Sunday, June 23, 2019

Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader: Sabbath

Today is part 3 of our summer series, The Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader. If you'd like to read the previous posts in the series, here is part 1 and part 2

The Sabbath. It’s one of the ten commandments. We’re supposed to “keep” it. But what even is it?

In my mind, the Sabbath was a day I wasn’t allowed to do anything fun, productive, or even relatively normal on Sundays. I could go to church, and that was about it.

But I’ve been looking into this Sabbath thing, and it’s so much more! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1.    Sabbath comes from the Hebrew word SHABAT. It means to stop; to cease; to be complete; to celebrate. (Garden City, p. 186)
2.    “It is a day of celebration and delight.” - John Mark Comer. The Sabbath is time set apart for joy in our relationship with God.
3.    It is blessed and holy. Not a specific calendar day, but time itself. The Jewish Sabbath is from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, and other denominations designate Sunday as the Sabbath. The specific day or time itself isn’t as important as the discipline of setting a regular time each week.
4.    It is time for rest and worship (A holy sabbath unto the Lord - Garden City, p. 192). The Sabbath is not a day we’re not allowed to do things, like I thought. Anything we do can go through these two questions as a filter: Is it rest? Is it worship? If so, go for it! If not, wait for another day. The Sabbath is going to look as unique as each of us!
5.      It is not just a “day off.” A Sabbath isn’t a day to catch up on errands, power through a to-do list, or check your work emails from home. It’s also probably not a day to zone out watching TV or scrolling on social media. Sabbath is an intentional time to connect with God and our community.

I’ve been experimenting with my Sabbath for a few months. I love going to a coffee shop to read, study, and write. Often, my Sabbaths include a hike or run, since I love being outside. Sometimes I’ll cook some good meals. I don’t do laundry on a Sabbath. Pretty simple!

But depending on your work, ministry, family, or other situations, it might not feel so simple for you to keep a Sabbath. Think out of the box to put the Sabbath into practice in your own life! Don’t be afraid to experiment week by week.

Do you work on weekends?

Pick any day of the week for a Sabbath - it doesn’t have to be Saturday or Sunday! It’s not about a day, it’s about time spent intentionally. Do what works for you.

Don’t think you have space in your schedule? 

If you can’t take a full day, start by creating a block of several hours in your week where you can disconnect from all the noise around you and connect with God. Take the time you do have, and add more when you are ready to make more time for Sabbath.

Do you have kids and a spouse to figure into a Sabbath practice?

Invite them to practice Sabbath with you! Trade off with your spouse so you each get some solitude at some point during the day. Take the family to play at a park or make a fun meal together as a treat. Make new traditions or have a Sabbath game/toy box that only comes out on Sabbath. It can be a day for the whole family to look forward to!

Does your ministry or work keep you feeling “on” all the time?

If you don’t feel like you can step back and be unavailable for a set amount of time, now’s a great time to start practicing healthy boundaries. Set auto-responses on your email and phone to let people know when you’ll be out of touch, and when to expect a response. You’ll be able to engage more fully by taking time to be “off” and more present to your relationship with God and your family and/or community.

Not sure what to “do” on a Sabbath?

So many possibilities, but having a hard time deciding? Think about a vacation that you’ve enjoyed. What did you like about it? I explore, eat great food, read, and ignore the clock. So I do those things on my Sabbath! Let your vacations or other times of rest inspire you to celebrate and delight on your Sabbath. Just remember, rest and worship are the goal.

Have you practiced keeping a Sabbath? What does your Sabbath look like?

If you want to learn more about the Sabbath, check out the following resources:


Written by Camber McKenzie.

Camber McKenzie is a volunteer Young Life leader in Steamboat Springs, CO, and has an MBA from Regent University. She gets excited about books, impromptu dance parties, and doing anything outdoors.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A Great New Tool for Discipling Students After Camp

The Young Life Discipleship Department is rolling out resources for both camp follow-up and ongoing discipling (watch for more exciting news this fall about our collaboration with The Bible Project).

Young Life is now live on YouVersion. And we have our own App Theme that will help readers navigate directly to YL reading plans. 

As soon as students get their phones — before they get lost in notifications and status updates and email and texts — have them download The Bible App, free in the app store. Then follow the instructions in the downloadable PDF included below. 

Here’s some of what you’ll find in YouVersion:

After Camp: What’s Next? Listed as a 5-day plan, it’s intended to be read in its entirety while riding home in the bus/van/car.

Other 5-day plans can be read in any order, both for personal time in scripture, but also to guide small groups and Campaigners. 

Within the app, you can choose settings that make it possible to share comments, track each other’s reading progress, set specific calendar dates, and more. Be sure to follow the steps in the PDF linked below to get started. Doing things in this order will guarantee that you land on the Young Life welcome splash screen and have access to the YL homepage feed that will continually update the list of YL reading plans. 

To make things even easier, print copies of the detailed instructions for all your leaders and kids, and distribute them with phones when you're back on the bus heading home. Find downloadable PDFs and graphics here.

Watch for more plans throughout the summer and fall. 

One last thing: thank you. Really and truly and deeply and sincerely … THANK YOU for everything you do. A thousand times over. And then some more.

—Crystal Kirgiss (Young Life VP of Discipleship)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Most Helpful Ways To Prepare for Being a Leader at a Young Life Camp

You are getting ready to take your friends on the trip of their lifetime. You've promised them the best week of their lives. You're praying and fundraising and preparing every way you know how! 

Whether you are a first-time leader going to camp or a seasoned veteran, below are some of our most helpful articles to get you ready for camp!

30 Items Leaders Can Pack for Camp

The Complete Guide to a YL'd Bus Ride

WyldLife Camp Follow-Up

New Leader Survival Guide

Bus Trivia Questions

Table Questions for Meals at Camp

Making the Most of Free Time at Camp

How To Lead Cabin Time 

Camp Follow-Up

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer Reading Giveaway: Winners

Thank you to all who entered our Summer Reading Giveaway

Our Grand Prize Winner, who won a copy of each of the ten books, is Derek Walne! Congratulations Derek! 

Our 90 winners are listed below with the book that they won! You should be receiving your new book within the next few weeks to the address you included in your entry!  Thank you again to each of the authors who each graciously donated 10 books for this giveaway! 

Tons of wisdom from a seasoned Young Life veteran. Reading this book will make you want to spend more time with Jesus.

David DeLozier 
Kaylin Mathes
Joel Newbury
Trey Trent
Raygan Hall
McKenna Swindell
Jordan Graydon
Emily Zapata
John Webster
A practically helpful guide for any graduate who is entering the world of adulthood. 

Alex Vasquez
Brad Scandrett
David Wegman
Quinten Ncube
Camden Belinko
Leah Metzger
Jake Schwab
Kevin Dorman
Kim McElreath
A vulnerable look into the world of a Super Bowl Champion and Young Life leader.

Caleb Burchett
Louise Thomas
Patrick Meehan
Tucker Been
Hayden Regitz
Rosalia Jeon
Angie Polejewski
Brody Clarke
Debbi Hobart
A 20-day primer that will lead you deeper in Christ this summer.

Jordan Gilbert
MacLaine Birch
Jackson Ducote
Kahlil Glenn
Mark Kirgis
Brooke Christopherson
Dylan Birkett
Kassi Brown
Rob Johnston
Go through the Gospel of Mark in 30 days. A helpful tool to use with kids after they come home from camp.

Andrew McMillan
Amy Nielson
Jen Payne
Brooke Allen
Rob van Mourik
Erin Buddig
Emma Boardman
Matt Siebert
Jackson Leach
A unique guide to prayer with out-of-the-box suggestions and thought-provoking imagery. 

Alex Medlin
Beeb Gerlicher
Trey Ridge
Rachel Saltarelli
Caleb McCombie
Jeremiah Grooms
Madeleine Williams
Katie Carter
Gerardo Guerra
A true story of hope from a Young Life veteran. Encouragement for any of you who feel like you're facing burnout.

Tabitha Boothe
Amanda Wells
Riley Korf
Nathan Hunt
Bubba Ivey
Cody Sanders
Katie Vahle
Jeremy Engle
Magdalene Jacobs

Teach Us To Pray by Jim Branch
A reflective journey through the Psalms from the author of The Blue Book

Devon Messick
Wyn Pobletts
Terykah Hollis
Sean Raimando
Amy Hurd
Rudy Aleman
Miranda Bilello
Patrick Flint
Liam Lambert

A collection of true stories along with Scripture applications and questions from one of Young Life's best story-tellers.

Stephanie Marquez
Chelsey Gravseth
Justin Friel
Klariza Lynn
Jake Landon
Heather Faulkner
Alejandro Maldonado
Braden Sydor
David Koch

Prayers and journal entries from a Young Life leader who recently passed away. Encouragement for anyone facing suffering or loss.

Erin Long
Hailey Stulp
Jeffrey Chambers
Claire Simon
Andrew Cates
Loma Steele
Megan Kelley
Riese Chatfield
Briana Bourgeois

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader: Eliminating Hurry

This is part 2 of our summer series, The Spiritual Disciplines of a Leader. 

Have you ever felt like you keep saying "I don't have enough time?" Me too.

I was reading The Blue Book where Jim Branch records a conversation between Dallas Willard and John Ortberg that rocked me.

“Not long after moving to Chicago, I called a wise friend to ask for some spiritual direction. I described the pace of life in my current ministry. The church where I serve tends to move at a fast clip. I also told him about our rhythms of family life: we are in the van-driving, soccer-league, piano-lesson, school-orientation-night years. I told him about the present condition of my heart, as best I could discern it. What did I need to do, I asked him, to be spiritually healthy?
Long pause.
‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life,’ he said at last.
Another long pause.
‘Okay, I've written that one down,’ I told him, a little impatiently. ‘That's a good one. Now, what else is there?’ I had many things to do, and this was a long-distance call, so I was anxious to cram as many units of spiritual wisdom into the least amount of time possible. Another long pause.
‘There is nothing else,’ he said. ‘You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.’”
The idea of ruthlessly eliminating hurry from my life was more than just a good thought; I wanted to actually try it. So I did.

I cut out “I don’t have time for _____” from my thinking. When it popped up, I would counter with “All I have is time.” Time is the best gift we have, and we can’t take it for granted. Little shifts in our everyday thinking can lead to bigger changes than we expect!

I practiced ruthlessly eliminating hurry, but I still needed more to help me be a healthy person. I needed other spiritual disciplines that could help me stay grounded and hopeful in the highs, lows, and everyday life.

Hurry was eliminated, but I found myself juggling a full-time job, full-time graduate school, and being a Young Life leader. And man, was I exhausted! I could check out and watch a movie or sleep in on weekends, but nothing helped me feel truly rested. I was burned out, emotionally and spiritually.

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 11:28-30 (The Message)
Jesus invites us to take time to get away, to recover, to take a real rest. Unforced rhythms of grace? Living freely and lightly? I want that!

If you feel the same way, you’ll want to check back here as we give you a few resources on building a “spiritual toolbox” with different practices to help us connect with God and each other in deeper ways.

Want to put this into practice right away? 
Start noticing when you feel rushed or overwhelmed in life. Eliminate that sense of hurry, and ask God to help you focus on the person or situation in front of you.

What spiritual practices are helping you or healing you right now? Leave a comment below or email us here.

Written by Camber McKenzie.

Camber McKenzie is a volunteer Young Life leader in Steamboat Springs, CO, and has an MBA from Regent University. She gets excited about books, impromptu dance parties, and doing anything outdoors.