Team Dynamics: Leading Beyond the College Days

Eve Sarrett October 16, 2019

This semester on Tuesdays we’re taking a deep dive into Young Life team dynamicsIf you missed the first couple posts, check them out here:

This eighth post in the series was written by Eve Sarrett. 

So, you’re older than 22 and wondering if you are being called to lead Young Life?

How you answer these 3 questions may help you determine if you are being called to serve with Young Life.

“Am I needed?”

“Can I have an impact?”

“Do I have time to make the commitment?”

Most of us can remember when a Young Life Leader walked into our world. It’s what changed the course of my life when it happened to me. If you were a leader in college, or maybe too busy to be one…you may think you are no longer of any value to the local area, when in fact, you are a huge gift to us.

Instead of asking “am I needed,” you may ask “why am I

The simple answer is found in Matthew 9:37. Because “the harvest
is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

I don’t know much about harvest time, but I do know that many cultures have the rhythm “all hands on deck” when it comes to harvesting. All hands on deck in Young Life means no matter how old you are, you have value in the lives of kids.

A wise person once said, “Kids are drawn to the oldest person in the room that makes them feel like they matter.”

Early in my walk with Christ I memorized Matthew 28:19,  “Go and make disciples of all the nations.” Then heard a pastor say that verse would be better translated “as you go, make disciples of all nations.

Whether it is a direct command to “go” or a lifestyle “as you go,” both tell me there is a responsibility to be involved in the world.

If we weren’t GOING, who would?

God doesn’t limit who we can reach for Him because of our age or circumstance. So few people are pursuing middle, high school and college students on THEIR turf – that’s what Young Life Leaders do so well!

Instead of asking “Can I have impact?” ask yourself “How can I have an impact”? 

As an adult, there have been more experiences, more ways for us to learn and grow, and hopefully, that means when we hear a student pouring out their story, we are ready to point them directly to Christ. Nothing prepares you to hear that a kid has been beaten or neglected or abused, but hopefully, our experience and time to grow in Christ prepares us to lean on Him as we help our friends.

If you are a Young Life Leader in a town that has both college leaders and young professionals, you also have an opportunity to mentor those
younger leaders, as well as pursue your middle and high school friends.

Instead of asking “Do I have time to make the commitment?”  maybe ask yourself “When do I have time to make the commitment.”

Remember Luke 9? Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up.

If we trust that we are joining God in what He is already doing, we simply show up in the lives of students and trust that God will take what we give and multiply it.

If your job means you are only able to make it to club and the football game, or to Campaigners and to grab coffee with a kid, do what you can and trust that God will multiply what you have to give.

The issue usually isn’t time, it is discipline and desire. Plus, every time you talk about your experiences and needs with co-workers, friends, and family- they become part of the growing group of people who care for our younger friends.

However, do not hear me saying “do as little as possible and you are a Young Life Leader.” Figure out what you can give, and then give that time to the things that matter for the sake of the kingdom.

I used to think my job was to “tell kids about Jesus,” but now I know it is to know kids by name- so I can tell Jesus about them.

An excerpt from “Gracias” by Henri Nouwen

“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them.  It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence.  

Still, it is not as simple as it seems.  My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets.  It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress.  

But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them but you truly love them.”  

If you find yourself in the store or on the street noticing teenagers, pay attention to that nudge, mute the voice that tells you that you are too old, and come join us!

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