Friday, June 22, 2018

A Letter To Leaders Who Helped Your Friends Raise Money For Camp

Dear Young Life leader who helped me fundraise for camp,

Thank you! More than you'll ever know. I know you have better things to do than to sell coupon books door to door with me. I know you're tired of washing cars and waking up at 4am for yard sales. I know you're probably tired of my mom always calling you asking how we're possibly going to raise all that money for camp. I know you have to be exhausted. And I know I rarely say it to your face, but thank you.

We're going to camp together next week and I can't wait. You told me it's going to be the best week of my life, and although I'm not quite convinced yet, I do trust you. I trust you because you don't just tell me you love me with your words. I trust you because you are there for me. You've been with me. You were right there beside me when we about sweated to death moving that furniture. You worked even harder than I did when we had to pull those weeds for three hours in the blazing heat. You even sent letters to your own friends asking them to send in money to help me go to camp.

Why would you do that for me?
Why would you love me like that?

I know it has something to do with this guy Jesus you keep talking about. I don't know him, and I'm not sure what I really believe about him, but I'm guessing if he's anything like you, I'd probably like the guy. Maybe I'll even meet him next week at camp? Who knows?

Maybe he'll change my life like he's changed yours. Maybe one day I'll actually be able to impact others' lives like you've impacted mine. I sure hope so.

Are we seriously riding on a bus together for thirty-two hours? Thirty-two? I can't wait!


Monday, June 18, 2018

50 Questions To Take You Deeper

A friend recently asked me to send him some good questions. He wanted to go deeper with a group of guys he regularly meets with. Below is the list I sent him. I thought it might be helpful to use with your Campaigners group, College Bible Study or maybe to just toss around on a Saturday night with friends. -Drew

  1. What keeps you up at night?
  2. What gets you up in the morning?
  3. What’s the most fun thing you’ve done lately?
  4. Who knows you the best?
  5. Who has authority to speak into your life?
  6. What is your relationship with your dad like? 
  7. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
  8. What do you put your confidence in? 
  9. What do you worry about most?
  10. When is a time when you’ve really screwed up/ a moment you’d rather forget?
  11. When is the last time you cried?
  12. When did you have a flash of creative brilliance?
  13. What are your strength-finders/Myers Briggs profiles and what does that accurately communicate about you?
  14. What’s your most significant accomplishment?
  15. What’s a book you’ve read that’s shaped you and how?
  16. What’s a movie or song that’s touched you deeply?
  17. What kind of shape are you in physically and why?
  18. How will you take better care of your health in this next year?
  19. When are you typically the least patient and with whom?
  20. Who has shown you undeserved grace?
  21. What angers you?
  22. Where are you giving your life away (serving/volunteering)? 
  23. What gets you the most fired up?
  24. What are the things that nag at you?
  25. Who is a person you find interesting and why? 
  26. What problem in the world do you want to help solve?
  27. How have you seen your appetites change over time?
  28. What appetite would you like God to decrease an increase in you?
  29. What have you been praying for this week?
  30. Identify 3 messes or clutter projects you’d like to clean up in the next 12 months?
  31. What are you doing today that if you stopped doing it, it would be missed by others?
  32. What are you trying to prove? Who are you trying to prove it to?
  33. What are you currently doing that requires faith/ What are you doing that could only be accomplished if God shows up?
  34. What do you use to comfort yourself when things go bad or get difficult?
  35. What makes you feel the most self-worth? Of what are you the proudest?
  36. What do you want others to think about when they think about you?
  37. What spiritual practices generated the greatest benefit to your soul?
  38. Describe “your most productively-satisfying work day” from waking up to falling asleep (at night).
  39. What grade would your kids currently give you on being a dad?
  40. What grade would your wife currently give you on being a husband?
  41. What grade would your parents currently give you on being a son?
  42. What grade would your siblings currently give you on being a brother?
  43. What grade would your friends currently give you on being a friend?
  44. What apprehensions do you have about the coming year?
  45. What major things do you want to accomplish this coming year?
  46. What one change could you make in your behavior that would help you to live in greater alignment with your values?
  47. Are you currently being a wise steward and generous with your money?
  48. What are your spiritual gifts and how are you currently using them?
  49. If you knew now that this would be your last year on earth, what would you do more of? Less of?
  50. What’s the biggest mental battle you face?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How To Lead Cabin Time

Cabin time is one of the highlights of a week at Young Life camp. If you've never led cabin time before or if you're just feeling nervous as you prepare to do it again, below are some ideas that will help guide you along with some cabin time questions you might ask.


Meet With Your AD
Be intentional about your training. Meet with your Area Director/staff person or another experienced leader and ask them how to lead cabin time. Experience is the best teacher.

Prepare for a Marathon
You wouldn't go into the Olympics without training before you got there. A week at YL camp is going to feel like a marathon, physically and spiritually. Get physical and spiritual rest. Be with Jesus. Cast your cares and fears upon Him.

Earn the Right to be Heard
Once you have spread mulch, washed cars, and sold doughnuts with kids to help them raise $ for camp, they are much more likely to listen to what you have to say. My pre-algebra teacher had a sign on her desk that said, "People don't care what you know, until they know that you care." Spend time BEFORE you get to camp earning the right to be heard.


Connect With A Head Leader
Head leaders serve on the assigned team to help you. If you feel overwhelmed, don't be afraid to ask one of them to come and sit in your cabin time with you.

Set Group Rules With Your Cabin
  1. Everyone sits on the floor in a circle. No one on their bunks. It’s too easy to fall asleep and when folks are on different levels it makes it hard to look one another in the eye.
  2. What's said in cabin time stays in cabin time. We want this to be a safe place and not a starting place for gossip.  Protect kids. Stand up for them. Sharing honestly could leave them vulnerable to laughter, ridicule, and shame.
  3. Respect one another. When someone is talking, don't interrupt. I use a pair of clean, balled up socks. When you're holding the socks, you can talk. When you get done talking, you toss the socks to someone else.
Facilitate Conversation
Our job as leaders isn't to use the cabin time to give another talk. Listen more than you speak. Don't fear the silence. Be patient. Invite everyone into the conversation.Try to open cabin time with a question that everyone can answer. Get folks involved who might otherwise just sit silently.

Take Notes
I have a pocket-sized red notebook I carry with me everywhere at camp. I take notes during the club talk and during cabin time. I tell my cabin on night 1 that I'm taking notes because I want to be able to remember everything.  It's super helpful to write things down that we're said in cabin time so you can follow up later with specific kids. I also use the notebook throughout the following school year to help me pray for kids.

Individually Prep Kids
If there are kids in your cabin who have been to camp before, pull them aside before cabin time and ask them to 'hold back' and not give 'all the answers.'  Ask kids who are following Christ to help you facilitate the time by chiming in appropriately.

Listen to the Holy Spirit
Your camp speaker will likely give you great questions to use in cabin time. Don't feel obligated to use all of them, they are just a guideline. Listen to the Holy Spirit and let Him guide your time. Don't stress if you feel like cabin time isn't what you had hoped. It's not your job to 'manipulate' kids, just create a safe place, set the tone, and trust the Holy Spirit to lead.

Read the Room
Ask the Lord to give you an awareness of what's going on 'behind the scenes' with the kids in your cabin. Some of them are probably dealing with heavy stuff. On Night 1, it's ok to let the cabin time be brief and no super deep. After the cross talk on night 5, there will be some kids who want to have a four-hour cabin time and some that don't want to talk at all. Be aware of how the conversation is going. It is okay to end cabin time and ask a few individual kids if they would like to keep meeting.

The Rephrase Tactic
Often kids will go silent if you ask a direct question about them. Ex: 'What is the biggest temptation you personally face?'  If you simply rephrase the question, for example,  'What do you think are some of the biggest temptations people your age face?' they will be more likely to speak up.

Tell Me More
If a kid cracks open a door to their heart, be sensitive. And when it's appropriate, ask them to tell you more. The simple phrase 'tell me more about that' will give kids permission to go deeper.

The 10 Best Questions

Follow your camp speaker's lead as to when certain questions should be asked. Below are some of the best questions that have led to deep discussions in our cabin times in the past.

  1. What do you do to be noticed?  (Rephrased: What do your friends do to be noticed?)
  2. How would your friends describe you?
  3. What emotions describe you these days? (Frustrated, lonely, confused, etc.)
  4. Describe your best day.
  5. Describe your worst day.
  6. What is your relationship with your parents like?
  7. Finish the sentence, "Jesus, don't you care that..."
  8. What have you done to deserve a relationship with God?
  9. How has your picture of Jesus changed this week?
  10. What is keeping you from believing and following Jesus?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Worth Holding Onto: A Brand New Song from Mark Wagner and Brandon Heath

Check out this brand new music video from Mark Wagner and Brandon Heath. Make sure to watch it all the way through- as all Young Life leaders will enjoy the video's end!  

(Mark Wagner, featuring Brandon Heath)

And here's a video message from Mark and Brandon to Young Life leaders everywhere.

Written by Mark Wagner, Young Life camp musician.

I’ve been volunteering with Young Life for 15 years, taken kids to camp and have played music at Young Life camps around the world. I’ve most recently been on staff with Young Life College at the University of Utah. Young Life has had a huge impact on my life and I’ve seen how God uses the mission of Young Life to share his hope of new life with young people around the world. The mission of Young Life works because of volunteer leaders who are committed to going where kids are and sharing God’s hope with young people everyday.

My new song, “Worth Holding Onto,” was inspired by two students that my wife and I have been walking with for several years in Salt Lake City. We have sat with these students as they’ve cried, we’ve laughed together, and we have prayed with them that God might deliver them from their battle with depression and anxiety. These students are not unique in their struggle. It’s shocking how many young people today struggle with depression and anxiety. We’ve seen first-hand how this can cast a dark shadow over students’ lives. So what can we do? What do we, as Young Life leaders, have to offer these students?  

God has revealed Himself to me in amazing ways throughout my life, and He promises to never leave us. That’s hard to remember sometimes, especially when we are living in darkness. The only thing we can offer young people, as they walk through these hard seasons, is the hope that God offers to each one of us. We are known and we are loved. God is with us even when we don’t feel His presence. As we have walked with college students over the past several years, I’ve learned that is the only message worth sharing. Sometimes we don’t use words. Just offering a shoulder to cry on, or a warm home cooked meal is enough to show these students that they’re not alone. That’s what Young Life is all about.

We don’t have all the answers, and we aren’t supposed to. When you said yes to being a Young Life leader, you said yes to being faithful. Show up, be faithful, and tell the story. This song is dedicated to leaders around the world who continue to show up in kids’ lives. 

I’m honored to have my friend Brandon Heath on the song. He also has deep ties with Young Life and we want to say thank you. I’m thankful for my Young Life leader, and I’m grateful to be involved with this ministry today! This song is dedicated to Young Life leaders around the world. We are praying for you that God would continue to guide your conversations with your own students and that they would know His goodness by your presence in their lives.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Have You Ever Thought About Going on Young Life Staff?

Written by Alex Holroyde, Young Life Area Director in Northeast Columbia, SC.

Teenagers have a right to know who He is. They have a right to know what He’s done for them. They have a right to know how they relate to that. They have a right to know him personally. Furthermore, they have a right to make their own choice. That’s not just what Young Life is about…it’s all it’s about, Jesus Christ.” -Jim Rayburn

There is no greater calling than to share the gospel with lost or disinterested teenagers. Howard Hendricks, in his book, “Disciples Are Made Not Born” shares about a time in college where he was wrestling with his current engineering major and future career. Maybe you've experienced something similar.

Hendricks came across two passages that would forever change his life, Isaiah 40:8 and John 5:28-29. In these passages, he came to the conclusion that, "Only two things in this world are eternal, the Word of God and people. It only makes sense to build your life around those things that will last forever." Howard Hedricks would decide to give up his engineering degree to invest in things that would last for eternity. He would later go on staff with the Navigators.

You don’t have to go on Young Life staff or do full-time ministry to invest in the eternal. But maybe you find yourself asking the questions like, What would it look like to go on Young Life staff? What are the qualifications? What do you look for in staff candidate? 

I recently sat down with Ashley Flowers, Associate Regional Director in the Carolina’s Region. Ashley oversees the training and hiring of staff candidates. We talked about these questions and more in a two-part interview on the Young Life Midlands Podcast.

This is a Young Life podcast of leadership and weekend talks along with some interviews from folks around the Columbia, SC area. 

If you are interested in what the process of going on Young Life staff looks like, at least in the Carolina’s Region, enjoy this two-part interview.


PS- If you have not listened to Steve Gardner's talks at Campaigners Weekend, we have uploaded those also to the Podcast as well. 

Go on a road trip with some of your Campaigner guys or girls and listen to them, it will be the best thing you do all Summer (besides Camp)!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Table Questions For Meals At Camp

During a week at Young Life camp we get the privilege of eating around 20 meals with our middle and high school friends. For most of those meals, we're seated at a round table for the very purpose of promoting "family style" conversation.

We live in a busy world. Most families are spending less time eating and talking together. In a culture where we're more used to facing screens then facing each other, it might seem uncomfortable for your adolescent friends to sit at a round table.Thirty minutes of food and conversation might feel like an eternity.

Below are some questions to help facilitate conversation during those meal times. Make sure not to make the meal feel like an interview, just let it be natural conversation. Pick a couple questions from below and have them in your back pocket for when you need them. I typically just do one "meal question" at every meal. Kids come to expect it and some even look forward to it. Sometimes I let individual kids suggest a "meal question" as well. Breakfast is usually a more light-hearted question as folks are still waking up. Questions can get deeper as the week goes on. 

Written by Drew Hill

Download a PDF of the questions here.

Potential Camp Meal Questions



  • Why did you come to YL for the first time?
  • Tell us a nickname you've had and how you got it.
  • What are one or two of your pet peeves?



  • What's been one of the most exciting moments in your life?
  • What's been one of the scariest moments in your life?


  • If you could dispense any condiment out of your pinky finger on demand what would it be?
  • Choose one of each to describe you:
    • Talker/Listener
    • Doer/Thinker
    • Spender/Saver
    • Optimist/Pessimist
    • Starter/Finisher
    • Extrovert/Introvert


  • If you could pick the meal for tonight, what food would it be?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Who was your childhood hero and why?



  • If you got a tattoo, what would it be and where?
  • Tell us the names of your family members, and describe your relationship with them.


  • What's the best or worst vacation you've ever been on?
  • What is your favorite place on the planet?


  • What is the highlight of your week so far?
  • Finish the sentence: "I wish God would...."



  • What is your favorite summer movie you've seen so far and why did you love it so much?
  • If you could be any movie character, who would you be and why?


  • Say 3 things about yourself, one being false and have the group guess which of the three statements isn't true.
  • If you could have any question answered, what would it be?


  • If you were given 2 million dollars and could buy any vehicle for everyone in our group, what type of vehicle would you buy for each person and why?
  • What is one way your parents have sacrificed for you?



  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  • If you knew you wouldn't fail, what's one thing you would like to do in life?


  • Who do you wish would have come with you to camp this week?
  • With what famous person would you most like to share a meal? What would you ask them?
  • What's the hardest part of being a teenager?


  • In what area of your life do you feel most satisfied right now? Why?
  • In what area do you feel least satisfied?
  • What do you think God has been revealing to you this week?



  • We heard about the gift of God's love for us displayed on the cross last night, what is another one of the greatest gifts you've ever been given?
  • Who knows you best?
  • Who has the greatest influence on you? What person(s)?
  • What's your favorite meal we've had this week?
  • What's the funniest thing you've witnessed this week?
  • What are 3-5 words your parents would use to describe you?
  • What are 3-5 words your friends would use to describe you?
  • What are 3-5 words you would use to describe you?
  • Encourage everyone at your table to go around and give each person a compliment.


  • How would you describe your relationship with Christ right now?
  • If you had to live this past week over again, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?

If you have other ideas for creative interaction around meal-times at camp, email us here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Summer Reading List for Young Life Leaders

Last week on social media we asked you what was on your summer reading list. We got tons of responses and they are listed below. We have obviously not read all of these books and are not necessarily endorsing them, just sharing recs from other Young Life leaders around the world. Enjoy!

If you have any books you'd like to see added to this list, email us here

Also, if you've not yet subscribed to The Young Life Life leader email list, you can join here.