Friday, August 23, 2019

Get 50% off "Alongside" for Your Young Life Area

Could your Young Life team use some encouragement heading into the new school year?

"Alongside" was written specifically for YOU- Young Life leaders chasing after kids with the love of Jesus.

It’s currently 50% off on when you buy a 10-pack for your YL area. 

Our goal with The Young Life Leader Blog is to ENCOURAGE + EQUIP you to come alongside kids with the gospel. Don’t hesitate to email us if we can be of any help! 

- Drew, Sam and Alexis

Use the code “YL10” at checkout.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Team Dynamics

The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community. 
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community 

Our hope as we make disciples is to bring people face-to-face with Jesus. But it’s also to invite people into a missional community—a group of people, living together with the same purpose. 

There’s nothing more bonding than being on mission together. You’ve probably felt that. Think back over the work crews and summer staffs you’ve been on. The Young Life teams. The mission trips. You tend to get close with the people you’re on mission with.

But part of being in community is learning to love one another even when things aren’t all hunky-dory. Sometimes team relationships can make us want to just do ministry by ourselves. Remember those group projects in middle and high school? You always had the one person who never carried their weight and you likely just wished it could be an individual project instead of a group one.

But Christ modeled for us the importance of doing ministry in community. He modeled this with the disciples and by sending them out in pairs. We also see it modeled in the way the Trinity functions, with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit working together in perfect harmony. 

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 about the importance of the different parts that make up the body. As we do ministry together, it’s vital that we all have different gifts and abilities. Often, the best Young Life teams are made up of people who wouldn’t normally be friends apart from Christ. Affinity-driven friendships easily become inward-focused. Friendships that happen as a result of the gospel more naturally remain on mission. 

When we love one another like this, it’s a megaphone for the gospel. Jesus told his disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35). 

When we actually see ministry teams functioning like this, it’s one of the most beautiful gospel pictures we’ll ever witness. And when you see it, you’ll long to be a part of it. 

This semester we’re going to take a deep dive into Young Life team dynamics and understanding how we can move closer together in these missional communities. 

To get you started, here are some questions you can kick around with your Young Life team this week at leadership.

Questions For Your Young Life Team
  • How do we feel about our team dynamics? 
  • Do we love one another well? 
  • Do we pray for one another consistently? 
  • When have you watched a teammate demonstrate Jesus’s love to one of his or her middle- or high-school friends? 
  • If our team could improve on one aspect of ministry, what would it be? 
  • What’s one thing you would like to improve in your personal ministry? 
  • What is one thing we can be accountable for to help you grow personally and in your ministry? How can we as a team support you? 
  • Who are potential leaders you can be praying for who might join our team? 

If a team leader or staff member is leading this time, they can ask: 
  • What is something I as a team leader am doing well? What is something I as a team leader can improve? 

You can end your time by praying this prayer together:

A Prayer for Unity (adapted from
We are gathered here because we believe that we are called together into a work we cannot yet know the fullness of. 
And so we offer to you, O God, these things: Our dreams, our plans, our vision. 
Shape them as you will. Our moments and our gifts. May they now be invested toward bright, eternal ends. 
Richly bless the work before us, Father, giving grace lest we grow enamored by our own accomplishment or entrenched in old habit. 
Instead, let us be ever listening for your voice, ever open to the quiet beckoning of your Spirit in this endeavor. 
You alone, O God, by your gracious and life-giving Spirit, have power to knit our imperfect hearts, our weaknesses, our strengths, our stories, and our gifts, one to the other. 
Unite your people and multiply our meager offerings, O Lord, that all might resound to your glory. 
May our love and our labors now echo your love and your labors, O Lord. 
Let all that we do here, in these our brief lives, in this our brief moment to love, in this, the work you have ordained for this community, flower in winsome and beautiful foretaste of still greater glories yet to come. 
O Spirit of God, now shape our hearts. 
O Spirit of God, now guide our hands. 
O Spirit of God, now build your kingdom among us. Amen.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” 
-John 13:34–35


Written by Drew Hill.

Drew is a pastor in Greensboro, NC and also on staff with Young Life in the Global Innovation and Training department. Drew started the Young Life Leader Blog in 2010 and has written an award-winning book for Young Life leaders called "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel."

Recruiting New Leaders

The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (Matt.9:37).

Now is a great time to recruit new leaders to join your team. Here are 10 ways to do it:

  1. Ask your middle or high school friends if they have any older siblings, friends, teachers or coaches they think would make good YL leaders. 
  2. Ask the parents of your middle or high school friends if they know any college grads moving back to the area who might make good YL leaders.
  3. Ask local youth pastors/pastors if there is anyone in their church with a heart for outreach and teenagers.
  4. Put up flyers at local universities, community colleges, and Paneras.
  5. Use social media to spread the word and let others know your needs.
  6. Partner with campus ministries at the local college to see if there are folks in Cru, IV, FCA, RUF, CO, etc...who might be interested in outreach high school ministry.
  7. Ask empty-nester parents to pray about leading.
  8. Guest preach or make announcements at local churches, casting the vision and sharing the need.
  9. Talk to Christians who don't really understand Young Life and help them grasp the heart of the mission.
  10. Pray expectantly, asking God to provide in ways that may surprise you.

Acts 2:42-47: "They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers. Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person's need was met. They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved."


Written by Drew Hill.

Drew is a pastor in Greensboro, NC and also on staff with Young Life in the Global Innovation and Training department. Drew started the Young Life Leader Blog in 2010 and has written an award-winning book for Young Life leaders called "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel."

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader: Celebration and a Heaven-Facing Posture

Today's post is part 11 of our Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader series. Previous posts in the series include Spiritual Disciplines of a LeaderEliminating HurrySabbathSolitudePrayerCommunitySimplicityWorshipStudy, and Daily Examen


  • A word we use when we want to recognize a specific joyous occasion. 
  • The most overplayed song by Kool and the Gang, used at weddings, graduations, and bat mitzvahs.
  • A word that we may use lightly in an everyday context. 
  • "Celebration is at the heart of the way of Christ.” - Richard Foster 
And yet...we live in a world where we easily gravitate towards the negative and rarely recognize the positive. We tend to focus on the bad things happening in the world before we notice the good. We look to the regret of the past more than the hope of the future.

So how do we live life with a heaven-facing posture? 

Obedience leads to joy.

“The joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Neh 8:10)

Obedience is a word some might say is cringe-worthy because we associate it with following rules and conforming to authority. But in this context, we are following the guidance of a Father who loves us. Joy is the end result of the other spiritual disciplines.

So how do we celebrate well? 

In Psalm 150, the people of God are practicing celebration with the playing of instruments, dancing, and singing. Sounds a lot like Young Life club, a "party with a purpose!" 

Throughout scripture we see a model of celebration beginning with thanksgiving. Have you ever spent time in a leadership meeting raising cans of LaCroix and toasting what the Lord has done? Gratitude leads to celebration.

Contact Work
We celebrate God's creativity in how he uniquely designed each person. When we show up at our high school friends’ music concerts, art shows, and theater productions - we are not only supporting them, but also celebrating God's goodness in them.

What would it look like to make your Campaigner gatherings a celebration this semester? Elegant food? Prayers of thanksgiving? Serving others? Surprises? Dressing fancy? Let's remember what God has done and celebrate it together!

How are you modeling the practice of celebration?

“Celebration gives us the strength to live in all the other spiritual disciplines." - Richard Foster

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” - John 15:11 

Enjoy this Spotify playlist for CELEBRATION!

Written by Marissa Brogden. 
Marissa is currently on YL staff in Livermore, CA, having recently served with Young Life Military/ Club Beyond in Germany. She is focusing on developing Young Life and Wyldlife in her area and loves reality TV shows and boy bands.

Friday, August 16, 2019

One Thing I Wish I'd Done

This morning I was looking for some notes from a podcast I'd listened to last year. I wanted to use a specific illustration from the sermon in a talk I'm giving next week. I couldn't remember all the details or where I'd first heard it, but I knew I'd written them down somewhere. They had to be one of seven places:
  • A little red journal I keep in my car to jot down notes while driving
  • The 'Notes' app on my iPhone
  • The 'Evernote' app on my iPhone
  • In Dropbox
  • In Google Drive
  • On a Word Doc on my hard drive
  • On a scrap piece of paper in my 'to file pile' on my desk
After a frustrating search, I came up empty handed. 

I searched my hard drive, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc... and had all kinds of 'tags' that made it quite confusing:
  • YL talk illustrations
  • Young Life talk illustrations
  • Young Life talks
  • YL talks
  • Talk illustrations
  • etc...
It became quite obvious that my organizational system is in major disarray. 

Over the last two decades of being a YL leader I've taken a ton of notes.
  • YL talks I've heard
  • YL talks I've given
  • New staff training
  • Seminary classes
  • Sermons I've heard
  • Podcasts I've heard
  • Movie illustrations 
  • Campaigners notes
  • Notes from leadership
  • Bible Studies
But my notes aren't super helpful to me now because they're not organized and hard to locate. 

One thing I wish I'd done differently is to start a strict way of filing notes earlier on in ministry. It would be a gift to me now and would not have taken that much more time along the way. I didn't realize in college that I would be using those notes from my Area Director's talk at leadership twenty years later. 

If you're starting off in ministry, take notes now and file them systematically. If you're not an organized person, bribe one of your 'type A' friends to help you get organized. It will be worth it in the long run.

The Way I Store Notes Now
  • I use the 'Notes' app on my iPhone to jot down quick notes I don't anticipate needing again down the road. If I do decide to save them, I open up the 'Notes' app on my MacBoook or phone and copy and paste them into Evernote. 
  • I use the Evernote app on both my phone and laptop (they sync seamlessly) to keep anything I might use again. I have different folders within Evernote such as 'YL club game ideas,' 'YL talk illustrations,' 'Campaigners ideas,' etc...  but what really makes Evernote work for me are the 'tags.'  On each note you have you can tag it with different categories. That helps a ton when searching for a note down the road. Read more here on how to organize Evernote.  Evernote is also super helpful because if you're reading an article (or any webpage) you want to save, you can click a button on your phone or computer and it will file that article into the Evernote category of your choice. 
  • If you're an Apple fan, the new iCloud makes it super easy to have all of your docs on all of your devices. That way, if you've typed something on your desktop, you can still pull it up on your phone when you're away from home. 
If you have other ways you've found to organize your notes, please comment below or email us here and we'll add them to the post.


Written by Drew Hill.

Drew is a pastor in Greensboro, NC and also on staff with Young Life in the Global Innovation and Training department. Drew started the Young Life Leader Blog in 2010 and has written an award-winning book for Young Life leaders called "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel."