College ministries are a big part of the identities of students on a college campus. It gives the student a place to express themselves spiritually with a community that loves them and accepts them for who they are. As a sophomore here at Elon University I have the privilege of being a part of two really great ministries, YoungLife and InterVarsity. Now as a member of these two ministries, when a new student asks me "What is the difference between both ministries?" I am able to honestly answer that both are as amazing, both just have different ways of running their weekly events.
For example, YoungLife at Elon meets once a week for club in which we play very fun games, attendees occasionally win prizes, and then the last few minutes are devoted to a leader reading a passage from scripture and relating that back to some part of our daily life. Intervarsity, on the other hand, meets as a chapter once a week and the whole event is devoted to scripture studying and worship in a community setting. Both are very different and it just depends on what the student is looking for in a ministry. What breaks my heart though is when other ministry members, who have gone to YoungLife club criticize the way it is structured and have the audacity to say it is "not Gospel-centered" or "it's just playtime in there, they're not serious Jesus followers."
Just because YoungLife incorporates games doesn't mean that Jesus is not present in that atmosphere. In high school, I was invited to my first YoungLife club and in that one night, I learned the meaning of love, friendship, and Jesus. Coming from a non-believers perspective at that time, if my leader had invited me to a material heavy ministry such as Intervarsity, I probably would have run away and not have the friends I have now. I see YoungLife as an introduction to Jesus for young adults who may not have a relationship with Him, or for those just looking for a fun community to be a part of. Once, that relationship is built I see the opportunity to bring them into other ministries to strengthen their faith if they so choose.
So fellow ministry leaders, stop hating on YoungLife! It has changed my life for the better and I know through these strategies and the support of each other we will be able to build amazing communities where every feels welcomed!