Tuesday, August 7, 2018

How To Use "Alongside" In Your Young Life Area

Many of you have asked how to use Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel in your Young Life areas. Below are a few different suggestions.

Individual Devo for Leaders

Including the introduction, there are 30 short chapters, around 5 pages each. Most leaders can easily read 5-pages-a-day and finish the book in a month. It was designed to be used as a morning or evening devotional. Each chapter is focused on scripture and ends with a section for practical application, a verse for meditation and specific prayer related to the chapter.

Team Leader Meetings or Team Meetings

At the bottom of this post is a 6-week reading plan that averages around 5 pages/day over 5 days/week. It could be used as the guiding book for Team Leader meetings. Following those discussions, Team Leaders could take their individual teams through the book, one week behind the Team Leader schedule.

New Leader Training

You could use the same 6-week reading plan with new leader training, or you could cut each week in half and do a 12-week semester-long reading plan with 2-3 chapters (10-15 pages) each week.

Alongside: 6 Week Reading Plan

Week 1
  • Read the Introduction and "Part One: Runaways"
  • This section creates the felt need for why we share the Gospel with teenagers.
  • Including the introduction, it's 5 chapters, 5 pages each, 25 pages total.

Week 2
  • Read "Part Two: The Pursuer"
  • This section answers the question, “What is the Gospel?”
  • 5 chapters, 5 pages each, 25 pages total

Week 3
  • Begin "Part Three: The Pursuit"
  • This section is the meat of the book and answers the question “How do we do it?” Each chapter is based on a question I first heard from Steve Gardner – “What does Jesus do outside of the miracle?”
  • Continue to shoot for 1 chapter/day over 5 days, averaging around 25 pages a week.
  • Go through chapter 10-14

Week 4
  • Continue in "Part Three: The Pursuit," chapters 15-19
  • Continue to shoot for 1 chapter/day over 5 days, averaging around 25 pages a week.

    Week 5
    • Continue in "Part Three: The Pursuit," doing 4 chapters this week instead of 5: chapters 20-23

    Week 6
    • Read the final section, "The Long Road Home." This part concludes the book with an introspective look at what the Lord might be doing, not just through us, but within us, as we minister to teenagers.
    • There are 6 short chapters averaging around 5 pages each.

    You can purchase the book here on Amazon. If you would like to make bulk orders at a significant discount for your Young Life Region or Area, email me here. - Drew

    Monday, August 6, 2018

    Pedal with a Purpose: This Young Life leader is biking 11,000 miles to raise money for Capernaum

    Matt Broshat is a Young Life Capernaum leader in Minneapolis, MN and this Wednesday he departs on a crazy adventure. 

    Over the next six months, Matt will be pedaling with a purpose, riding 11,000 miles to raise $25,000 for Young Life Capernaum- Minneapolis. His solo ride will begin in Portland, OR and pedal clockwise around the entire perimeter of the United States.

    Matt grew up in Minneapolis and first became involved with Young Life as a sophomore in high school. Eight years ago, as a teenager, he hesitantly joined a buddy and his twin brother to spend a week of summer camp at Crooked Creek. They loved it so much that the next summer they went to Windy Gap and then ended up doing Work Crew at Lake Champion. Two Summer Staffs (Lost Canyon and Malibu) and an internship later (Timber Wolf Lake), Matt started leading with Young Life Capernaum. 

    Matt describes his time with YLC this way, "I have been leading for three years now and have to tell you, these students with disabilities are not at all limited in the way they love and care for people!" Matt's love for those kids, along with his love for biking, led to this bucket list experience becoming a reality.

    While many bikers attempt the ride across the US, Matt describes himself as a quirky guy, so he's going around the entire perimeter. For a guy that wore a mullet wig at his college graduation and has rocked a real mullet at his professional job, biking the perimeter only seems natural.

    Matt explains the bike ride this way, "God has used Young Life to impact my life. I met the Lord through the mission. My two brothers and both parents have also been influenced by the ministry. I want my Capernaum friends to be moved by the gospel. These students deserve a right to hear the good news and experience 'the best week of their lives.' All of the money that this ride raises will go directly to making that happen."
    To learn more about Matt's adventure or to donate, visit www.bikerbroshat.com. You can also follow along on Instagram: @Bikerbroshat. And if you live along the perimeter, and have a couch to share, you can contact Matt here.

    Thursday, August 2, 2018

    Book Giveaway for Young Life Staff- "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel"

    New Growth Press is giving away a limited number of advanced review copies of Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel. This giveaway is designated for full-time Young Life staff members. 

    If you are willing to read Alongside and write an honest Amazon review, SIGN UP HERE

    You will be entered into a drawing and winners will be notified by August 10th.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2018

    The Fun Socks Fundraiser

    It's never too early to start thinking about fall camp fundraisers. And who doesn't love fun socks?! 

    A ton of Young Life areas have already discovered a quick and easy way to raise money for campership! You can make $10-$15 per pair of socks! 


    Honestly, this is the easiest and fastest fundraiser we’ve ever done. Kids love it because they have a tangible thing to sell that quickly pays a large chunk of their camp trip! We’ve had kids raise over $500 in a weekend just asking around in their neighborhood. The Colorado socks were a great success and would highly recommend these as a way to get kids invested quickly!” 
    -Ellie Leader with Colorado Springs Young Life 

    Selling socks has been one of our best fundraisers! Each time we have made orders we have sold out within a couple days. We have had a number of students pay for their entire winter camp trip and the majority of their summer camp trip by selling socks. One girl sold $400 dollars’ worth in two days.” -Brit Ulrich, YL staff

    I know my leaders said I wouldn’t have to pay much (for summer camp), but I was really worried I might not get to go. Then we started selling the YL socks. It was really easy and fun because people wanted to buy them all.....and now I’m going to camp!” 
    - A YoungLives Teen Mom who was able to pay for her entire trip to Crooked Creek and met Jesus there!

    How To Order

    • You can work with the YL store to design your own style of socks, or select one of the many pairs that have already been designed.
    • Place an order with this Google Form for custom socks with huge discounts by Sept 15th
    • You'll receive the socks by end of November
    • Campers make $10-15 profit every time they sell a pair of socks, because you can buy them for around $5/pair and sell them for $15 or $20.
    • Reorders or questions can be emailed to younglifestore@sc.younglife.org

    Monday, July 30, 2018

    YL College Best Practices

    With college freshmen about to arrive on campus, below are specific things different YLC ministries have shared about their "best practices."

    Summer Orientation

    The best tool we have is summer orientation, which includes campus tour for every incoming freshmen. (These are 3-day campus visits for about a dozen groups) We set up a table with the local bookstore that virtually every freshman comes by in groups of 20 or more at a time. We only get 30 seconds to share what YL is but nearly 400 freshmen sign up with their email and phone wanting to get connected or to get more info on YL. Then, the first week of fall, we distribute 20 or so names to each leader to contact personally. We are only campus ministry represented... pretty sweet.

    Welcome Week/Rush Week

    During these times, some YL College ministries have hosted Stomp the Barn, Toilet paper dodgeball, BBQs and cook-outs. Other groups have given out as many as 350 YL College t-shirts.

    Finals Week

    Some ministries host pancake dinner night, grilled cheese night, cereal bar & game nights (And you can do the same for Welcome Week.)


    • These are lots of ways to host these:
      • Winter Formal
      • Black and White Party
      • Halloween dance party (with a photobooth for all the fun costumes)
      • Barnapalooza- barn dance in the fall Halloween house party.
      • Dance parties at off campus Young Life College leader houses
      • Tacky prom, formal, country theme
      • Dance parties and any watch party for UK games
      • Spring hoe down
      • Barn party
    Thanksgiving Potluck Club

    Trips & adventures:
    • Our large events fell flat in attendance, but a last minute road trip to crash a neighboring college’s Club, a canoe/camping trip, College weekend at Southwind, have been well attended.
    • Ski trip during break in January; Fall and May camps at Rockbridge; Going to DC to see the monuments at night.
    • Mystery Road trip - get a school bus for about 8 hours and do several stops throughout the night
    • Monthly adventure (hiking, camping, lazer tag, bowling, whatever)
    • Sledding
    • Destination Unknown, Spring Break, Polar Bear work crew
    Dorm Outreach
    • Focus outreach in 2-3 dorm areas and do a club in their common room once or twice a year. We are just starting a weekly PIG tourney in the student union during lunchtime... get 20+ that come over to play (on pool tables). Spring we try and do a weekly ultimate frisbee game in stadium weekly or every other week.
    • Conduct events in the dorms, working with RAs to get more students involved. Reaching students in the dorms...doing events in freshmen dorms.
    • Every semester we do "Operation Study Break" where we give away tasty treats to college students.
    • Get sporty with it!
      • Capture the flag on campus
      • Volleyball
      • Ultimate frisbee tournament (glow stick). Start by playing, then begin inviting students to join in.
      • Glow-in-the-dark frisbee
      • Kickball tourney at a park
      • Walleyball Tournament
      • Octaball
      • Water balloon fight with a slip and slide
      • Soap Olympics in warm weather: Get a giant tarp watered down with dish soap, then run team relays for about an hour. Finish with a water balloon fight
      • Spikeball
    • What always gets college kids a-coming? FOOD.
      • Ice cream social
      • Donuts in the union
      • Free food of any kind
      • Cookouts/ice cream socials (anything with free food)
      • Free hot chocolate/coffee/snow cones give away.
      • pancake eating contest
      • Handing out homemade grilled cheese sandwiches to drunk friends on a Friday or Saturday night. It depends on your school but if you know a highly trafficked area it is a great way to meet people and love them. We have not done this yet but serving hot chocolate/coffee on campus could be a hit. We also did a Pancake night instead of club and that was a hit.
    • Wanna keep it chill?
      • House Concerts/Parties
      • Watching a sports game
      • Yard games
      • Big backyard barbecues right off campus
      • Having a club atmosphere ata local coffee shop
      • Weekly "traditions" at freshman dorms (like watching the Bachelor every week on the same floor in the common room)
    • Outreach to other organizations!
      • Tailgating and outreach to Greek life.
      • The intercultural center for peace or doing a joint Habitat Build Day with the African American Student Union.
      • Inviting other campus organizations to perform at club. (We had a singing group come to club.)
      • This year we are participating in a Greek talent show this year.
      • Partner with Greek life and have a big broom ball tournament
    • Win a date/ Dating Game night at club
    • Crawfish boil
    • Music, food kickoff party, mini golf, movie, etc. Cost about $20, includes dinner and T-shirt.
    • First week or two of the year we do several events including BBQ nights to volleyball/bump at the REC center.
    • Will do Clubble this spring-- "Club in a Bubble." We set it up in quad during the day and have club that night. Gonzaga did it, and it was big draw.
    • A free concert on campus

    If you have other ideas to add, email us here

    Sunday, July 29, 2018

    Am I Beautiful?

    Studies suggest that only 4% of the 3.8 billion women in the world consider themselves beautiful. 

    I saw this powerful music video yesterday. It's five years old, but still relevant. It reminds me of this Dove Evolution video from 2006.

    You could use it in a Campaigners discussion about body image or beauty. You could also show it in a Young Life talk to illustrate our perception of truth and reality.

    Another relevant post: Taylor Swift Defining Beauty

    Monday, July 23, 2018

    A Sin Talk Illustration from Black Panther

    This summer, during one of my camp talks, I used this fight scene from Black Panther as an illustration of sin.

    I started by reading from the beginning of The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The pages are pictured here.

    After I read the adapted version of Genesis 3, here's what I said.

    "This account of Adam and Eve and the serpent reminds me of a scene from a movie I saw earlier this spring. 

    In this particular movie, there was a good king of the land and he was incredibly kind and powerful and loved his people. But that king had a horrible enemy. And that enemy didn’t just want to be a citizen in the good king’s kingdom. The enemy wanted to be the King himself.
    So he grew proud and evil and full of hate. And he was seething with anger, looking for a way to hurt the good king. Let me just show you what happened." 

    And then I played the clip. You can download it here.

    After the clip, I continued.

    In "The Black Panther," T’challa is the good king of Wakanda
    But Killmonger wants to be the king, and there can’t be two kings. So they fight it out.

    Killmonger said, “I lived my entire life, just waiting for this moment. I trained, I lied, I killed- just to get here. And all this death- just so I could kill you." 

    Just so I could be the king.

    That’s often our story, isn’t it?
    We have a good king, but we often act like we don’t want him to be in charge.

    If God isn’t the King of your life, who is?
    The truth is- much of our life is spent wanting to be the king and acting like we’re the king. Wanting what we want, no matter the consequences, no matter who it hurts.

    Even if it means killing the king.

    But where has that way of thinking led us?

    What happens to our world when we act like we’re in charge instead of God?

    Our culture tells us that nothing should get in the way of our particular definition of happiness and pleasure. You should be able to do whatever you want with your body, it’s your body after all.You should be the king of yourself!

    But it seems like when we try to be in charge and have it our way, things just fall apart."

    And the talk continued.

    Feel free to borrow this illustration if it helps you communicate the power of sin to your middle, high school, and college friends. -Drew

    *It's a pretty intense movie clip, so I'd recommend not using it with WyldLife.

    Thursday, July 19, 2018



    You can now pre-order "Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospelhere on Amazon

    I wrote it for you, Young Life leaders everywhere. I hope you'll love it.



    "Alongside is a beautiful and practical companion for anyone who wants to learn how to better love the teenagers in their life. I found myself in tears as I read incredible real-life stories of the gospel breaking through the distractions, darkness, loneliness, and pain that often accompany adolescence. It tells the beautiful story of the gospel, and also offers tools that will help you communicate that story well as you walk alongside the teenagers in your life."

    Ellie Holcomb, Dove award singer-songwriter

    I highly recommend “Alongside” to all parents, teachers, youth ministers and anyone who has a concern for the well-being of adolescents. Drew Hill has invested his life in helping teenagers respond to the unconditional love of God and this excellent book offers practical help that will lead to their lives being forever changed.

    Dr. Gary Chapman, Author of The Five Love Languages

    Drew Hill is one of the most qualified people to write this diamond of a book. Part artist, part doctor, part philosopher, and part-storyteller, he tells the old, old love story in a captivating way. Alongside is filled with much-needed practical advice for anyone who works with young people. It will be a tremendous resource for parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, and more. Drew majors in the “Who” we are all looking for. His genuine heart for young people comes shining through. This raw, real, and relevant work will help all who read it find their way and invest in the next generation.

    Pete Hardesty, Young Life College Divisional Coordinator and author of Adulting 101

    I truly believe this book should be in every household. As a person who works with high schoolers, and many who don’t have dads, I often find myself in a  father figure role. In addition to teaching them how to become men, I also have the privilege to lead them to Christ. This book helps me do just that. It will be practically helpful for parents, teachers, coaches and all those in youth ministry.

    Odysseus Wallace, Young Life Area Director, Chattanooga, TN

    This book is just so good. It is practical, moving, insightful and spiritually deep. I love how the book is a journey through many lives. The stories are poignant. I laughed and I cried - several times! I love the questions that Drew asks at the end of each chapter. They really make you think and are truly springboards for action. Readers will walk away from this book refreshed, reminded and armed with practical ways to reach kids. It's a loving "how-to" that I want every one of our Young Life leaders to read and apply. I want to send it to all my friends with kids- it is simply an excellent resource and an enjoyable read!

    Courtney Lancaster, Associate Regional Director for Young Life in Southwest Florida

    Drew winsomely communicates the realities of loving and pursuing kids in the hope that they see and experience Jesus. Whether you're a parent, a church youth minister or volunteer, a teacher, or in any way involved with teenagers, you'll be challenged, inspired and encouraged. Plus, there are great practical "tools of engagement" you'll find helpful.

    Ty Saltzgiver, Author of “My First 30 Quiet Times”

    When I was a teenager, Drew Hill entered my life and showed me the love and reality of Jesus.  His friendship sparked a faith journey that has continued through college, marriage, and now as a leader in ministry. “ Alongside” captures the essence of what Drew’s life has taught me: God designed his message to live in people. The Word becoming flesh was not an isolated event, but a precedent for all of us.

    Zak Ellison, Young Life Area Director, Merced, California

    Lists of how-to’s and bullet points describing successful parenting/youth ministry are plentiful and gather dust quickly. Drew Hill does something else. Alongside helps us mouth words of prayer for young people and invites us into their world through vivid snapshots of unfiltered real-life stories. Reading Alongside is an experience, not a lecture.

    Sean McGever, Professor of Theology at Grand Canyon University and author of YLHelp.com.

    I think for many of us, we can quickly forget what it felt like to be a teenager. I certainly had those moments as a Young Life leader while also trying to manage the intense world of professional sports.  We forget the pressure to fit in, pressure to perform, and unrelenting messaging of how we just aren’t quite enough.  In Alongside, my friend Drew lays out a beautiful display of what it means to pursue young people, right where they are at.  This book will equip anyone to impact the next generation with the heart of God.

    Clint Gresham, Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII Champion and best-selling author of “Becoming”

    Drew takes you into the world of young people, pulls you into your own life, and sets you down in scripture. Alongside is a great resource to have on your bookshelf through the seasons of life and ministry. As a veteran youth worker and  father of two, this book has refreshed my perspectives and recharged my passion to love young people well.

    Cesar Castillejos, pastor, father, Young Life staff

    As you read the pages of this book, you’ll see clearly that Drew Hill loves teenagers and loves Jesus. He also knows teenagers and knows Jesus. Drew starts with Scripture, shares stories about teenagers he’s known, and offers practical tools for living out 1 Thessalonians 2:8 with the teenagers in your life.

    Julie Clapp, Mission Director of WyldLife

    If ministry is to be anything, it is to be incarnational.  In “Alongside,” Drew does a masterful job of using both Scripture and story to show the ministry of Jesus and how it can be lived out among those who love and pursue teenagers.  A must-read for anyone involved in youth ministry.

    Jim Branch, author of The Blue Book

    There’s a special place in my heart for books that help parents and youth workers share with teenagers, not only God’s good news but their own lives too. A must-read book, ALONGSIDE is refreshingly honest and filled with life-changing, relationship-enriching insights and inspiration.

    Fil Anderson, author of Running on Empty

    “Alongside” takes you on an amazing journey through the struggles and trials of being a teenager…and the joy that comes with walking alongside them and sharing the gospel. Having experienced this first hand as a lost teenager, then as a Young Life leader, and now a parent of 3 teenage boys, I promise you will want to take plenty of notes as you walk through Drew’s compilation of stories, triumphs, struggles and truths. A great read!”

    Dave Alpern, President, Joe Gibbs Racing

    Drew's insight has been validated by decades of working with and caring for young people. But this is not just a book about relating to youth culture. It is a roadmap for living life well, at any age and in any community. Read it. Do what it says. The rewards are generous.

    Allen Levi, singer-songwriter and author of “The Last Sweet Mile”

    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    WyldLife Wednesday: Camp Followup

    You prayed, raised money, talked to parents, sent packing lists and this summer you headed to WyldLife camp with your middle school friends. Camp – the place where God can and does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20) 

    But what happens when you get home from camp? Kids need to see that you didn’t just love and pursue them to get them to camp. Whether your kids decide to follow Jesus at camp or not, they need to know you still love them and want to spend time with them.

    We asked some of our WyldLife experts what camp follow-up looks like with middle school kids:

    Host a camp reunion within a day or two of coming home.

    Set the dates and locations for the reunion and other follow-ups before you go to camp. Give parents a flier with the details when they drop their kids off and pick them up. Send a reminder email to parents and post the reunion on Instagram for kids. It is important that both parents and kids have the information.

    Don’t forget cabin time.

    Serve pizza, watch camp videos, jump in the pool and play games at the reunion, but set aside 20 minutes for cabin time. Share a short lesson and then split into groups to talk about it. Or consider giving kids 10 minutes alone to read a Scripture passage before meeting with their cabins to discuss.

    Get together once a week.

    Transportation and schedules can make daily camp follow-up difficult. Instead, gather weekly with your campers. The time can include snacks and an activity before a short lesson and cabin time. Middle school kids have short attention spans so the games and activities are a must.

    Spend time with kids.

    If a weekly gathering isn’t a good option, find other ways to continue building relationships with kids from your cabin. Schedule time with kids to grab lunch, play Frisbee or sit by the pool.

    Invite kids to church.

    If kids don’t already attend church, invite them to come with you. Be sensitive to middle school kids who already go to church with their families. Encourage them to go and hear things differently.

    Spend time with new believers.

    Middle school kids can and will make decisions to follow Christ, and they need your help as they start that journey at home. Because they are concrete thinkers, a “quiet time” may be difficult to grasp. Give kids an age-appropriate devotional book with Scripture to read and questions to answer.

    Get parents involved.

    Ask parents to find locations for your camp follow-up, bring snacks or drive carpool. If their kids had a great week at camp, parents may be excited about making sure WyldLife happens in the summer and next fall.

    There may be no time of year when kids are more excited about WyldLife and Jesus. Don’t miss the opportunity to help them experience the community and life they found at camp back at home. Good camp follow-up can lead to great ministry in the fall.

    Written by Julie Clapp.