You may have heard of Young Life in high school but what you may never have heard of is Young Life Capernaum.

If you haven’t, let me just paint a quick picture for you of what a club might look like. Students arrive with the biggest smiles on their faces and greet their friends with the best hugs and happiest greetings. Students and their leaders sit down for a meal together and get to know each other through genuine conversation and abounding smiles. Club begins, we scream Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs and the craziest dance parties begin. Messy games encourage contagious laughter.

The speaker comes up and reminds us of the way we were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Jesus.

Capernaum is a branch of Young Life that gives students with intellectual and physical disabilities the opportunity to build a relationship with Jesus while also experiencing adventure, fun and love from leaders. We believe that people with disabilities deserve just as much as any other person to hear the truth of the gospel.

The term Capernaum comes from a story from the bible in Mark 2.

The story includes a group of friends who help their disabled friend reach Jesus by carrying him to the place where Jesus is known to be miraculously healing people. They are overwhelmed by a large crowd when they arrive but refusing to give up, they lower him down through the ceiling to meet Jesus. Jesus is astounded by their unwavering faith and heals the disabled man.

Capernaum is a representation of just that. Leaders walk alongside students in an attempt for them to experience the remarkable love, joy, grace and mercy Jesus has to offer. Everyone is given the opportunity to be abundantly loved by Jesus, regardless of their abilities and Capernaum is an environment that fosters that belief.

Having been a buddy/leader for several years now, I can honestly say that there is no greater joy than seeing a student sing a worship song and participate in a small group discussion about the love that Jesus has to offer people of all abilities! Some of the students may be non-verbal but it is so evident through their expressions and body language that God is doing great work in their hearts during Capernaum club. There is so much to be learned from the Capernaum students, as their constant joy and reliance on the Lord is so evident.

Capernaum doesn’t by any means always look perfect.

You never know exactly what may come up at any given moment whether it is an added singer that jumps up on stage with the worship leaders, a spontaneous dance party or a chant during the club talk but that is what makes Capernaum so beautiful.

Every student is loved for everything God made them to be and what could possibly be more incredible than that?