The Big Guide to Relational Work in “Young Life College”

Young Life College August 10, 2020

One of the most significant parts of leading Young Life College (YLC) is simply building relationships with students. The first 8 weeks of the fall semester are often the most fruitful time to build relationships, so having a plan to be on campus and around students is crucial. 

A big yearly plan for relationship building will include spending time on campus at least four days each week.  Doing this will put you well on your way to developing a 100-50-12 model.


  • 100 students you know by name
  • 50 students you invite to YLC events
  • 12 students you mentor

Praying for the students you know by name will be a big way to see the next steps happen! 

There are basically three big categories of students on any given college campus. Simplifying this will give us language to consider in relationship building. 


The first big category is students who are skeptics, un-churched & de-churched, who typically have been burned in the past by religion. Possibly they have been hurt by individuals in the church or just have not been introduced to God as a loving Creator & Savior. This leaves them more closed to spiritual things and they seem disinterested, disillusioned, and disconnected from any kind of faith journey.


The second big category is students who are seekers. They typically possess some knowledge or experience with spiritual things but could go either way in their college years as they may end up joining the party scene or following Jesus. They are often aware of their need for community and healthy relationships, but not always sure where to find it. They are open to a faith journey yet it is not a core part of their lives.


Let’s call the third big category the saints. These are students who typically possess a solid grounding in knowing and following Jesus. They have been active in their home churches, Young Life clubs, Campaigners, etc. When they arrive on campus, they are already searching for a Christian community and a place to serve. 

The Big Methods we can rely on for relationship building include:

  • Going to places where we can meet Skeptics and SeekersIf we don’t go find these students, it is unlikely they will find us or our events. 
  • Once we have met Skeptics and Seekers, we can begin to build relationships with them and to help them build friendships with other students in and around the YLC Community.
  • Small-Group hang-outs, one-on-one’s, real conversations, and a real interest in their lives are the most effective way to build new relationships. The fruit of intentionally building these relationships will be the opportunity to lead students to deeper spiritual maturity and towards giving their lives away in significant ways.

Looking for more encouragement? If you’re not yet a member of the Alongside: Young Life leaders Facebook group, join us here!

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