A Letter to Leaders Whose Kids Didn’t Show Up to Online Club

Hailey Porth April 1, 2020

They didn’t show up. They ignored your text. They ghosted your Zoom Club. They didn’t tune in to Instagram Live.

It hurts. It’s confusing. But it does not define your success in the relationships you have been building over the past years or months.

To the leaders and staff that see other leader’s Instagrams and Zoom call screenshots and see the dozens of kids who showed up to their online event, it’s okay for you to acknowledge any emotion you felt afterward… I know mine was jealousy. 


My leaders and I want our teenage friends in Brooklyn to experience that screen-filled Zoom call too. But right now they can’t. Because of limited access to computers and internet… because of the trauma they are having to navigate in the silence of things…because their basic needs aren’t being met right now.

And it just feels unjust.

I know it’s frustrating. When the whole world feels like it is stuck in a state of fear and despair…when you’re trying to “show up” online to bring the hope and peace only Jesus can bring… and when you send the club invites and the “check-in in texts” and all you get back are read receipts. 

Do not give up. 

And in your frustration, do not miss out on listening to the Holy Spirit. 

I pray that we would not “persevere” because we are listening to the lies of the enemy as he uses his cunning tactics to distract us into busyness. I pray that we would rest in the truth the Lord is trying to tell us, as leaders, during this season. During this pandemic, we must lead and serve from an overflowing place of grace and truth. If we spend our days hustling for our worth, a worth based on lies and comparisons, we will end up exhausted and spent.

I know how tempting it is to continue to run hard in a season of tragedy and panic. As a staff person, I did that this past weekend. I forgot to listen to the sweet truth of the Spirit and as we “had club” online and sat there waiting…and ZERO kids showed up. 

Slowly the lies became louder and louder. 

“What have you been doing all year?” 

“Have the relationships you have built meant anything?” 

“This was a dumb idea!”

What are the lies that you are hearing right now?

What are the truths you need to remain rooted in before running back into battle? 

The Lord is calling us to be present in the lives of teens…

but first, he is calling us to be aware of His presence.

Do not give up. The Holy Spirit is going to lead us. We might not get our Zoom club or Insta-Campaigners right the first few times, but remember, we are not functioning on our timing but on the Lord’s, and His ways are always perfect..and He is always faithful.

Do you have some encouragement or ideas to share with leaders during this time? If so, you can join thousands of other Young Life leaders and share your ideas in the Alongside: Young Life leaders Facebook group.

Join the Conversation

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter that keeps you updated with the most helpful and relevant content.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.