Shared by Matt Margaron, Metro Director for Young Life Naperville & Aurora, IL, at their area’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
And a prayer.
That every teen in our community would have access to experiencing God’s love.
Regardless of race
Of socioeconomic status
Every kid could experience the JOY that comes with knowing and following Jesus.
I was one of those kids who needed Jesus at Lincoln Jr. High & Naperville Central.
In the midst of a broken and hurting world, I longed to see and know a God who entered into it and authentically loved me despite all of my insecurities, faults, and pain.
This movement is a call to “GO” out to every place and let young people know they are valued, known, and loved by the God of the universe. They were created in God’s image. They are a part of community, and they have a grand role in God’s redemption story.
And so we will never stop “going”.
We will never stop loving.
We will never stop showing up.
We are called to be faithful.
We are called to enter into the broken places.
We are called to be a part of the church’s mission to the poor, the needy, and the lost.
We are called to “GO out”.
And that is what we will continue to do for the next 50 years.
We will begin with prayer.
We will continue to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We will enter into the lives of all kids.
College students at North Central College.
The homeless teenager.
Middle School students with special needs.
Students at East & West Aurora, Lisle Middle & High School, and alternative schools.
Public and Private schools, colleges, and universities.
We will attend basketball games, stage performances, special olympics events, and birthday parties.
We will never stop going and we will never stop inviting because there will always be another kid that needs to know how much Jesus loves them.
We will bring students to the streets of Nairobi, the mountains of Colorado and British Columbia, and the hills of the Dominican Republic to experience God’s amazing creation.
We will partner with churches across denominational lines: Catholic and Protestant, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, Community, and beyond to reach every teenager.
We will continue to invite teachers, coaches, college students, young moms, business professionals, and most importantly the uneducated and ordinary to go with us to reach kids.
We will be about relationships. Earning the right to be heard.
We will always lift up Jesus so that kids can experience His amazing joy, intentionality, love, forgiveness, and restorative power.
We will invite students out of death and into full life with Jesus.
And we will remember that this whole thing is way more about the person of Jesus Christ than any individual. If we are going to be around for 50 more years, we must believe, without wavering, that God is in control. That God loves this community far more than I could ever think or imagine.
This mission is about Jesus. It is about God’s heart for the little children. That they might come to Him and know Him. Today, I get to be a part of the gospel call to introduce Jesus to people through relationship. Whether I am in Naperville or Nairobi, Vancouver or Puerto Plata, leading Young Life or not, this call will remain the same wherever I go.
People will come and go, staff, committee, leaders & kids will move on, but God’s steadfast love and care for teenagers from all walks of life in this community and around the world will remain the same.
“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Thank you for being a part of this. You were made for this and more. For such a time as this. Thank you for your prayers, your countless hours of service, your financial generosity and your love for all kids.
Will you join me in the next stage of the adventure? To never stop going…
To North Central College, Benedictine, & Aurora University
To help unify the local church and be in mission together
To the depressed, anxious, and in pain
To students of all abilities
And teen moms
To Kenya, the Dominican Republic and more
Will you join me in this grand adventure over the next 50 years. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to take sacrifice. Will you join me to pray? Will you join in giving of your time? Will you join me in giving your energy? Will you surrender your life and your resources so that kids can know Jesus?
It will change you. You will never be the same. It’s worth it.”