Monday, November 19, 2018

$10,000 for Young Life Capernaum: #PedalWithAPurpose

If you haven’t already been following, Matt Broshat is biking the perimeter of the United States and fundraising for Young Life Capernaum in Minneapolis, MN. He's already raised close to $10,000!!!

Over the past 104 days, Matt has already ridden over 7,000 miles of his 11,000 mile adventure. Along the route, he has been visiting Young Life camps (Castaway, Timber Wolf Lake, Saranac and most recently Southwind) and attending Young Life clubs all across the United States! 

You can check out his website and Instagram @bikerbroshat to follow his pedal with a purpose.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt

Below is another fun Christmas club idea, similar to "Bigger, Better, Best!"

The Human Christmas Tree Scavenger Hunt gives kids and leaders an opportunity to laugh and play – and also allows parents to get involved.

The Big Picture
Teams visit houses in the neighborhood looking for items to “hang” on their human Christmas tree – one of their team members. They’re not asking for actual ornaments – just something red or something with lights or something reindeer-y that will not be returned to its owner. 

Feel free to use/adapt this list for your own scavenger hunt.

These items are taped all over the human Christmas tree. All teams meet back at club for a Christmas tree presentation, judging, awards and a club talk.

The Details
Kids, leaders and parent drivers meet at your club location. Explain the scavenger hunt rules and then divide kids into teams with one parent driver or leader per team. Tell them that this scavenger hunt isn’t a race – it’s more about creativity. Give each team the ending time and a point list, and send them on their way.

If your club location is in a neighborhood, you may not even need drivers - teams can walk to nearby houses instead. But you might consider assigning streets so three teams don’t hit up the same houses over and over again.

Whether you’re driving or walking, you can also assign one house for each team to do all of their “ornament shopping”. Talk to parents/homeowners the week before so they are ready for a team of middle school kids to invade their house.

At the end of the scavenger hunt, gather kids back at your club location. Let each team present their “tree” to the judges – your parent drivers or other parents you’ve invited. One of your leaders can give a short Christmas club talk followed by an announcement of the winners. You can give awards for the highest point total, but also for the most creative, tiniest or funniest “ornaments."

Consider ending the night with a hot chocolate bar: parent baristas serving hot chocolate with toppings like whipped cream, candy canes, sprinkles, chocolate chips and more.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

New "Need Talk" Song and Video: SHALLOW by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga

If you're giving the need or sin talk at club, check out this video that Madison Wall created. The first part of the video is song lyrics from the new song, "Shallow" by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. It's part of the soundtrack of their new movie, "A Star is Born." I haven't seen the movie and am not endorsing it, but the lyrics of the song are PERFECT for a need talk!

Tell me somethin', girl
Are you happy in this modern world?
Or do you need more?
Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for?
I'm fallin'
In all the good times
I find myself longing for change
And in the bad times, I fear myself

Tell me something, boy
Aren't you tired tryin' to fill that void?
Or do you need more?
Ain't it hard keepin' it so hardcore?
I'm falling
In all the good times
I find myself longing for change
And, in the bad times, I fear myself

I'm off the deep end, watch as I dive in
I'll never meet the ground
Crash through the surface where they can't hurt us
We're far from the shallow now

In the sha-ha, sha-la-low
In the sha-sha-la-la-la-low
In the sha-ha, sha-ha-ha-low
We're far from the shallow now

In the second part of the video, Madison took a screen recording of Google searches and laid it over the song. It's powerful with the music. If you wanted to go the extra mile, you could personalize it and create your own screen recording of searches that are even more relevant to your specific friends you'll be speaking to. 

You may even consider singing it as a club song. You could have the guys sing Bradley Cooper's part and the gals sing Lady Gaga's. If you have a decent guitar player, here is a good chord sheet: "Shallow" guitar chords. If not, here's the Karaoke instrumental version you could play over the speakers. 

It was super easy to make slides using the Lyrical Slides add-on that Dan Kramp made for Young Life leaders. If you're not using it yet, check it out here. You can download slides for "Shallow" below.

"Shallow" Google Slides

"Shallow" PowerPoint Slides

Younglife Need Talk Song and Questions from Madison Wall on Vimeo.

Thanks for putting this video together, Madison!

If you have helpful resources to share, email us at YL1941 at gmail dot com.

If you're looking for Christmas gifts for leaders, committee members, or parents of teenagers, check out Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

"The Most Important Thing" by Meredith McDaniel

"Even though we had some standing as Christ’s apostles, we never threw our weight around or tried to come across as important, with you or anyone else. We weren’t aloof with you. We took you just as you were. We were never patronizing, never condescending, but we cared for you the way a mother cares for her children. We loved you dearly. Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did."  
-1 Thes 2:8 msg


A few weeks ago I opened my laptop and saw the news of Eugene Peterson’s passing. After skimming a few articles and listening to some old interviews I found myself sitting in my counseling practice with a box of tissues and tears falling on my thrifted copy of the Message. 

Eugene shared in this interview that his goal of writing the Message was simply to learn the language of his people and give them a closer glimpse into who Jesus is. He dedicated 20 years of his life to crafting this Bible paraphrase! The interviewer then proceeded to ask: “In a word, what is the most important thing about pastoring?” and without any hesitation or pause, Eugene responded with a sly smile: “relationships.”

I've been involved with Young Life for the past twenty years and relationships is also the one word we often use to describe our model and mission of leading others to Jesus. I believe that we in Young Life share a similar heartbeat to that of Eugene Peterson on this front because that is what Jesus is all about. He spent most of His days here on earth with ordinary, outcast people, like you and me, whom he viewed as friends, speaking in our language. With humility “He made himself nothing and took on the very nature of a servant” as it says in Philippians, and as Young Life leaders you take on that role too. You enter into a world of middle and high schoolers and choose to share your hearts and the love of Jesus with them by the way you call them by name and show up.

I love the way Eugene worded 1 Thes. 2:8 as he writes: “Not content to just pass on the Message, we wanted to give you our hearts. And we did.” When you think about your high school friends, I imagine this is what comes to mind for you as well. I pray that everyday when you head to the school, you would walk confidently in the high honor that you get to go meet people where they are and bring light in the darkness. When you are standing in the student section or driving someone home from club, remember that you don’t have it all together, yet you have a real hope to share.

If you get a chance, I challenge you this week to crack open the poetic Psalms penned by this suffering saint of a man who is now worshipping and dancing with our Maker. Eugene had a way of bringing us all into the fold and reminding us how to rest in Jesus.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  -Matthew 11:28-20

I won't pretend to know what you might be carrying into the week ahead, friends. I will, however, suggest that if you are anything like me the words freely and lightly carry much appeal. So I am praying them both over you as I am for myself as we enter this month of gratitude and thankfulness here in November. I pray you will see His hand as you love!

May you find rest each day as you "walk with and work with" Jesus in the days ahead.

You can find Meredith McDaniel on instagram: @meredith_mcdaniel where she helps others taste the land of milk + honey here on earth. She is wife to Ben McDaniel on Young Life staff in Lake Norman and a mom of 3. She is a licensed counselor and author. To receive her weekly newsletter sign up here: Manna for Monday

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"Telling Stories" by Brian Summerall

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for Young Life Committee, leaders, and donors? 

Brian Summerall, Young Life’s Director of Ministry Strategy, and 30-year staff veteran has written a new book that you can ORDER HERE. 

You can also find out how to win one of 10 free copies below!

“Telling Stories: God’s Grace Revealed Through Adventures, Awkwardness, and a 1981 Monte Carlo.”

Young Life staff can now preorder the book in bulk (10 or more) for $10 each at!  (hardback, 206 pages)

About the Book

This is a book of stories that are telling in what they reveal about God, all told by a master storyteller. Brian’s tales of late-night dorm raids, college probation, high school awkwardness, and backstage passes will find you laughing. Others will bring you to tears. Whether they are stories of family, fame, adventure, pain, loss, miracles, or relationships, all of these stories reveal a God who is extravagant in His love for us.

As Brian says, “I’m praying that as you engage in these stories that life-changing decisions will be made. God decisions. Do me a favor. Pick up the book. Find a quiet place to read. Let me tell you a story.”

You’ll be glad you did!

"I had the great privilege of editing and publishing “The Diaries of Jim Rayburn” and “Letters to a Young Life Leader” by Bob Mitchell. I am happy to add “Telling Stories” by Brian Summerall to that list.  As a former staff person myself I know “Telling Stories” will be a great gift for leaders, donors, committee, and even kids.   Brian wrote it with a general audience in mind — but since Brian has been on staff for decades, it has a real Young Life sensibility to it.Giving this book to someone is like giving them a little bit of Young Life.”   - Kit Sublett, Whitecaps Media

For bulk orders of 10 or more, email Kit Sublett at or go to and fill out the bulk order contact form.


The first 10 people who post a copy of the "Telling Stories" jpeg above and tag Brian Summerall on Facebook or on Instagram (@briansummerall) will win a free signed copy! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

10 Ideas for Turkey Club

Have kids bring canned goods to club to donate to needy families. You could also ask them to bring supplies for Operation Christmas Child and put together Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes

Divide into groups and have folks write funny thank you notes, then collect them and read them on stage with the Jimmy Fallon piano music in the background.

Secret Messages

Have everyone at club send a DM to your YL Twitter or Instagram account with something they're thankful for. Tell them you're going to anonymously read them out loud.This will make sure most everyone is following the Twitter/Instagram accounts and also be a fun way to share thankfulness. Thanks to Sean McGever at for sharing this and other helpful thoughts about creating a YL tradition of thankfulness. 

Turkey Bowl

Lots of clubs around the country have a tradition of holding an annual "YL Turkey Bowl" football game. Go the extra mile and make shirts, because who doesn't need another YL shirt, especially one with a picture of a turkey playing football. You can create competition between classes, kind of a Jr vs Sr powderpuff feel. If you have a sweet YL Turkey Bowl t-shirt or logo design that you're willing to share, email it to us and we'll add it to this post.

Turkey Stuffing 

Divide into teams. Give each person a balloon (the stuffing) and one large shirt or sweatshirt. Give them one minute to “prep” their turkey by blowing up the balloon and stuffing them in the shirt of one person on their team. When the time is up, have a sumo match. The last one standing wins.(from

Turkey Head

Just a slight twist on the ol' surgical glove on the head game, because it does look like a turkey, especially if you color the fingers. Get three volunteers to pull the glove over their head, just below their nose. When the music starts, they race to blow it up as big as they can by blowing through their noses. It can get huge!  Take pics. Special thanks to our Area Director, David Page, for demonstrating his inflatable turkey skillz. 

Pumpkin Long Snapper Game

Items needed:
  • Small pumpkins or gourds (hand sized) 
  • 2 baskets
  • You will need two teams of two
  • Set the basket 15 feet from one player and have the player's teammate stand with basket.
  • In this challenge, one player will hike pumpkins between their legs like a long snapper in football. The teammate holding the basket will toss back any pumpkins or gourds. 
  • Team with the most pumpkins at the end of 60 seconds wins the challenge.

Pie Face Game
Items needed:
  • Plate
  • Pumpkin pie with whipped topping
  • Instruct players they must keep their hands behind their backs.
  • The first player to devour the pie - crust, filing, whipped cream, and all in 60 seconds or less wins the challenge.

Turkey Bowling
Items Needed:
  • Frozen Turkey 
    • You can leave the plastic and netting on the turkey and throw it holding the netting OR
    • Get a drill and drill 3 finger holes into the turkey and throw it like an actual bowling ball.
  • 12 Bowling pins or 2-liter bottles filled with sand
    • You can often get donations of old broken pins from a local alley.
  • Plastic tarp (long enough to serve as your "lane")
  • Oil or water (to spread on tarp so turkey slides more easily)
  • Sturdy, stable backboard for end of lane - a table on its side would work well. Nail or tape securely to the ground or floor
  • Person to set up pins after each bowl
How to Play:  
  • Each team has three participants. 
  • Game consists of three rounds. First student from each team bowls in the first round, second student in the second round, third student in the third round.
  • Scoring is just like regular bowling except there are only three frames. The third frame is the equivalent of the tenth frame in regular bowling with the potential for an extra bowl if the participant scores a strike or spare.
  • Each participant gets two bowls with the exception of the third participant who will have the opportunity for an extra bowl if he/she scores a strike or spare.
  • Play the 'Chicken Dance' in the background or have a kid who hunts blow his turkey call every time pins are knocked down. 
Turkey Trophy 
Make a turkey out of an old bowling ball (body) and pin (as the head). Use feathers and a red sock as a goblet and paint the ball with winners names.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Little-Clay-Land Giveaway and Young Life Discount!

I recently asked my friend, Laura, if she could work her magic to create a custom clay portrait of my favorite Young Life program characters of all time- "Dan-Dan and Larry Potter" aka Odysseus Wallace and Bryan Spillman. 

You can see her magical skillz on display in this video of the actual creation taking place


If you're looking for a unique Christmas gift for someone, Little Clay Land is running a 10% off special for Young Life leaders until October 31! Prices go up for Christmas time, so order now before Nov. 1st. You simply upload a picture and write out any special instructions and then magic happens. 

Go to and enter the code "YL10" at checkout.


You can also enter to win a giveaway for a FREE portrait for up to 7 people ($88 value!)

This would be a great gift for your Young Life team leader or Area Director or a family member or friend.

To enter:
  1. Follow @LittleClayLand on Instagram
  2. Comment on the Little Clay Land post on the @YoungLifeLeader Instagram account by tagging at least 3+ friends or Young Life teammates. 
  3. We'll choose a winner on Friday, October 26th.

Make sure to go to and enter the code "YL10" at checkout before October 31st!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Godspeed: The Pace of Being Known

Over the past few months, I've watched the short film, "Godspeed," three different times. Each time, I've found myself unexplainably crying. 

There's a deep longing in me to live life at Godspeed, to ruthlessly eliminate hurry. Perhaps you too have experienced that longing? Maybe, as the weather is changing, you're currently stuck in bed with the flu? Take 35 minutes to sit back and ponder what God would have to speak to you. Maybe you could even gather with your Young Life team or area to watch the film together. 

It's almost as if it was made for Young Life leaders. 

Watch Godspeed

If you know of another "non-mainstream" film that would encourage Young Life leaders, email us here. -Drew

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

15 Ideas for Costume Club

Who doesn't love a YL style Costume Party? Below are a few ideas to help make it "YL'd" and festive.

Costume Scavenger Hunt

If your club meets in a home, check with your host to see if it's a good neighborhood to pull off this scavenger hunt. It's similar to "Bigger, Better, Best," but teams are searching for items to collect in order to make a costume for one of the team members. Divide up into teams of around 5 folks. Each team picks one person to dress up and one or two streets to hunt on. Don't let teams overlap streets and hit up the same house. Teams go door-to-door, asking at each home for one or two items they can use in creating a costume for their model. At one house they may get an old hat, at another some lipstick, at another a wig, and so on. Set a time limit, and a limit of 2 items per house. When teams report back to club, hold a competition for the best costume.

Pre-Club Photo Booth 

It's a great night to get some photos to post on Instagram throughout the week. Ask a high schooler to shoot the pics and post them up.

Entry Music

Here's a video you could have playing on the screen as kids enter the club room. It's old school, but still fun- a Halloween light show to Gangnam Style.

Monster Video

Use JibJab to make a Monster video with pics of 5 of your YL kiddos. It costs $ to download the video, but makes a funny transition between different club elements.

Costume Contest

Instead of your typical club mixer, hold a costume contest. Build a runway. Invite everyone wearing costumes to participate. Identify the best costumes before club starts, as those folks cross centerstage, pull them aside. Once you have the top 5 and everyone else is sitting down, vote by audience applause. Award 3 prize catergories: Creative, Insane, & Hilarious. Give a good prize.

JigJaw Jack-O-Lantern

This works well with a smaller club or larger Campaigners group. Divide into teams of 3 people per pumpkin. Give each a good cutting knife and ask them to be careful. Works best if there can be a leader with each team. They have 3 minutes to cut the pumpkin into 10 pieces. Play music while they cut (see songs below). Then have the teams rotate to a different pumpkin. Have a ton of round wooden toothpicks available. Give each team just 2 minutes to put the jigsaw puzzle pumpkin back together, using the toothpicks to hold the pieces in place. The first team to finish is the winner. Pumpkins must be able to stand alone to be considered.

No Costume Smackdown

You know those folks who are too cool to dress up for Costume Club, well this game is for them. Call up 4 folks without costumes and tell them you found the perfect costume for them to wear, then make them put on a sleeping bag. After they're wearing sleeping bags have a wrestling match. Pair off 2 at a time, winners face one another for the championship. Just a Costume Club spin on the old sleeping bag wrastlin' game. Make sure you don't do this on a hard floor. Carpet is key.

Pumpkin Head

Carve out some real big pumpkins with some funny faces. Cut a hole big enough in the bottom where kids can actually wear them as masks (while holding them). The funny part is the people actually wearing a pumpkin head, once that happens, you can go a few different directions with the game. Either have a running race, which is hard since they can't see well. Call it the "Pumpkin Run.'  Or you could cover the pumpkin in cake icing or whipped cream and have kids throw Halloween candy at the people wearing pumpkin heads, seeing who can get the most stuck on their pumpkin.

Seed Spittin'

Kids race to cut open a pumpkin, pull out the seeds and spit them towards their partners who are holding a plastic jack-o-lantern. The one with the most seeds after 90 seconds (with loud music playing in the background) is the winner.

Pumpkin Smash 

If your "Costume Club" happens to fall AFTER Halloween, you can get a good deal on pumpkins. Hold a pre-club "pumpkin smash."

The Great Pumpkin Hunt

Check out this link for all the details! 

Candy Apple (Onion) Eating Contest

All you need are 3 apples, 1 onion, 4 popsicle sticks and some caramel coating.  Cover the onion to look like an apple and have that eating contest. Pretty hilarious. Provide milk and breath mints for the contestant who draws the short straw.  

Pumpkin Prize

For one of the games or the costume contest, award a pumpkin with a crown on it as the award for being the 'Pump-king."

Background Music (to play during games)

Superstition (Stevie Wonder)
Rock Lobster (B-52's) 
Ghost Busters (Ray Parker Jr.)
Monster Mash (Boris Pickett)
Thriller (Michael Jackson)

Club Songs 

Thriller (guitar chords) Download the Thriller lyrics on ppt slides here.

Ghost Busters: It's pretty simple to play on guitar, just five chords. Here's a guitar chords link.  Download the Ghostbusters lyrics on PowerPoint slides here

Lean On Me: We re-wrote a Halloween version. You can download the lyrics and ppt slides here.

Pumpkin Olympics

If your club meets after Halloween, you can likely get really cheap pumpkins. If you have 30 kids at club, buy 90 pumpkins, so you have around 3/kid. Divide into at least four teams for the Olympic events. It's messy, so have them dress appropriately. Below are 8 different events you could use.
  1. Dodge Pumpkin. Everyone sits in a large circle with one person in the middle. Choose a large pumpkin and roll it at the person in the middle, trying to hit the person. Roll it, don't throw it. To make it interesting, increase the number of pumpkins. If a pumpkin splats, replace it.
  2. Pumpkin Bowling. Set up empty 2-liter bottles, cans, or bowling pins. Each person rolls a pumpkin once and tallies the total number of pins knocked down. A leader can be constantly resetting the pins.
  3. Pumpkin Toss. Similar to an egg toss, two people from a team toss a pumpkin back and forth, stepping farther apart each time, until someone drops it.
  4. Pumpkin Put. Put (as in shot-put) a pumpkin through the air and measure how far it goes. Competition may be based on using the largest person from each team, the smallest person, the largest pumpkin, or the smallest pumpkin.
  5. Pumpkin Catapult. Using a cinderblock with a board over it and the pumpkin on one end of the board, jump on the other end and measure how far the pumpkin goes.
  6. The Great Pumpkin Relay. Set up an obstacle course. Players carry a large pumpkin as they negotiate the course, then hand the pumpkin to the next player.
  7. Pumpkin Soccer. Dribble the pumpkin around a cone or other marker and back to the starting point, where the next person takes a turn. Time it.
  8. Pumpkin Pick-up. By the end of the Olympics, the grounds are a mess, so have a clean-up contest. Provide plastic trash bags and award megapoints to the team that collects the most pumpkin debris. Have a scale on hand to weigh the bags if possible.

Make sure the winning team takes home a prize!

*We found some of these great games on