of all WyldLife is humbling. We may have relationships with kids for a few months before we “pass them” to Young Life and pray that they meet Jesus. Sometimes we have the sowing and never get to experience the reaping. All Young Life ministries are not about the relationships that we create with kids, they’re about kids meeting Jesus—however that needs to look will be different for every kid. God uses WyldLife leaders for a short, yet extremely important time to plant and water seeds in the hearts of middle school kids. There are many times in WyldLife where we do get to experience the harvest, but most of our leading consists of sowing, planting and watering.
Paul states it beautifully in 2 Corinthians 9:12-16
“This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
It is truly the Lord’s work and we are his servants—giving up our right to choose who, when and where we will serve. We serve because of his glorious grace, and this service leads to praise and thanksgiving to God. My prayer is that we as WyldLife leaders can stand in the grace that we have been so freely given and love kids that are in desperate need of this grace.