The New “C” in Young Life

Julie Clapp, Brian Summerall September 15, 2020

There’s always been Contact Work, Club, Camp, Campaigners…and for the past six months, we’ve had a new “C” in Young Life… “COVID.”

In the spring, many of us jumped into emergency mode, doing the best we could to replicate “normal” ministry tools in a virtual setting. As this season of uncertainty continues – and looks vastly different from country to country, state to state, and even city to city – it’s time to remind ourselves of our mission, take stock of what we can do, and create a new rhythm of ministry.

What if God gave you an entire semester to reset, recalibrate, and rediscover true north? What would you do?

Below are some principles to guide you as you answer that question:

1. Focus on the Mission

Young Life exists to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. Our mission isn’t club or camp – those are tools that we use to fulfill our purpose. What tools are available for you to fulfill our mission right now? You can still build relationships with kids and have conversations about Jesus.

2. Invest in the few.

Make sure each leader has a specific group of kids to focus on. At each school, assign leaders to a gender and grade of kids. A team of four leaders could go deep with 40 kids. Spend the fall semester casting vision, giving ownership, and doing contact work with each small group. Imagine the long-term dividends in their lives and in that school and community.

3. Learn how to multiply.

As a Young Life team, read and discuss The Master Plan of Evangelism. Create a culture of multiplication as your team grows closer together and invests in the next generation of leaders.

4. Don’t worry about labels.

Spending time with a small group of kids this fall may look like a cross between club, Campaigners and contact work. That’s okay. Relational ministry in any form is what is most important, don’t worry about what it’s called!

5. Plant a contact work flag.

We still want to go where kids are. If you can’t go to schools or school events, you can likely find somewhere that kids will be. Maybe it’s the Starbucks or local park closest to the school. Once you find it, make sure leaders are there regularly.

6. Be creative with contact work.

Spend more energy thinking creatively about contact work than Club. Let’s get excited about what we can do, rather than getting stuck in what we can’t do. No matter our circumstances, we can still find ways to build relationships with kids. And now, maybe more than ever, kids need us to show up for them.

Want to connect with thousands of other Young Life leaders around the world? Join the Alongside: Young Life leaders group on Facebook.

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