Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WyldLife Wednesday: Campaigners 101

Like its high school counterpart, the purpose of WyldLife Campaigners is to help kids grow in their faith. Middle school kids are just beginning to move from concrete to abstract thinking, so Campaigners is a great setting to help them learn to process their thoughts about faith with leaders they trust.

How do we start Campaigners?

If you’re taking kids to a WyldLife weekend this spring or to camp this summer, transform your cabin time into a Campaigners group when you get home. It is important that WyldLife Campaigners be grouped by gender and age whenever possible. Girls and guys are less likely to share in front of each other, as are sixth graders with eighth graders.

When starting Campaigners with a new group of kids, spend the fall semester doing contact work with kids and parents. Then launch Campaigners for those groups in the spring. As with most things WyldLife, good relationships with parents are key. Do parents know you well enough to allow their kids to attend a small group with you?

Who can lead it?

Traditional adult and college leaders, parents, and well-trained high school students can make excellent Campaigners leaders.

When should we meet?

Campaigners looks different across the country. Many groups meet every other week, alternating with club. Because kids are dependent on parents to drive them to club and Campaigners, this schedule serves parents well. For the same reason, Campaigners held at the end of club is another good option. Many areas set up a “cabin time” at the end of every club to allow leaders and kids to talk about what they’ve just heard.

Other areas meet weekly for Campaigners. Whatever schedule you choose, remember to communicate the details with parents.

What do we talk about?

Ask the club speaker to prepare questions that can be used after club or in Campaigners later that week. Since WyldLife club talks are short, it allows kids to walk through the Scripture in more detail. 

Other resources for planning Campaigners lessons include the WyldLife One Campaigner Focus (found on staff and volunteer resource website) and Wyld Questions. Youth Specialties and Group Publishing also have resources for youth groups that can be easily adapted for WyldLife Campaigners.

What should we expect?

If you expect a 30-minute in-depth Bible study, you will be disappointed. Instead, be prepared to spend time laughing, playing, wrestling, eating, making crafts… and 10-15 minutes talking about Scripture. It may not seem like much, but it will meet the needs of middle school kids.

Whether you’re hoping to launch Campaigners in your area or improve an already established Campaigners, you can contact your regional WyldLife representative for more ideas.

Written by Julie Clapp, national director for WyldLife.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

10 Ways to Welcome New Leaders

In many Young Life areas it's the exciting time of year when new leaders are being placed.

What are some fun ways to welcome, "initiate," and introduce them at Club?

A few leaders from around the country shared suggestions via Twitter. If you have additional ideas, email us here and we'll add them to the post.

How To Welcome/Introduce/Initiate New Leaders

Creed Bratton (@BigDaddyDoel) shared this 'Bad Lip Reading' video they made to introduce their new leaders at club. It's quite hilarious!

Lucas Westblade (@LucasWestblade)
"Order pizza during club. The "pizza guy/gal" shows up and decides to stay for club... and it's really your new leader."

Danny Ouelette (@Danny_Ouellette)
"Syrup or Ketchup chugging contest."

Elizabeth Cox (@Elizabethmcox)
"We did "Leaders Choice Awards" and it was great! Leader teams announced the "winners" - it was a hit!"

Brett Eckler (@Breckler23)
"When we got new leaders my first year we forgot to get them a gift, so we went to Walmart and got them 99 cent fish. On the way to the high school, we stopped by a bridge and threw the fish into a lake. We did that throughout the 3 years I was a leader."

Chris Schneider (@Truth101)
"Walk through a wall of leadership (pictures of previous leaders), pray over them, then surprise with a fun celebration."

Brad Schmitt (@BSchmitt4life)

"Go with the classic pie to the face. Always classic."

Other Ideas
  • Have kids roll their car during club.
  • Get baby pictures of them to show at Club.
  • Stalk their Facebook profile and show any embarrassing pics of them.
  • Set them up to be heroes. Find out if they can do any stupid human tricks or cool skillz and set them up to show it off at club.
  • My personal favorite idea is "The Random Bus Passenger." If you get a new leader at the right time to pull this off, ideally before weekend or summer camp. You could also tweak the idea and do it in town, taking kids to Mickey D's after club one night.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A 40-Day Experience For Your Campaigners Group

Next Wednesday, March 1st, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. I didn't start practicing Lent until I was in college and our Regional Director taught on the spiritual practice at a YL leadership meeting. With each year, this Lenten season grows more personally significant and is consistently a time of deeper intimacy with the Lord.

The term 'Lent' comes from the English word Lenten (lengthen), referring to the season of the lengthening of the days, the spring. Ash Wednesday, the first day in the Lenten season, traditionally has been a day of repentance. 

Ben Witherington writes "The remorse for sin is symbolized by the imposition of ashes on the forehead, but in that imposition is the sign of hope, for the ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross—the means by which our sins were atoned for."

In our Campaigners group, we have been preparing for the season Lent. Understanding a relationship with a God they can't see or touch often feels intangible to a high schooler. Yet, it seems the concept of Lent is something they can wrap their minds around, something they can actually do.

At Campaigners, we discussed the concept of Lent through the metaphor of athletic training, one quite familiar to most the guys. In order for an athlete to excel, they must prepare. When you watch an Olympian break a record, you know they didn't just walk out there and get lucky. Their performance happened because of years of repetitive behavior.

Lent also involves preparation, prepping our hearts to grasp the power of the cross (Good Friday) and the hope of empty tomb (Easter). One way we can prepare is the same way athletes prepare, with repetitive behavior. We can set our mind to do almost anything for 40 days.

Suggestions I Gave To My Campaigners Group

A Nightly Time Of Written Confession 

Create a 'locked' document on your laptops or phones, or in a hidden journal. Three sections of specific confession each night, "Thoughts," "Words," and "Deeds." (based on the Book of Common Prayer general confession)

Give Up A Bad Habit

Pick something hard, but doable. Some guys are giving up porn, alcohol, masturbation, sex, weed, etc... (things that should be given up anyways, but hopefully Lent will be a catalyst to developing some better life habits following these 40 days.)

Giving Up A Comfort

Some guys are giving up things that aren't necessarily "bad," but things they consistently run to for pleasure instead of God. Ex: desserts, fast-food, soda, Netflix, iPhone games, video games, Snapchat, hitting the snooze button, etc.. I also saw that someone was only wearing 1 pair of shoes for all of Lent in order to remember how wealthy they are and how a majority of the world doesn't have "shoe options."

Taking On A New Habit Replacing An Old One

Instead of watching Netflix or checking social media sites before bed, reading a chapter of the Bible on the YouVersion app on their phone. Memorizing a verse of scripture each week. Calling people instead of texting them. Lent just a behavior modification program? 

Not at all, but it is still important to modify behavior because behavior often influences belief. By choosing to purposefully give up a comfort or habit of pleasure, we take our eyes off of ourselves, our needs and our wants. Before we can fix our eyes on Jesus, we must stop being so preoccupied with the idol of our own flesh.

" an intentional season...where we’re challenged to arrange our lives in such a way as to be daily frustrated. As people addicted to comfort and convenience, we’re often unaware of how we live to feel good about ourselves, to gain a bit of affirmation, to exert influence, to maximize our own pleasure, to satisfy our immediate needs. 

Lent invites us to intentionally frustrate ourselves, to engage in a season of deprivation, which actually makes us more aware of the depth of our dependence on any number of things – a substance, our reputation, control, achievement, being right, being comfortable, being secure.

Lent is not about going off chocolate or caffeine or alcohol. It’s about frustrating what Thomas Merton calls our 'false self'....Lent strips us of everything that is not us. In that sense, Lent is not a chore. It is an opportunity for profound grace by a God who longs to love us at our core, not in our false projected self which desire influence and accolades, but in our truest, most humble and dependent self, once lost but now found in the wilderness of Lent." 

Read the full post from Dr. DeGroat's here.

Helpful Resources for Lent

Journey to the Cross by Jim Branch
Many of you have read Jim Branch's "Blue Book devotional. Jim has just released a new book specifically for the season of Lent. Get it here on Amazon.

Prayer: 40 Days of Practice by Justin McRoberts.
Justin wrote a series of discipleship posts in the fall. In his brand new book he has partnered with visual artist Scott Erickson to combine fresh language and imagery for the practice of prayer. They wrote and designed the book to be a resource for people who want to reimagine and strengthen their spiritual practice.

Ty Saltzgiver's "40 Days of Lent"
Many of you have read Ty's book, "My First 30 Quiet Times." "40 Days of Lent" is the same small size that fits in many Bibles, easy to read in the daily format, and a helpful tool to hand to your Campaigners group. You can get it here for only $1.99 in hard copy or as an e-book.

Henri Nouwen's "Show Me The Way"
Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors. You could really pick up any of his books to help prepare you for Easter during the Lenten season, but "Show Me The Way" is specifically designed for that purpose. If you haven't read Nouwen yet, be prepared to encounter Jesus in a fresh way.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Spring YL International Weekend: March 31st at Frontier Ranch

Written by Kaitlin Chaffin, Young Life Staff Associate in Singapore.

Could God be calling you to International ministry?

When I got on the plane to come to my IIW, I was clueless, but oh so curious. I knew the Lord had been stirring a desire for more in my heart, but I wasn't quite sure what the 'more' was and I definitely wasn't sure that I wanted it to come at the cost of the comfortable life I was living. So, I signed up for IIW. Not because I thought I was actually going to go do ministry internationally, but because I thought just by going to check it out I could appease God and go back to the happy life I had in Tennessee.

He used the weekend to challenge and affirm and remind me all over again that His ways are not ours. I met people who were sure and confident that they were meant for YL International. I also met people just as unsure as me. I met people who had been doing international ministry for longer than I had been alive. But, all the people I met were fun and brave and running really hard after Jesus--longing for more. I left the weekend more unsure than ever before--was God really wanting me to do this international thing?! I can't speak a different language! I'm not qualified to talk about Jesus full time! Is my passport even still valid?!

Someone along the way told me to just keep walking through the next open door. Y'all, I don't know where you are or what your life is like, but if the Lord is stirring something inside you it isn't for no reason. He wants more of you. I can say, without hesitation, that international ministry (and the entire process leading up to getting to Singapore) has been the most challenging, faith-testing season of my life. But, watching Jesus show up the way he does made and continues to make every step infinitely worth it. I met some of my best friends at IIW (we actually ended up coming to do ministry in the same place--bonus!), I met people who decided international wasn't for them, but I think we would all say that we are closer to Jesus because we took the small step of faith that started with IIW.||

Interested in learning more about the Spring international information weekend (March 31) at Frontier Ranch?

Click here OR contact Alison Spindor at (800) 330-0628.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WyldLife Wednesday: Make Your WyldLife Club Great!

Written by Julie Clapp, national director of WyldLife.

WyldLife club is a place where kids and leaders can laugh, play and hear the Gospel clearly proclaimed. So what does a great WyldLife club look like?


A WyldLife club can be held anywhere… homes, churches, recreation centers or schools… as long as there is room for kids to move around. Middle school kids don’t enjoy sitting, so you’ll need space for them to be active.


The frequency of WyldLife clubs varies, but most meet twice a month. Many areas choose to alternate club and Campaigners so there is a weekly WyldLife gathering. You’ll find before- and after-school clubs, traditional evening clubs and late Friday night clubs. Invite kids for 1.5 or 2 hours, including one hour for actual club and the rest of the time for contact work and/or cabin time. This gives parents more than an hour between drop-off and pickup.


You want to get kids excited about club, but you need to give their parents the details. Send parents a calendar at the beginning of each semester and send regular reminders by email.


Plan a club that meets the needs of middle school kids. Fun is more important than funny at this age concrete-thinking kids. They make better participants than spectators and have lots of energy, so you’ll want to keep them moving.


Keep in mind that kids could be a part of club for six or seven years in your area, so be intentional about creating variety. Your area might consider designating “WyldLife only” and “Young Life only” events. Perhaps crud wars are “WyldLife only” while the Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant is just for high school.


Girls v. guys club. Crazy hair club. Spring break club. Keep it simple, but use themes to engage kids. Have a Hawaiian club and put a lei on every kid who walks through the door. Include themes on the calendar you mail to parents.


Let your high school WyldLife leaders help you plan club, lead mixers, emcee a game or even give a talk. It may not be perfect, but they’ll have fun and WyldLife kids will get to experience their high school friends pointing them to Jesus.


The average size of a WyldLife club is 35 kids, but clubs of 85+ middle school kids are possible. Every division has at least one club of that size – and you’ll find clubs of 100+ WyldLife kids across the country too.

Want more ideas about how to make your WyldLife club great? Visit the WyldLife Leader blog.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Campaigners Resource for Your Ministry

Written by Zach Gurick, YL Metro Director in Florida.

For the past 15 years, one of the greatest joys and most fruitful aspects of ministry has been leading Campaigners. It’s also been one of the greatest challenges! Taking on the burdens of kids and really walking with them through the “highs and lows” of their lives is hard stuff! But, some of the most meaningful relationships I have today are with those kids that sat in my living room week after week as we wrestled through the struggles of adolescence and opened the Scriptures to see what Jesus had to say.

I’ve always been on the lookout for resources and insights that could help the kids I lead really “get it.” With that in mind, a couple of friends and I figured, “we know a bunch of really smart people that are really good at this stuff, what if we asked them for help?” So, that’s what we did!

JP O’Connor is finishing his PhD in New Testament, has a background in ministry, is brilliant and loves the ministry of Young Life. He is passionate about helping kids who have never opened the Bible hear the good news, and has worked really hard to write this study with you and your ministry in mind.

So, we figured he’s doing all the hard work of studying, and we want you to keep doing the hard work of walking with lost, hurting kids that desperately need you in their lives. So, we have this amazing resource, a 5-week study about discipleship in the book of Mark, and we want you to have it! It sells for $35, but because of what you’re doing with Young Life, we want to give it to you for $1! Yes, it’s only $1, because we want to help you get this really great resource, and put it to use with the kids you know and love.

For just $1, you’ll have the first half of the semester of Campaigners planned and done for you, hopefully making your work of running Campaigners a little easier this semester. There are questions for middle school, high school, and college students included so it can be used by anyone in your area across the mission!

Here’s a list of all the things that come with this guide:

When you go to this page, use the special coupon code: younglife2017 to get this special offer only available to YL staff and volunteers for a limited time. Here’s a link to more info about the study if you’re on the fence.

Here’s a link to a blog post on the Book of Mark by the author of the study, JP O’Connor if you're in the mood for some light reading.

Also, take advantage of a free download of our e-book called “11 Hacks for Youth Ministry."

We are so grateful for you and the work that you’re doing in the lives of kids. We pray and trust that these resources will be a great gift to you and to them, will empower you, sustain you, and encourage you to continue your pursuit of kids and Jesus.

Yours in Christ,

Zach Gurick and the Kindred Youth Ministry Team

Thursday, February 9, 2017

10 Ways Our Friends in Capernaum Can Lead at Club

Below are 10 ways our friends in Capernaum can be leaders at Club. 

The Prayer Team

Consider your friends who love to pray. Invite them to the pre-club meeting every week that you have club. Ask them to lead your team’s prayer time before club begins. Give them prayer requests to take home with them.

The YL Club Band

A lot of our friends love music. They may not be ready for the music venues of Nashville or Austin, but they are joy-filled song leaders, drummers and even piano players. Give some of your friends the chance to lead music, alongside of your club leaders. Organize time to practice and help them understand why we choose the songs that we do.

Banana of the Week

Sing the "Banana Song" at club and throw a slide up on the screen with a photo & names of the "Honorary Banana of the Week!" Toss them the costume and let them lead the whole club in the Banana Song!


Who doesn’t love a great welcome when they get to club? Assign some friends to be greeters at the door. They can welcome peers, parents, buddies and leaders.


You know you have the kid in your club who loves taking pictures of anything and everything. Invite them to take pictures during club and encourage them to post them on social media, tagging their friends. At the end each semester, have them make a slideshow of their best photos and show it at club. What a fun way to celebrate a semester together.

Friends News

Have two friends, dressed as newscasters, come out to share the news of their friends and what's going on at their schools with newscaster music playing in the background. Show this great slide behind them. From time to time, have them call on a friend in the audience to give the weather news or a report from their school regarding a sporting event, school play or some other news.

Raffle, Raffle, Raffle

Let your friends pass out raffle tickets as kids are coming into club and give them the chance to draw the winning ticket, call out the numbers and award prizes to the winners!


Why not have your friends run games as skit characters. Kids love seeing their friends make fools of themselves. Set them up well by having extensive practice. Help them get great costumes, the right intro music, the props they need, and picking the right volunteers.

"The best way to raise up a leader is to assign them a task and help them succeed." -John Maxwell

Remember, P90 Owen (Capernaum alumni now serving on a summer program team) started by doing characters at club!

Tunnel Makers

Instead of being tunnel runners, let your friends who are learning leadership be the tunnel makers!

Sharing Scripture

Have your friend read or tell the encounter with Jesus that you are using in club. This works incredibly well when you’ve been using the same scripture all semester, but even if not, let them practice and share it along with the leader who is giving the talk!

Originally posted on the YLCapernaumEverywhere Blog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

WyldLife Wednesday: The Twin Game

Written by Cassandra Shed, Young Life Staff, Duncanville,Texas.

If you’ve got “Twin Club” on your spring schedule, you don’t want to miss this game.

Put two guys together in one gigantic sweatshirt (the bigger the sweatshirt, the better!) Each kid has one arm in a sleeve with his hand sticking out while the other arm is tucked inside.

Put two girls in another sweatshirt. Make as many “twin teams” as you’ve got sweatshirts. Remember, most middle school kids are more comfortable when all eyes are not on them. So if you’ve got three or four twin teams up front, you’ll help your WyldLife friends feel more secure.

Once you’ve got your teams in place, it’s time to compete. There are all kinds of options:
  • Wrap a present.
  • Build something out of Legos
  • Make a sundae to feed to a WyldLife leader
  • Create a sculpture out of Play-doh
Any task could work, as long as it usually takes one person with two hands to complete it. It will be challenging (and lots of fun) to watch the twin teams compete using only their outside hands.

And for the winning team? Double Bubble gum, Twix bars or Twinkies, of course!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Love Club Ideas

Love is in the air. Below are a few different directions you can go if you're planning a Valentine's Day theme club.

Call It... 

  • Love Club
  • Battle of the Sexes Club
  • Ms. Valentine's Pageant
  • Anti-Valentine's Day Club
  • Dating Game Club
  • Red Club

Battle of the Sexes

One year we did Battle of the Sexes Club on Valentine's day and it was a big success. Gals wore pink. Guys wore blue. They entered through different tunnels. We had contests singing love songs the loudest. We did the giant pyramid mixer.  We played Battle of the Sexes trivia and a few other fun games. Get all of the Battle of the Sexes Club Ideas here. 

Ms. Valentine's Pageant

This club is very similar to the Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant done with the guys in December. Get ideas here

Anti-Valentine's Day Club

I've actually never done this club but I've heard a few folks say that it's gone well for them. If you have ideas, send them in here and I'll add them to this post. 

Dating Game Club/The Blind Bachelor

Have "Antonio Amore" host your evening. He enters to the song “That’s Amore” and is dressed in a suit with red hearts pinned all over him, a mullet wig, mustache, top hat, anything over the top. He has a French accent and repeatedly says: 

“I do not push, I do not shove, I am as sweet (sweet is said in a high pitched voice) as a turtle dove, I get my looks from the man above, my name’s Amore, my name means love.

In the past we've borrowed a male and female senior leader from our rival high school and had them serve as our guest 'bachelor' and 'bachelorette' for the night. The 'bachelor' went first and entered blindfolded while the bachelorette was hidden in another room. 4 girls (one from each grade) competed to win the date with the bachelor. The bachelor asked the girls a series of questions like these:

  • If you were a candy, what would you be and why?
  • Describe your perfect date? What would we do?
  • What are you looking for in a future spouse?
  • If you were to write me a poem, what would it say?
Ex: "Contestant #1, if you could change anything about the world, what would it be?"

After a series of questions the bachelor makes his decision and writes it (still blindfolded) on a piece of paper placed in a sealed envelope and handed to Antonio Amore. The female contestants all wait in suspense while the Bachelorette enters along with the 4 male contestants, one from each class.

I like to prep the freshmen guy ahead of time with good answers so he's the hero. It's funny when the senior girl wins a date with the freshmen guy.

After the bachelorette makes her decision, Antonio announces both winners. The music plays, rose pedals are thrown down, and the blindfolds are removed. The two winning couples are escorted to the door where the limo awaits! (See if you can get an area limo service to donate or give discounted service. Typically a Monday night isn't too busy for them!)

In the limo, the couples are joined by Antonio and another friend of YL who is the videographer for the evening. The two couples leave club before the talk and head to a local dive like What-A-Burger or Sonic. Have silverware, flowers, placemats, etc... Antonio helps the date along prompting conversation with pre-planned questions and instructions like "feed your date a bite of that milkshake with your left hand.'

Show the video at club the following week!

Other Dating Game Club Ideas From

The Talk

You could use "Love Club" to address sex & dating. I know it's not in our typical YL talk progression, but it's something teenagers are dealing with daily and we owe them the truth.

In the past I've done a light-hearted talk, explaining the difference between lust and love. It's important to help our high school friends understand that we desire more than just what our hormones tell us we want. We long for intimacy, way more than just physical affection. We long to be completely known and yet completely loved- accepted and unashamed, without fear of rejection.

Gen 1:27, 2:18-25, and 1 Corin. 6:16-19 (from the Message).

Quotes I Love To Use When Speaking About Sex & Dating

  • Purity paves the way to intimacy. (Andy Stanley)
  • They don't make condoms for your heart. (Lots of folks)
  • You don’t have to shop at Victoria Secret and do poll dances to be a desired woman. (Ken Tankersly)
  • I'm no sexpert, but... (I can't remember who I stole that from.)
  • God loves sex, He's the inventor of sex. Do you think Adam & Eve we're just walking along and bumped into one another? (Mike Ashburn, maybe only Ash can pull that off?)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

We're Hiring: Apply for a Summer Apprenticeship

Are you a college student who feels called to vocational youth ministry?

We're offering 2 apprenticeships (1 male, 1 female) this summer in Greensboro, NC.

This specific apprenticeship is designed for college students who desire to pursue full-time vocational youth ministry after college graduation. It will be a chance for you to be invested in and developed as a leader. It is open to any current college student.

This summer, we will read, study, and grow together in our understanding of the Gospel and youth ministry. We will reach out to both young people and parents, in the community and in the church. There will be a balance of relational ministry and administration.You will have opportunities to both learn and lead.


Mid-May to Mid-August
(dates are somewhat flexible)

All applications are due by Feb. 28, 2017.


You will get a diverse experience in youth ministry, learning the ins and outs of church youth ministry, camping ministry, and Young Life. You will have three primary roles:

Young Life Leader Blog || Assistant Editor
Write, edit, research & create resources for “The Young Life Leader Blog” and associated social media accounts. 

Camp Booyah || Assistant Camp Director
Plan and execute a weeklong mission camp for 8 churches in NC and VA.

Redeemer Youth Ministry Intern
Serve at Church of the Redeemer doing contact work and discipleship with teenagers, parents, and youth volunteers.

This apprenticeship will be directed by Drew Hill. You can read more about Drew here and here.


  • $3000 and housing provided (with a family)
  • You will be asked to fundraise $1500 of the $3000 through tax-deductible donations.
  • Work 10.5 of 12 weeks. 1.5 weeks off for vacation.
  • A typical work-week will be 45 hours. Some will be more intensive, while others will be less demanding. 
  • You need to have a working vehicle, but will be reimbursed for youth ministry mileage.
  • You will be reimbursed for other youth ministry related expenses.

Apply here. All applications are due by Feb. 28, 2017.