In my first year as a youth director, I remember being overwhelmed and up to my eyeballs. I had my eye on Young Life not because of their ministry, but because they happened to have some really attractive Christian ladies as leaders. ( I wound up marrying one of those girls) I digress. The Young Life area director at the time was in his 40’s and happened to be a wise and well respected guy in the community and in the world of many teenagers. He (YL) sought me (church guy) out and began to encourage me, ask the hard questions and involve me in the ministry of Young Life. I’m not sure I would have understood the ministry of YL if Paul hadn’t come to my turf first. Was his original motive to get me to quit flirting with his leaders? I don’t know, probably.
Now let’s look at the other side. Many area directors, just like youth pastors are in the 23-26 year old demographic. Based on my experience, there are a good portion of current Young Life leaders who were Young Life kids as well. They didn’t have a church background as a teenager yet many of them have become involved in a local body of beleivers. So here is my main question, can I as youth minister, who has been around a little while, expect for a 22 year old Area Director who wasn’t raised in the church to come to me first? I personally don’t think so. Can it and has it happened? I’m sure of it, but I don’t personally expect it. Not as an employee of the church but as person who views the church as his family, I model the importance of being connected to the larger body of Christ and refrain from simply saying ” you really should join ________ church”. This conversation needs to happen after some trust has been built. It’s not the first thing on my mind when I meet a new ministry partner, but it is high on my list.
As Brit (our local A.D) commented on the first post, relationship brings about partnership and I would add that relationship drives out fear.
Let’s chew on this for a day or two and then I will address some of the youth pastor’s who have brought up the question about church kids at Young Life. Are churches and ministries like YL, FCA and Youth for Christ stealing each other’s sheep or just leaving the gate open?