Thursday, September 3, 2015

YL College: Large Group Topics

In our continuing series on Young Life College, this Thursday we’re sharing ideas about large group topics. Last week we talked about tips for getting folks to large group. (And we mentioned that on most campuses, large groups function like Campaigners in our high school ministry. So, once students arrive at large group, what do you discuss?

Below are some ideas from thriving YL College ministries around the country.

  • The scripture that was used as the central message in the previous club talk.
  • Who is Jesus? 
  • Tough questions:
    • Why does a good God let bad things happen?
    • How to respond to trials and suffering. 
    • Do I need to go to church? 
  • Reading books together and discussing
    • One group recently read “Love Does” by Bob Goff together.
  • Understanding Story
    • Your story within God's story.
    • Sharing life stories.
  • Christian Living
    • Things that are practical to their growth and everyday lives.
    • Spiritual disciplines.
  • How to follow Jesus in college.
  • Knowing the will of God.
  • Relationships
    • Dating
    • Friends
    • Parents
    • Submitting to authority
  • A book of the Bible
  • Leader Training
    • Not just for folks wanting to be YL leaders, but general leadership principles. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WyldLife Wednesday: 65 Contact Work Ideas

Written by Mark Kirgiss, Senior Area Director, Greater Lafayette, IN

The foundation of any WyldLife leader’s ministry is contact work. However, many WyldLife leaders struggle to find ways to do contact work with middle school kids. Our WyldLife leadership team brainstormed together 65 ways that any WyldLife leader can do contact work.
  1. Attend a football game
  2. Attend a volleyball game
  3. Attend a band concert
  4. Attend a choir concert
  5. Attend a baseball game
  6. Attend a softball game
  7. Attend a swim meet
  8. Attend a basketball game
  9. Attend a wrestling meet
  10. Serve in the concession stand
  11. Attend a school play/theatre performance
  12. Visit a middle school lunchroom
  13. Chaperone a middle school dance
  14. Chaperone a school trip
  15. Help coach a sport
  16. Volunteer to work at a track meet
  17. Run with the track/cross-country team
  18. Be a substitute teacher
  19. Do after-school tutoring
  20. Go to a movie
  21. Go out for a Coke
  22. Order pizza and watch a movie
  23. Go to a coffee shop
  24. Go out for ice cream
  25. Go bicycling
  26. Go miniature golfing
  27. Go swimming
  28. Go geocaching
  29. Go bowling
  30. Go roller skating
  31. Go ice skating
  32. Go sledding/inner tubing
  33. Go to a thrift store
  34. Go to an amusement park
  35. Go fishing
  36. Go camping
  37. Go canoeing
  38. Take a kid to breakfast
  39. Take a kid to lunch
  40. Take a kid to dinner
  41. Invite kids to your home for a meal
  42. Cook a meal with kids
  43. Make cookies with kids
  44. Volunteer with kids at a soup kitchen
  45. Play laser tag
  46. Play wiffle ball
  47. Play kickball
  48. Play dodgeball
  49. Play Frisbee/Ultimate Frisbee/Frisbee Golf
  50. Play basketball
  51. Play paintball
  52. Play ping-pong
  53. Play “Home Run Derby”
  54. Play pool/billiards
  55. Play video games
  56. Play board games
  57. Work out together
  58. Make necklaces/bracelets
  59. Make a “mix-tape”/playlist
  60. Give manicures/pedicures
  61. Paint ceramics
  62. Host a bonfire
  63. Host a New Year’s Eve party
  64. Help kids fundraise for camp
  65. Have a kid join you as you run errands
What would YOU add to this list?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Social Media Strategy For Your Young Life Club

Our Young Life team is meeting tonight to do more planning for the fall. One of the things on the agenda to discuss is our 'social media strategy.'  We've had seasons in the past where we've done a great job using Twitter and Instagram and plenty of weeks where we've dropped the ball. It's far from perfect, but you can see our Instagram account here

Below are some thoughts for your team to discuss as you think through how you will use social media this new school year. A YL social media strategy should be the same as our contact work strategy: We consistently show up where our kids are... and they are constantly on social media. 

Where To Post

  • We primarily use Twitter and Instagram but also have our tweets set up to automatically push to Facebook so parents that use fb can see what's going on as well. 
  • We also have a YouTube channel where we post videos we make for club and camp.

What To Post
  • We try not to use Instagram as a billboard to only promote YL events, but also use it to promote other school events: games, plays, student of the day, band, chess club, etc.
  • Last week we had one leader at the tennis match, another at the JV volleyball game, and another at the XC meet. We each took a pic and used the Layout app to combine them into an Instagram square. 
  • When you take a picture of kids, tag them in it (now you can tag folks on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.) 
  • Don't just post pictures, videos are fun too! 

When To Post

  • If you have club on Monday, then post the club theme on the preceding Friday at noon. That way kids can talk in the cafeteria as they see it and make plans to go to Goodwill to get kilts for Scottish Club if they need to. Also, repost the details on Sunday night at 9pm so it's fresh on kids minds before going to school on Monday morning. If you forget on Sunday night, post on Monday at noon so they can talk about it over lunch. 
  • Kids are constantly checking social media, but the prime times I've found to post where it will be seen:
    • First thing in the morning
    • Lunch
    • 3:45pm (or when school gets out)
    • 10pm (right before they go to bed)
  • Assign one leader to post a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) post each week. It's fun for Seniors to see pics of them when they were freshmen. You can find old pics you've taken with the Timehop app or just look through old pics on your Instagram account or kids' accounts. Before fall camp I love posting old camp pics to remind kids how much fun they had in previous years. 

How To Post

Below are the steps I took to make this Instagram square (pictured to the right) promoting our Senior Meeting last week:
  • I google image searched the word 'black' on my iPhone and saved one of the first images. 
  • I looked back at a Facebook photo album from when we went to fall camp when the rising seniors were freshmen and saved a few of those pics to my phone.  I then looked through Instagram for some other fun pics of seniors.
  • I used the Diptic app to put 4 of those people pics and the black screen background into a square of multiple pictures.  
  • I used the Phonto app to put text on the black background. (I think it looks cleaner when words are written on a solid background instead of putting them on a picture where you can't make out the letters clearly.)

Who To Post
  • Everybody's responsibility is nobody's responsibility. 
  • It's annoying to have to sign out of your personal Instagram account and log in to your YL one, so unless expectations are clear, chances are that no one will step up and do it consistently. 
  • There are a few different ways you could delegate the social media responsibilities:
    • Team leader assigns individual leaders to be in charge of the social media for a week at a time.
    • Each leader takes one day of the week and sets a reminder for them to post on that day.
    • Everyone takes pics at events and sends them to one person who is in charge of posting. 
    • After club each week the team meets and assigns specific days and things to post about for the coming week.

Other Ideas

  • Find a leader or kid in your area who is good at Photoshop and can make cool designs for you to post. 
  • Steal ideas from our Instagram account @YoungLifeLeader, from Jacob Raitz's helpful account @TonightYesTonight, and from other school accounts who do it well. I really love how @PearceYoungLife uses Instagram. 
  • Use Periscope to broadcast club so parents can watch from home. 
  • Create a hashtag for your club and announce at club for kids to use that hashtag when posting pics. Ours is #NWYL
  • Hold a contest on Instagram or Twitter and give a prize at club. "Whoever reposts this pic inviting folks to club will be entered to win lunch brought to you at school next week."
  • Feature a 'Student of the Week' every Wednesday on Instagram. Post their pic and a brief bio. Kind of like small town papers feature kids or some high school's do on the morning announcements. 
  • Share behind the scenes photos. Post a pic of the senior guys practicing a dance they're going to do at club the following night. 
  • Post a pic of your YL team and tag the leaders so kids know who to follow.
  • Hold a caption contest of a funny pic from club.
  • Ask kids to text you their pics from club so you can make a collage to share. 
  • If you don't feel confident using social media, ask a teenager to teach you how. Most of them are experts and it could be a fun time of contact work. 

What other ideas would you add? Email us here.

Monday, August 31, 2015

25 Person of Christ Club Talk Ideas

Originally posted in January 2015.
We open each semester by giving Young Life talks about the person of Christ. Who is Jesus? What is He like? What does He reveal to us about God?

25 Person of Christ Club Talk Ideas

1. Jesus Is Human, Yet Divine
  • The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” “Yes, it as you say” Jesus replied. Matthew 26:63-64
  • The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. -John 1:14
  • God became man.
2. Jesus Came For The Sick
  • "The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost." - Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45 
  • Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. -Matthew 4:23
3. Jesus Was Authoritative, Yet Humble
  • They were amazed at his teaching, for he taught as one who had real authority- quite unlike the teachers of religious law. -Mark 1:22
  • Mark 2:1-12- Authority to forgive sin.
4. Jesus Hung Out With The Outcasts
  • That night, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with his fellow tax collectors and many other notorious sinners. The Pharisees were indigent, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” they asked his disciples. -Matthew 9:10-11
5. Jesus Was Angered By Hypocrisy 
  • How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. -Matthew 23:27
6. Jesus Satisfies Our Desires
  • John 4- The woman at the well. 
  • He quenches our thirst. He is the Living Water.
7. Jesus Is Unpredictable, Yet Reliable
  • He was not the king people expected. This talk could go many different directions. Here are some ideas
  • Matthew 14:13-34 -Feeding the 5,000. 
  • John 10:37-38 -Jesus puts his money where his mouth is.
8. Jesus Was Tempted In Every Way, Yet Without Sin
  • He faced all of the same temptations we do. -Hebrews 4:15
  • But you know that Jesus appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him there is no sin. -1 John 3:5
9. Jesus Made It Possible To Have A Relationship With God
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. -John 3:16-17
10. Jesus Made Nobodies Somebodies
  • Jesus chose disciples who were fisherman and outcasts. They weren't chosen by other Rabbis, they were the leftovers, the second string, the JV team. 
  • Read Mark 1:14-20. 
  • Here's another helpful article about the disciples. 
11. Jesus Is Gentle, Yet Powerful
  • Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me." -Matthew 19:14 
  • Contrast with the miracles in Matthew 8
12. Jesus Can Sympathize With Our Struggles
  • This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses. -Hebrews 4:15
  • He enters into our despair- John 5:1-9 (Pool of Bethsaida)
13. Jesus Understands Our Sadness
14. Jesus Has Your Best Interest In Mind
  • In the story of Lazurus (John 11:1-46) it seems as if everything has gone wrong, but Jesus always has the big picture in mind. He turns broken things into something beautiful.
15. Jesus Wants To Be Your Friend
  • In Luke 19:1-10 we find the story of Zaccheus. God's desire to pursue a relationship with Zaccheus was not dependent on how good of a person Zach was. He didn't wait for Zach to come to Him, he pursued a relationship with him. Our worship of Jesus grows out of our friendship with Him. 
16. Jesus Can Make You Clean Again
  • We find the story of Jesus healing the Leper in Mark 1:40-44, Matthew 8:2-4, & Luke 5:12-14. 
  • Jesus has the power to cleanse us from physical and spiritual disease. He is moved with compassion for us. 
17. Jesus Came To Give Us Life To The Full
  • John 10:10- Abundant life
  • Luke 5- So many fish it breaks the nets
  • Matthew 14:22-46- Peter walking on water.
18. Jesus Came To Defeat Evil
  • Mark 5:1-20- Demoniac
19. Jesus Came To Give Us Freedom
  • Luke 4:14-22
  • Isaiah 61:1-2
20. Jesus Isn't Who We Often Expect
  • He's the life of the party- John 2
  • Luke 5- Big catch of fish
21. Jesus Wants To Hear Our Story
  • Mark 5:21-43- Bleeding Woman
22. Jesus Fights For Us
  • Jesus clears the temple. He wants nothing to get in between us and God.
  • Luke 19:45-48, John 2:13-17, Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-19
23. Jesus Gives Us A Do-Over
  • John 4- The woman at the well
24. Jesus Was Persecuted Unfairly
  • The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. - Matthew 26:59-60
  • He understands how it feels when you're treated unfairly.
25. Jesus Is In The Storm With You
  • He doesn't sleep through your storm.
  • Who is this that even the wind and waves obey Him?
  • Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 8:18, 23-27; Luke 8:22-25

What other 'Person of Christ' club talks have you given? Email us here and we'll add them to the post. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

14 Content Songs We'll Sing This Semester

In an effort to help kids feel more 'at home' when they show up at club, we try to regularly repeat the same songs. Our entire area is stacking hands on doing the same repertoire of content songs this year which will help when we're together at fall camp and all-city clubs.

We have 13 clubs planned this semester and will do 2-3 content songs at each of them. That's around 35 slots for content songs. We've picked 14 songs that we're going to repeat so kids learn them and feel at ease when singing them. Below are links to download a guitar chord sheet and slides for each song. There are also YouTube links below.

Click the song title to download a printable chord sheet.
  1. As I Am
  2. Enough For Me
  3. Good, Good Father
  4. I Am Yours
  5. I Will Never Be The Same
  6. Keep Our Eyes Open
  7. Lay My Burdens Down
  8. Let There Be Light
  9. S.O.S
  10. The Valley
  11. What If What They Say Is True?
  12. Your Love Is Deep
  13. I Could Run Away
  14. Come As You Are
Click the links below to download slides.
  1. As I Am
  2. Enough For Me
  3. Good, Good Father
  4. I Am Yours
  5. I Will Never Be The Same
  6. Keep Our Eyes Open
  7. Lay My Burdens Down
  8. Let There Be Light
  9. S.O.S
  10. The Valley
  11. What If What They Say Is True?
  12. Your Love Is Deep
  13. I Could Run Away
  14. Come As You Are
A leader in our area put together a YouTube playlist of all of these songs as well so you can listen to the ones you don't know. Thanks Steve Hestenes!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

YL College: Club-Large Group-Small Groups

It’s Thursday--and that means it's 'Young Life College' day on Today we’re sharing different thoughts about club, large group and small groups. 

Some YLC ministries structure it this way:

  • Club: outreach meeting for everyone
  • Large Group: for folks who want to go deeper (a combined gathering of all the small groups)
  • Small Groups: discipleship groups divided by year and gender. 

Not all YLC ministries have an established 'Large Group' time so this might be new to some of you. On some campuses, large group begins with a leader up front speaking to a group of 10-40. Then the group divides into smaller groups to discuss the large group message or another topic from a curriculum the small group leader has chosen. Large groups could essentially be a launching pad for your small groups. They can happen on the same night. Think of it as a way to get critical mass into a room so folks can then experience depth within their small groups that launch out of the large group time. Some ministries just do large group gatherings once each month.  

How To Promote Large Groups

  • Announce it at club.
  • Free Food: Some colleges host large group each week in a home with dinner included.
  • Personal Invitations: Students and leaders both personally invite friends to join their group.
  • Social Media, Email, Text
  • Excellence: Make it worth coming back to.
Other Large Group Variations
  • "Large group for us is a once-a-month gathering for worship and breaking into groups with questions either related to club talk the week before or a short message with questions following. 
  • "We meet weekly and have a time of hang out with everyone and then go directly to small groups." 
If you have other ideas for how you structure things in your college ministry, email us here

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WyldLife Wednesday: Mean Girls - Speaking Life Into Gossip

Written by Steph Raubenheimer, WyldLife Representative, Greater New York Division

“Ew, she was like ‘Hiiiii’ and I was like ‘Who are you and why are you talking to me?’”

Have you ever felt like you were an accidental producer in “Mean Girls 2” (…and 3, 4, 5, 6…), but your actors went rogue on your scene? Hopefully, you know you aren’t meant to play the role of Katie—I mean, Katy.

This is a real thing. Gentlemen? Okay, I’m NOT entirely sure what this looks like among boys, but if you cannot relate, please consider how reading on may help you train some friends you lead with, or may incline your heart to break for those kids on the receiving end of “ew.” They deserve to be at your club, to hang out with you/your leaders. They deserve to hear about Jesus’ great love for them.

This we know, this is why we’re in this thing, right?

What I want to pass along to you, my fellow WyldLife leaders and valiant lovers of kids - you who are ever so patient for fruit and transformation - is an encouragement to lead in moments of difficult “conversation” (gossip, slandering, etc). To protect the “ew” who probably isn’t in the room. To protect our own hearts because we are easily inclined to say “ew,” too, in various circles in the rest of our own lives. To lead as a person, and thereby spiritually because Christ lives in you.

I have all too often relied on my own wisdom to navigate “Mean Girls” moments with middle schoolers. Yet recently the Lord has been impressing the identities of protector and defender on my heart, and it’s had implications on who I am as a follow of Christ and therefore also as a WyldLife leader.

I’m not saying you should say “HEY: THAT’S NOT NICE!” But sometimes, I do communicate to defend and protect and thereby lead. But not in caps. I’m an adult, and I think it’s a good thing for kids to hear me say that the people they are talking about matter, because that’s the message of Christ. And these are the perhaps “rare-but-there” moments of discipleship with middle schoolers because we are showing them something of who Christ made all of us to be.

When I sit in silence and let someone get dragged through pubescent mud, what message does that tell the kids I’m with? Hmm. I’m really not sure, guys. It might tell them that I’m just the chauffeur and payer of the fro-yo, as I zone out to TSwift’s latest. This is not who I am nor who I’m called to be to them. But rather:

The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
And release from darkness for the prisoners…
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
A plating of the Lord
For the display of his splendor.
-Isaiah 61:1, 3b

Because this Jesus lives in us, we are equipped to love as He loves. May the same power that Jesus used to bind your heart to His empower you to lead your middle school friends, who will be 21st century oaks of righteousness.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Leaving A Legacy: Thoughts On Running A YL Senior Meeting

Over the past few years we've kicked off the new semester of Young Life with a 'Seniors Only' meeting. Special thanks to Brian Summerall for sharing his wisdom with us and prompting this new rhythm.

For us it has worked well to hold our 'Senior Meeting' on the evening of the first day of school. In addition to promoting the event on social media, our YL team has divided up the list of seniors and made personal invites to each of them. 

We try to plan the Sr. Mtg with even greater intentionality than we would give to planning club. This is such an important part of the Young Life year in setting the pace and casting the vision. Below is a sample schedule we've used in the past. 

Download this sample schedule below here in Word.

Sr Mtg Schedule

7:30- Adult leaders arrive to pray and get music and food and AV set up. Have music playing in background.

8- Seniors arrive

8:15- Start with welcome, leaders introducing themselves and an opening prayer.

8:20- Ask the seniors to one by one go around and share 'How did you first hear about Young Life? Why did you come? What was it like?'  As they are sharing have an assigned leader listen and write down every name that a senior mentions when they are sharing. Ex: "I came because my neighbor Parker picked me up and brought me when I was a freshmen."  Write down 'Parker.' You'll use those names later.

8:30- It's an older clip, but still works in painting a picture of leaving a legacy: 'Lord Of The Rings Clip: Samwise the Brave'

Sam: I wonder if we'll ever be put into songs or tales. 
Frodo: What? 
Sam: I wonder if people will ever say, 'Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring.' And they'll say 'Yes, that's one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn't he, Dad?' 'Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that's saying a lot.' 
Frodo: You've left out one of the chief characters - Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. 
Frodo: Frodo wouldn't have got far without Sam. 
Sam: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn't make fun; I was being serious. 
Frodo: So was I. 

8:35- "I wonder what people will say about you after you’ve graduated? I wonder if three years from now someone in the class of 2019 will be sitting at this meeting and mention your name." Use the names you've recorded from their share time earlier and read those back to them.

8:40- Read the Burr Nichols story out loud. Make printouts of this PDF and ask a few seniors or adult leaders to take turns reading.

8:45- Appoint a leader to give a short 'vision casting' talk after the Burr Nichols story.

Below are some potential talking points:

Leave A Legacy: Give Your Life Away
  • What legacy will you leave when you graduated in 9 months?
  • What will people remember about you? 
  • What will they write in your yearbook?
    • You are HOT. 
    • You have a sweet car.
    • You can hit a ball far.
    • OR... You cared about me, you listened to me, you noticed me, you reached out to me when I was lonely, you included me, you introduced me to Jesus and showed me what He's like.
  • Be a "there you are" kind of person and not a 'here I am' kind of person. It's counter-cultural in this selfie generation. 
  • “To have life is to give it away.“
  • Matthew 16:24-25 
  • More thoughts about giving your life away here.
The Power of Invitation
  • There is way more power in a personal invitation born out of genuine friendship than just passing out flyers and saying 'come to this thing.'
  • Ask them to think through who are the 'right' people that Young Life is for? (EVERYONE!)
  • Ask the seniors to think through their niche in the school and who they know.
  • Ask them to think about kids in different groups/cliques at the high school who aren't a part of YL. Do the 'x' kids feel welcomed and invited to club?
    • People who don't wear Vineyard Vines
    • Band kids
    • Chorus kids
    • Lax bros
    • Exchange students
    • Kids of different races
    • Gingers 
    • Angry kids
    • People who wear all black
  • Ask them to take a few minutes and brainstorm and write down a list of folks they know at the school who they could invite to be a part of YL this year. 

The Whys of Club

Pull back the curtain and go through a typical night at club and explain why certain things are done certain ways. Point out the different roles seniors can play in club. Use a dry erase board and see if they can come up with the club order. Always ask them “What’s next?” and “Why?” to see if they can come up with it on their own. Draw a funnel showing how club begins with a point of high activity and ends pointing to Jesus.

A Typical Night at Club
  • Leaders meet for final club prep and to pray
  • Kids Arrive - Club starts in the parking lot with parents and kids being welcomed with a handshake, hug, fist bump, or high five. 
  • Club Entry - Fun music with the seniors forming a tunnel
  • Radio songs- It's familiar- this place feels fun and safe and welcoming, moving kids from spectators to participants
  • Mixer- to meet new folks, include everyone
  • Skit/Up-front game- making kids the stars
  • Camp video or another fun video- Shows a picture of community, friendship and the memories being made
  • Announcements- announcing THIER stuff, not just YL stuff- what's going on at the school
  • Slow songs- Content related to the talk, changing the pace, slowing it down
  • Talk- explain talk progression
  • After club hang out/rides home- more time with kids
  • Leaders clean up and pray

Roles Seniors Can Play

Whether you are a Sr. Leader or not, you have great influence as a senior. Here are a few ways you can be a leader at YL this year:

  • Letting us as leaders know about key events at school
  • Wear YL shirts on Mondays- "Let YL take the worry out of what to wear on Mondays"
  • Tweeting/instagramming about club, use our hashtag: ex:  #NWYL
  • Explain the pre-club party on Sunday night before the first club where we'll sell shirts and shoe polish our cars with YL on them
  • Invite folks to fall camp
Leadership Roles at Club
  • Pre-Club DJ: Run music during pre-club hangout outside the club room
  • Club Hosts: Run the pre-club games (volleyball, corn hole, etc.) club card table and sell t-shirts. Pass out announcement info sheets and camp flyers as kids are leaving club.  Welcoming new comers and thanking them for coming. If we have drinks or snacks before club, the hosts would be the ones serving those. Also could help with parking and talking to parents who are dropping off underclassmen and picking them up after club.
  • Photographers/Videographers: Shoot pics and video before and during club, post the pics online (that same night if possible) and tag their friends.
  • Video Editors: Helping edit short videos to show each week at club.
  • Club Band: Lead music each week
  • AV Crew (Audio/Video): Running slides, lights, and sound.
  • Skits/Games: Leading games and doing skits at club.
  • Tunnel Makers: Every senior does this at the start of club

9:10- Invite all the seniors to pray out loud for their school 

9:25- If you choose, you can close the meeting by asking folks to fill out Senior Surveys and include a nomination for a YL President.

Sample Senior Survey

  1. Name
  2. Phone
  3. Favorite songs you’ve sang at club that you want to sing again? (BOTH fast/fun & content/worship songs)
  4. Favorite games you’ve ever played at YL that you want to play again?
  5. What have been your favorite Young Life related events?
  6. How can we make club better for you and your friends?
  7. What do you want to contribute to club?  (band, skits, host, making videos, etc…)
  8. What theme clubs do you want to do this year?
  9. Anything else you want us to know?
  10. Who do you think should be president of YL this year?
9:30- It would be a fun surprise at the end to do a gutter ice cream sundae or reveal the new YL shirts. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The First Ever Young Life Club: The Burr Nichols Story

Whenever classes and clubs start back each fall I love to read back over the story of the first Young Life club. It's a beautiful reminder of why we do what we do. It's a true story from 75 years ago. It's a story of a ministry founded on prayer. It's a story about contact work. It's a story about Burr Nichols- a high school football star whose life was forever changed by an encounter with Jesus. 

The First Ever Young Life Club

The Burr Nichols Story

During the 1938-39 school year, Jim (Rayburn) decided to take a part-time job with a Gainesville, Texas, church. Jim was the assistant pastor in charge of young people; Clyde Kennedy, a minister with progressive ideas, was his boss.

"Together the two men hashed out a novel idea-that Jim would work with unchurched kids exclusively, instead of with those who already attended. Nothing suited Jim better than this approach. Experiences in the Southwest had taught him that most high school kids avoid church if given a choice. Besides, Jim wasn’t fond of titles such as “minister,” “youth worker,” or “pastor,” and he had a real aversion to black robes, clerical collars, and religious garb. Armed with a soft spot in his heart for kids, and a burning love affair with God, Jim headed for the local high school. Little did anyone suspect how far-reaching his efforts would be.

"Through Clyde Kennedy, his path crossed that of a Mrs. McClusky, a lady who was also working with high school students; she and her club hostesses called their group the “Miracle Book Club.” At first progress was slow and results were disappointing. For a man who loved to think big, this was a major disappointment; his “Miracle Book Club” was working no miracle. Jim recalled: “I didn’t know how to run a club. I started having it in the afternoon, after school. I’d talked the school into giving me a classroom. I started with three kids . One of them turned out to be a Christian, and the other two didn’t turn out to be anything. I got it up as high as eleven that year, but I’m telling you, it was the saddest bunch of sacks you ever saw in your life. It you want to really see a bunch of sad apples, just have a meeting for the kids who’ll stay after school. I got the biggest selection of teachers pets you ever saw, not a red corpuscle in the whole crowed. Everybody I wanted to reach was out on the football field, and every place else, right while we were having our club meeting. After nine months of that, I knew I had to try something else.”

"In January of 1940, Jim changed the format from after school to early evening and the meetings were moved in to the homes of various students. “What a change! I started having lively meetings. Two or three kids came out who were really sharp and could do something with the rest of the bunch. Right at the start the Lord got hold of two kids. One of them was Viddie Sewell. She was the very first youngster that was ever led to the Lord Jesus Christ in a club of mine.”

“We decided we’d have a prayer meeting, those two kids an me. In the pastor’s study that Sunday night, we started to pray for the club. The pastor met with us. He was pushing on me all the time. He didn’t care if I did any work around the church. He just wanted to see those kids reached for Christ. He said, “Don’t you monkey around with people who come to church. I’ll take care of them. You go on down to that high school. Boy, now just think of that. I wonder what would happen if there were more pastors like that. That just said, $Boy, I’m not doing so badly with the people who are coming to church. The thing that’s bothering me is all those people who don’t come. Somebody go out and get them.  That’s what the church is all about, really.”

“You can’t read the book of Acts, you can’t read the New Testament, you can’t read of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, without coming to the conclusion that that’s what the church is here for, to go after others. And why it can sometimes be such a colossal flop because it’s so ingrown. Nobody hears the message except those who have always heard it, and they’re not going to do anything about it, so nothing happens.

This guy just kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me, and out I went. I don’t even think the prayer meeting was my idea. We’d had twelve kids at our club meeting the night those two kids came through for the Lord, and we decided to have this prayer meeting, and the next we had twenty-three. And boy, we have another prayer meeting, a prayer meeting that wouldn’t quit. The next week we hard thirty-two. And then we had another prayer meeting, and the school was really out then. The next night we met in the biggest home in the whole town, and we had fifty-one. And right at the end of the meeting, one of the toughest kids in the senior class got up and said, “Wait a minute, I wanted to tell you that I accepted Jesus Christ while Jim was talking.” It was like a bomb dropped in the place. None of us had ever heard of anything like that. It was Wonderful!”

“One or two others that had gotten “waked up” joined the prayer meeting the next Sunday night, and from fifty-one we went to sixty-two, and from sixty-two to seventy-five.  We two meetings of seventy-five, and kept praying.”

“A beautiful little blond girl, the school beauty queen, came to know the Savior and joined in that prayer meeting. She had never been in a prayer meeting in her whole life. We were praying around in a circle, taking turns, and she heard us praying for Burr Nichols, the captain of the football team. As soon as we raised our heads up from prayer, this little blond girl piped up and said, "I!ll get Burr! She was going with him, and said she’d bring him to the next meeting. Just like that! That prayer was answered fast.”

“We started the next meeting, and that night I’ll never forget. It was crowded in that hall where we were meeting. It was a big front hall, but seventy-five people are a lot of people for a hall. They were sitting on the floor, and I was crammed up against the front door. I kept looking for this blond girl and Burr Nichols. They weren’t there.”

“We went through the songs, and it was time for my message. I’d stalled as long as I could, and just as I was getting up to speak, there came a clomp, clomp, clomp across the front porch. That door busted open behind me and here was this little blond cutie and Burr Nichols right behind her. She just pranced in and sat down in front of me.
That was the only space on the whole floor. And there was Burr standing in front of that whole crowd; he turned around and sunk down beside her.”

“Well, I started in, and I was scared to death. I was just shaking in my boots. I gave the Gospel the best I knew. Burr hadn’t been at the beginning of the meeting, he hadn’t heard any of the singing or anything, but something about it he likes. He came around afterwards and stuck out his big mitt, shook my hand and said, “Boy, Jim, I liked that. I’m coming back next week.”

“Next week we started off with the same situation-a big crowd jammed up against the front door, but Burr Nichols wasn’t there. I went all the through and came to the message time again. I saw the little blond girl in the audience and thought, uh-oh, they’ve had a divorce this week.”

“Just as I started to speak, there came this awful clomp, clomp, clomp across the front porch. Burr opened the front door and came in like he owned the place. He walked past me and said “Jim, I wouldn’t have been so late, but I couldn’t find some of these guys.” And four teammates came trailing in behind him.”

“I found out that across the street from the high school a group of elderly women had been meeting for six years, every Monday morning, getting down on their knees in the living room of dear old Mrs. Frasier’s. They prayed every Monday morning for six years, long before I ever heard of Gainesville, Texas, for the high school kids across the street. I was there a year before I heard of that prayer meeting. I used to go over there with those five or six old ladies and get down on my knees with them after that club started to roll. That was the thing the Lord used to start it.”

“Back in seminary, a group of kids going to school got interested in the club and started to pray. They’d meet ever Monday night and pray while I went to the club meeting in Gainesville. They’d get down on their knees and spend hours praying for that club meeting. It’s no wonder we have a revival in that school.”

“That’s how Young Life started. I didn’t have in my mind to start anything but the club went from 75 to 96, and then to 100, and then to 119, and 135, and the week before finals there 170 kids there. Burr Nichols closed in with the Savior about the fifth night he ever heard the gospel. That fall Burr went to Dallas to spot players for the announcer at one of their games. Riding back they had a terrible accident and Burr was killed. His folks wanted me to preach the funeral. They said I was the only preacher Burr had ever listened to.”

“Burr grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and was regular ruffian. All the Lord was waiting for was somebody to get a little bit interested in Burr - a little blond beauty queen and a little pip-squeak theological student. Burr was a precious soul for whom the Lord died. This country is full of people like that. There are thousands of people in this country that no Christian has ever said a kind word to. Most of the kids in this nation are like that. A few million more of them will graduate from high school this year. Just like Burr Nichols, they never heard the story and I can’t stand that.”

From Dance, Children, Dance by Jim Rayburn III

(Thanks to Brian Summerall for putting this PDF together.)