Chances are, if you go to a relatively big high school or college, you have heard about "Young Life."
Maybe you’ve heard that it starts with crazy loud singing and some weird games followed by just a “little bit” of Jesus at the end. With Young Life comes a lot of judgment and opinions, especially if you haven’t been. Or maybe you have been and you sat right next to the girl whose Instagram is loaded with pictures from the biggest parties and who has the reputation of “getting around” and thought to yourself “this just doesn’t seem right”.
See, that’s the most incredible part about Young Life.
One of the missions of Young Life is to reach the “furthest out kid”. The furthest out kid is not the one who sits in the front pew of church every Sunday and lives the cleanest life, avoiding parties at all costs. The furthest out kid is broken, sins and doesn’t have it all together, as none of us really do. The amazing thing is, Young Life has the ability to change your life around and allow that furthest out kid to meet Jesus for the first time and understand what it really means to have a relationship with him.
Young Life changed everything for me. I was that far out kid that lived a double life, until I was invited to club and eventually Campaigners and finally made the decision for myself to pursue a life with Jesus. Young Life was a place where I felt no judgement. I felt that I could be myself and be honest about my mistakes and my sins and still be loved in the most incredible way. I had leaders that constantly sought a relationship with me and allowed me to ask questions and were willing to be real about their own struggles.
When many of us think of Christians we think that they are people that have their lives together and are the closest people to perfect that the world will ever see but Young Life breaks that stereotype and shows us that that is the furthest thing from the truth. We are loved throughout it ALL, even our biggest mistakes and failures. Young Life provided me with friendships and relationships that are beyond any that I was ever able to create on my own. I found people that challenge me, encourage me and allow me to be ME, not someone that society tells me I have to be.
So yes, Young Life is different.
We begin club by singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs followed by games where we make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with our feet. But then the beautiful part comes, we get to hear the truth of the gospel, in a fun, judgment free environment where we are loved and accepted despite our mistakes, failures, sins, and brokenness.
My challenge for you is that even if you’ve heard that Young Life is exclusive or full of hypocrites or whatever the case may be, next time you get invited to a club, campaigners or to learn more about being a leader, I challenge you to try it because Young Life is more than just a silly club, it could be your opportunity to establish a relationship with Christ and it might just change everything for you like it did for me.