After a year of connecting through screens and meeting up while masked, many of us are finding Contact Work a little more clunky than before. Thirteen months of living with some degree of isolation has impacted us in ways that anthropologists are sure to study for decades to come. Talking to Young Life Leaders around the globe, one thing is for sure – Contact Work feels different after this last year.
For some of us, it’s easier to make up excuses, spend our time doing something else and minimize the significance of Contact Work. Some others are eager to jump in, but find themselves more tired than usual after a night of Club or hanging out with students. How do we continue to show up at the school when we feel like that?
Back in February, my Young Life College team had a Zoom call with our YLC Divisional Coordinator for a spring semester pep talk. Students had been off campus from Thanksgiving through the first week of February & we were looking to make the most of the short time we had before they left again in early May. The encouragement that Bill Reazer had for my team & me was simple and practical.
It’s simple but true, and highlighted the return on investment our team would get from spending time with students on campus – we’d all benefit from connecting with friends! Our responsibility as leaders is to pray for our friends & show up in their lives, which shapes our interactions with roommates, friends, and classmates to be more purposeful. We admitted our own need for connection with others and recognized that sincere need in those around us.
Someone’s college experience is changed when a YLC leader chooses to build a genuine friendship with them by being the person who follows through on plans, initiates hanging out, and talks about real life and the things that really matter. When many of us think back to high school or middle school, the thing that shapes our experience is often the friends we walked alongside. Young Life College Student Leaders shape the college path of others by being their friends. Connecting meaningfully with others and showing them an authentic relationship with Jesus, changes the student’s life and the leader’s as well.