Young Life has been in Mason for over a year now, but what exactly is Young Life? The purpose of this article is to answer questions you may have regarding this new ministry.
So, what is Young Life? It may help by stating what we are not. Young Life IS NOT the church, but it is an expression of the church in mission. In other words, we seek to work hand-in-hand with all the churches as a parachurch organization (para comes from the Greek and means along side of). In addition to working with the local churches our primary focus is to provide opportunities for every adolescent in Mason to meet Jesus Christ and follow Him.
Young Life is a non-profit, Christian organization that was founded in 1941 by Jim Rayburn in Gainesville, Texas. Rayburn had a heart for young people and developed the strategies to reach them that are still used by staff and leaders today. Now Young Life is in over 54 countries, with more than 4,000 staff, 14,000 volunteers, and 12,000 committee members.
What do we do at Young Life? Glad you asked. The best way to answer this question is to tell you, “Come and see.” That is what we tell the kids when they ask what we do. However, I will share with you the four promises we make to kids at the beginning of each semester. These are four promises we seek to live by.
(1) We promise we will not judge (Matthew 7:1-5). We are all broken and imperfect people. It is not our place to judge but instead we strive to love on kids and show them what it looks like and feels like to walk with Jesus.
(2) We promise we will not force anyone to make a decision they do not want to make. We want to present Jesus as best we are able by sharing our lives, God’s Word, and always being ready to give a defense for the faith that we have (1 Peter 3:15-16). It is not up to us whether or not someone accepts the good news of Jesus Christ, but that does not stop us from sharing what He has done in our own lives.
(3) We promise not to talk about religion but instead to talk about relationships. What we mean by this is that we are not going to give them a list of things to do and things not to do. We are not in the business of trying to make our high school friends “good people.” By focusing on behavior we believe we would only be attempting to treat the symptoms and not the problem. The problem is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We believe that only Jesus, through the power of His indwelling Spirit (Galatians 5:16), can change anyone. Therefore, we focus on showing and telling the kids what it means to be in a relationship with Jesus.
(4) Finally, we promise to tell the truth about Jesus Christ as found in Scripture. That means we make Scripture the center of our talks, we spend time in the Word in our leader and committee meetings, and we study Scripture in small group bible studies.
The Four C’s of Young Life. We live out these four promises through Club, Campaigners, Contact work, and Camp. Club is our Monday night gathering, which is a high-energy party where Jesus shows up. The focus at Club is on the furthest out kids who would not dare enter a church. Club is fun and exciting and culminates with singing contemporary Christian music and listening to a Scripture-based message. Campaigners is what we call our Thursday night Bible Studies where we get to go deeper and study Scripture with kids that want to really know Jesus and their Bibles. Contact work is the heart of Young Life. This is where we enter the world of our high school friends at school, at sporting events, or even hanging out with them on the weekends doing what they want to do. Our goal here is to show them the love of Jesus and earn the right to share with them our faith. Finally, there is our Summer Camp trip to a Young Life resort-style camp. At Camp we get to spend a whole week telling the kids about Jesus and showing them His incredible love for them.
Join us! We have an amazing committee of adults in Mason who oversee and make decisions in regard to the direction of this ministry. We also have the best adult leaders anyone could hope for. The only problem is that there are not enough adult leaders to love on all the kids here in Mason. We need adults who love Jesus, love kids, and are willing to sacrifice a few hours each week getting to know these kids. If you are interested in joining us in this ministry please call J. W. Harle at 214-957-7913. If you are interested in knowing more about what we do Monday nights at Club, then we invite you to “come and see!”