Friday, May 27, 2016

Brandon Heath's Brand New Music Video & Young Life Story: "Only Just Met You"

Check out Brandon Heath's brand new music video "Only Just Met You" featuring Young Life's Malibu Club. Make sure to watch the last minute of the video and hear Brandon's story of how Young Life played a huge role in him meeting Jesus.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Questions To Help Your YL Team Evaluate & Celebrate The Year

One of the most valuable, but often neglected, activities we can do as a Young Life team is to regularly evaluate and celebrate.

It's tempting to measure success with numbers. It's tempting to feel good about the year if you’ve had had big clubs and an epic camp sign-up. It's tempting to feel bad about the semester if Campaigners never picked up momentum. It's tempting to think wider is better than deeper.

Tempting... and misleading. In the Psalms, we see the psalmists consistently reminding their souls of God's truth. We must do the same.

Before we evaluate and celebrate, let's remember the One who gives and takes away. If we trust God to be in control... when things go well, He gets the glory. And when our ministry seems to languish, we can say with open hands, "Sovereign God, in your timing, your will be done."

Below are some questions to help your team evaluate and celebrate the past year.

  • What motivated you to keep going this year when things got hard?
  • What was something you experienced that was frustrating or disappointing?
  • What God-given gifts were you excited to use this year as you served in YL?
  • What gifts do you wish you would've developed?

  • What did the Lord teach you this year? How did you grow in your relationship with Him?
  • Where did Jesus surprise, interrupt, shake you up or delight you this year?
  • In addition to your role as a leader, what helped you grow in your faith?

Contact Work
  • Tell us a story that happened this year with one of your middle or high school friends.
  • Share contact work highlights. What worked well? What would you like to improve?
  • What new kids did you meet this semester?
  • What kids did you see grasp the Gospel for the first time?
  • What kids are heavy on your heart right now?

  • Share the highlights you remember from club this year.
  • What worked well at club this year? What should we keep doing next year?
  • What should we do differently? What is one way to improve club in the fall?
  • Were kids given ownership of Club?
  • How could we 'spread the word' about club better starting in August?
  • What went well with your club talks?
  • What is one way you can grow in becoming a better communicator of the Gospel?
  • As far as you were able, did you welcome new kids at club?
  • Did we remember names well?
  • Did we meet parents before and after club?
  • Did we leave the club room cleaned up, better than we found it?

  • Share a highlight or two from Campaigners this year.
  • How could Campaigners improve for next fall?
  • Who are 3 of your closest high school friends and how have you seen them grow?
  • What kids are you most excited about going deeper with next year?
  • Were kids given ownership of Campaigners this year? Did you position kids to lead?

  • How have you felt about summer “camp sell“?
  • What have we done well as a team to get kids signed up?
  • What could we do differently next year to help get kids to camp?
  • What is your contact work plan for the summer?
  • If you will be out of town, how will you stay in touch with kids?
  • What are you looking forward to this summer?
  • What are you dreading?
  • Where do you sense God leading you this summer? Where are you excited to see God at work in your life this summer?

  • Share a time when you watched a teammate demonstrate Jesus' love.
  • If our team could improve on one aspect of ministry next year, what would it be?
  • What one thing would you like to improve on in your personal ministry next year?
  • 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?
  • What sacrifices did you make this year to do YL? Were those wise sacrifices to make?
  • (If the team leader is leading this time...) What is something I as team leader did well?
  • What is something I as team leader can improve on in the fall?
  • How do you feel about our team dynamics? Did we love each other well? Pray for one another consistently? Serve and help one another? How can we grow in that next year?
  • Make a list of potential leaders to be praying for to join our team.

You can download these questions to print here.
You may also want to refer to the Young Life 'Back to the Basics' Inventory.

Now, go out and celebrate! Remember that He who began a good work in you and your ministry, promises to continue and complete it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

7 Keys To Being a Leader at WyldLife Camp

Written by Bekah Siau, Area Director with YL Military at West Point, NY

Have you ever looked at the chaos in your WyldLife cabin at camp and thought, “I’m supposed to have cabin time now? And with this crew?” 

You're not alone. I too know the feelings of unpreparedness and helplessness! How do we process the greatest message ever shared with our middle school friends in the midst of the chaos?

Give Yourself Grace
No one has it all figured out or is fully prepared to lead through every challenge that a week of Wyldlife camp will present. It isn’t all up to you. Rely on and allow space for the Holy Spirit to work.

Battle Buddy
Make sure you have a battle buddy! Get to know your co-leader, then lean on, support and encourage each other. Do everything you can to pray with and for each other and your students before and during camp.

Allow Emotion
Acknowledge your students’ feelings. Sometimes different illustrations stir up emotions in kids, and they don’t fully understand why it evokes an emotional response. They might not know why they are crying or angry, and it might not seem relevant to the club talk at all, but we have to deal sensitively with their feelings first. Help them put a name to their feelings whenever possible: frustration, anger, fear, sadness, hurt, rejection, regret, remorse, etc. Address the emotions and then help them understand what the speaker was trying to convey.

Speak Life
Their big question is: “Do you like me?” They are sensitively aware of any feelings of rejection or disgust from others. They need sincere and positive affirmation every day. They need encouragement to try new things. This goes a long way in “earning the right” to be heard with them. The best way to communicate the gospel to them is to BE the gospel, to show them!

Short & Sweet 
Keep cabin time concise. I like doing “highs and lows” but it takes forever with middle school girls. Instead, save it for the end of the night instead of during cabin time. Each girl climbs to the top bunk with her bunkmate and shares highs and lows of the day. (For boys, you might need the structure of sharing highs and lows at the beginning of cabin time to get conversations started.)

Know that it is probably really uncomfortable for a middle school student to have conversations about what they believe about life and Jesus. It might be the first time that any of them have ever even thought about God. Acknowledge this fact with them. It might be pretty normal that they repeat what you or someone else said. They might not be able to verbalize their own thoughts or opinions yet. They are very much in a period of trying on faith and belief. Be patient and understanding with them in this.

Students should be invited to consider a relationship with Jesus, but you should also ask them questions to help them fully understand what that means for them. Students their age can be easily persuaded by adults. Please be extremely sensitive to this! Our goal isn’t for every student to go on the New Believers Walk. Our goal is for students to know and experience God’s love for them and to understand that He created them for a purpose and desires to have a relationship with them. Then we let them consider how to respond to that! Don’t underestimate the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing clarity and understanding of the gospel to students!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

University of Texas YL College Placement Night Hoverboard Dance

On this #YLTeamTuesday we're giving a shoutout to the YL College Team at UT-Austin. I guess it's true, everything is bigger in Texas, including the way they do leader placement nights. 

Check out this video from The University of Texas' YL College Placement Night. Thanks to Noah Maney for passing it along. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Can't Stop the Feeling: Download Chords and Slides

Justin Timberlake recently released his new single, "Can't Stop the Feeling." It's likely to be the most popular song of the summer and if you're leading music at camp, this one is a must-do! I suspect it might also be a "closer" for some program operas, after all, Justin has already choreographed a dance for you in the music video.

Download a PDF of guitar chords and slides below.

Guitar chords

PowerPoint slides

Keynote slides

Saturday, May 21, 2016

“Am I Cut Out for Young Life?”

[This is an excerpt from my friend Tim Branch’s brand new eBook for Young Life leaders. You can download the book for free by clicking here.] - Drew Hill
We talk a lot in Young Life about “being yourself.” People say it like it’s easy. So then, why do many of us find it so hard


I compared myself a lot in my first years as a leader. Because of my introverted person- ality, I thought I was worse at Young Life than the other leaders on my team.
They’d be just killing it in the middle of a circle of laughing people, and I’d be talking to two guys in the corner. I tried the extrovert thing, but it never felt right. Can you relate?
If so, I have a message for you today. It’s a message I wish I had known when I first started leading.

Your differences are actually an advantage for your team—and for the Body of Christ.

Here’s why: Just like a football team needs different talents to function properly, a Young Life team needs all different types of people to truly thrive in a high school. It’s hard to make Young Life work. And good Young Life teams celebrate having leaders with different skill sets.

That’s why it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself directly with someone else. It keeps you from using your unique gifts to make your ministry team stronger, and in- stead makes you think you need to be a cheap knockoff of someone else.

Imagine if a 400-lb. lineman wished he could be a wide receiver, so he started spending his time learning how to catch a football instead of learning how to keep people away from his quarterback. What good is he doing for the team? Who needs a slow receiver? He’s good at protecting the quarterback...and his team NEEDS him to protect the quarterback...he should just protect the quarterback!

In the same way, you have to be willing to use YOUR gifts the way they were meant to be used, and stop trying to be like that one “prototype leader” you think you’re supposed to be like.

Paul says this exactly when he says:
“If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:17-20)

While a lineman may feel like the receiver gets more glory because he catches all the touchdowns, he’s failing to see that without his job, the receiver wouldn’t have anything to catch. The receiver needs the lineman.

This is why it’s so sad when you feel like your gifts are worthless.

Because, while the impact of a body part is different, the value of that impact is the same.

The truth is, different types of leaders bring out the best in each other:

  • The deep, quiet leader can often offer much-needed support and spiritual guid- ance to the team.
  • The funny skit guy can open doors for soft-spoken leaders to connect with their high school friends through laughter.
  • The well-organized leader can take the worry out of club so everyone can stay focused on the important stuff.
  • Fill in the blank with your gift.

So what do you do with this information? Where’s your place on your Young Life team? Well, here are five questions that can help you figure that out:
  • What do I think my gifts are?
  • What do other people think my gifts are?
  • How can I grow into these gifts more?
  • What does my team need, and how can my gifts fill those needs?
  • What kids am I drawn to that my other teammates might not connect with?
Every gift has its place on the team. So embrace your unique strengths. Your team needs them.

-Tim Branch

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sharing in my Shame: When Meghan Trainor Fell

Some of you might have already seen the Meghan Trainor video from The Tonight Show last week. She was performing in platform heels and took an accidental tumble at the end of the song. Jimmy Fallon's knee-jerk response was phenomenal. Without hesitation, he fell to the floor and laid down right beside her, sharing in her shame. The audience went nuts. Their gasps from watching the fall quickly changed to loud applause.

During my freshmen year in college, a senior I knew named Tripp was diagnosed with leukemia. The day he started chemo he came home to find his seven roommates had all gone bald on his behalf. One of them had a huge noggin and looked hideous with a shaved head, but that dude became one of my heroes. It was such an unselfish way to say "Tripp, I love you, and I'm in this with you, sharing in your shame."

As Young Life leaders, we get the privilege to lay down on the floor with our high school friends when they fall. We get to remind them that grace is greater than guilt. And we get to point them to the One who bore all of our shame on the cross.

I can't imagine having a YouTube video of one of my biggest mistakes viewed by millions of people. If someone were to put my secrets on the screen, I'm sure all of you who read this blog would gasp just like The Tonight Show crowd. But then you'd see the God of the universe come lay down right beside me. You'd see Him be stripped naked and nailed to a cross. You'd watch him take the fall that I deserve. And you would applaud. 

After I watched the video clip of "Ms. All About that Bass" falling on her face, I couldn't help but text the link to some friends. Not just so they would laugh with me at Meghan Trainor, but because there are few things more beautiful than watching others lay down their lives. 

Written by Drew Hill.

Meghan Trainor Tumbles on The Tonight Show

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Solving the Camp Phone Problem

An Area Director recently sent us this email and we'd love your help solving the problem. If you have ideas, please comment below or email us here. Thanks! -Drew 


Last year our area took students to camp and we told them "no phones" a million times and then we collected phones on the bus. At the end of the week, we found out a half dozen girls had their phones with them the whole time and actually turned in fake phones because they didn't want to miss out on social media or "ruin their snapchat streaks." 

Word got out that they managed to keep them and not get caught until the ride home, so at fall camp we had the same problem with every single boy that went to camp turning in a fake phone, but they got caught while at camp.

We are trying hard to brainstorm the best way to get them to actually turn in their REAL phone for summer camp. What things do other areas do? I'm guessing this is a problem with other areas and not just ours!  


Vexed by Verizon
Siked by Sprint
Tricked by T Mobile
Counterfeited by Cricket

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WyldLife Camping: Did You Know?

It’s that time of year… you’re inviting kids, raising money, talking to parents and praying hard to get your WyldLife friends to camp this summer. As you make your plans, don’t forget these important policies and guidelines for WyldLife camp.

DID YOU KNOW that campers must have completed a year of middle school before coming to camp? WyldLife summer camp is not the place to introduce incoming middle school kids to WyldLife.

DID YOU KNOW there needs to be an adult leader (“adult” also includes current college students!) in every cabin with your WyldLife friends? You may have great high school students serving as WyldLife leaders – if you do, that’s wonderful and something to be thankful for. However, adult or college leaders – even if they are not the primary leader in a cabin – provide maturity, boundaries and even a different perspective on the Gospel.

DID YOU KNOW that the recommended leader/camper ratio for WyldLife camp is one leader for every five kids?

DID YOU KNOW that assigned teams and camps have important information for your WyldLife trip leaders? Theme nights. Packing lists. Last-minute updates.

Assigned teams and camp staff use the contacts listed in the Camp Reservation System when they have information to share about your week at camp. Often the area director is listed as the trip leader but someone else will actually lead that trip – maybe that someone is you! As soon as possible, let your camp and assigned team know who is leading your trip so they can communicate directly with both the trip leader and area director.

When you follow these guidelines, you’ll set your middle school friends up to hear and experience the Gospel in the best way possible.

Written by Julie Clapp.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Young Life Leader Packing List For Camp: 25 Items To Not Leave Home Without

Psalm 119:105- "The Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."

Mini Notepad/Pen
Take notes in the leader mtgs, write down the schedule, cabin time questions, etc... it's nice to have a lil notepad that fits in your pocket. It's also handy during club if you want to write down ideas from the talk/songs/etc...

I use it to label clothes, zip-lock bags, and draw beards for western night.

Water Bottle
The Dos Equis guy got it wrong. "Stay hydrated my friends." Two keys to surviving a grueling week without much sleep are eating right and drinking lots of H2O.

You know you look cool wearing it around, and on top of the cool points, it's quite useful.

Crazy Creek
Comfy to have for leader meetings and cabin time. Probably not the best for the club room, unless you have 400 camping chairs to share.

Shoes (I bring 6 pairs, don't mock me)

  • Casual (for kickin' it)
  • Throw aways (for the obstacle course)
  • Extra pair (for the kid who only brought one pair of shoes and now they're wet. It's impossible to have the best week of your life if your shoes are always wet.)
  • Chacos (great for the shower and the lake)
  • Hiking boots/Running shoes/Closed-toed shoes (for the hike day, horse back riding, ropes course)
  • Bedroom slippers (Might sound funny, but sure feels homey. Plus, it gives your campers another way to make fun of you.)

White Noise
It's tough to sleep surrounded by the sound of 15 kids' random heavy breathing. The free White Noise app on the iPhone does the trick. Plus, it provides a great joke for all the kids to pick on you about for the next year. "Remember when you made us listen to that terrible noise all night long at camp." They'll mock you... but secretly be thankful.

Don't carry your phone all around camp when campers aren't allowed to have theirs. Borrow a camera or invest in one. But don't miss all the fun because you're on the sideline taking pics either.

Watch/Alarm Clock
Bring a watch so you can know the time and not have to pull out your phone. An alarm clock is essential as well as your body clock is going to press the all-natural snooze button.

Nuff said.

You do a lot of walking around camp. It's nice to not have to go back to the cabin to get things. I like to keep my Bible, notebook, crazy creek, sunscreen, shades, cards, camera, wallet, etc.. in a backpack. When I'm not wearing it I usually keep it in the Leader Lounge. I initially pack my backpack for the bus-ride. If you're wearing Chacos on the bus, make sure to put socks in your bag because buses can get chilly.

It's nice to have some candy to pass out on the bus, at cabin time, etc... You can also ask friends to mail your cabin a package at camp.

Cabin Unity Game Outfits
Don't go too overboard, it makes other cabins look bad. But don't go too underboard, it's fun to get creative and make your cabin feel special. Here are some ideas from

During my early years of leading, I used to play "Silent Football" with guys in the cabin at night. After realizing that game has potential to really "damage" some kids, I've switched to a nightly routine of playing "Push the Deck." We circle up laying on the floor, taking turns to do pushups through an entire stack of playing cards. Face cards=10. Aces=15. Number cards=# on the card. It tires guys out pretty good. Last man standing wins.

Ziplocks/Plastic Bags
Statistics show that 8 out of 10 YL campers and leaders leave camp with a wet item. Wouldn't it be nice to have a plastic bag to pack that baby in?

If you were a middle school girl in the 90's you might still have a Caboodle in your attic. It would be pretty hilarious if you packed it full of materials to do an "post cabin time- spa night."

Extra Clothes To Share
Gals love to trade clothes, and guys love to get dirty, so both male and female leaders should bring extra clothes. There's something bonding about sharing your gear.

Extra Pillow/Blanket
Everyone sleeps better with their own pillow. Pack your own comfy sheet or blanket (stuffed down in the pillow case.) A good night's sleep is essential to being an 'oh boy' leader. It's nice to have a warm blanket on a cold bus.

Extra Towels
Because it's gross to share a towel and your high school friend is going to forget to bring one.

A bad sunburn and chapped lips make it harder to have the best week ever. Make sure you and your campers use sunscreen and chap-stick, especially in Colorado!

Duct Tape
I always pack a roll and I always need it for something.

Theme Nights
Talk to your trip leader and find out what your theme nights are at camp. If you're doing 'Tacky Christmas,' then bring red/green gear. For Western night, bring eyeliner to make freckles, buck teeth, and extra bandanas.

Spending $
Be aware of what kids don't have extra $ and be willing to splurge and buy them a milkshake at the Sippie-Parlor.

Soap, shampoo, deo, toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, floss, razor, shaving cream, nose-hair trimmer, bug spray, labeled medications.

T-shirts, shorts, hoodies, jeans, swimsuit, rain jacket, underwear, socks, belt.

Hats, sunglasses, headphones, phone charger, etc...

What would you add? Comment below or email me here.