Thursday, June 23, 2016

One-on-Ones: Both at Camp and at Home

Written by Lyn TenBrink. This post first appeared on YL Capernaum Everywhere but is helpful for all different types of Young Life ministry.

You know those moments when someone is intentional with wanting to meet you for coffee and just hear about your life? That’s a "one-on-one."

That same special feeling and the same intentionality are what a one-on-one is like at camp, or any other time, with our Young Life kids and friends. It is a gift. A gift of intimacy, generosity, and care in the holiest of ways.

To begin, we thoughtfully pray and think through a kid’s context and where we see the Gospel story intersecting their story. We sit down and generously care for them through thoughtful questions and sharing our own story.


There is a great Young Life resource on the basics of “Sharing the Gospel One on One”.

This document offers great theology and the whys of a one-on-one. This is just as true for Capernaum as for traditional kids. But we may need to think about this a bit differently with Capernaum friends or for any traditional kid who learns uniquely or who may have experienced life in drastic ways.

Daily or Weekly

Also, most Young Life camp weeks have a specific day of the week scheduled for one-on-ones. But with kids who learn or process uniquely a one-on-one may need to be part of every day. With the kid to leader ratio in Capernaum this should be possible. For certain kids, especially kids who have experienced trauma or simply process and learn differently, a one-on-one can be the most likely entry point for the gospel - more than anything else they experience all week.


The whole camp week is designed for sharing the Gospel. It is important to allow our middle and high school friends to respond to what they are hearing, experiencing and feeling in their own way. So having questions, visuals, word cards, a device may be essential to them responding. They have listened and participated in most things the camp week has had to offer. A one-on-one is their turn to respond in whatever way is most comfortable for them and it is our chance to listen or learn how to respond and share the Gospel in their context.

So what are some ways to prepare for one-on-one times while at camp with a kid who processes or learns differently?

Prior to Camp Week
  • Have trip leader connect with speaker and get scripture stories that will be shared from up front.
  • Meet with your team and decide which leaders will be doing one-on-ones with specific kids while at camp.
  • Collect information from your team experiences, family members/guardians or teachers on the best way to communicate with each kid/friend and find out the best way they can communicate with you. Do they use a device? Do you need word or picture cards to point at? Do you need to walk or have a gadget to maximize their attention? Etc.

During Camp Week
  • Pay attention to where the talks are intersecting with what you know about your kid/friend.
  • Pay attention to the “experience” you are having during the week that may help process talk content.
  • Tell kids early in week that their leader will be spending one-on-one time with them sometime during the week. Perhaps say this in a variety of ways so kids understand what is coming is a positive experience.
  • Ask questions about what they are hearing about Jesus to glean understanding.
  • Ask about what life experience they may have had that may complicate or get in the way of what they are hearing. Let them know in their way that they were heard.
  • Contextualize all of that with them in their way.
  • It may be helpful to ask “yes” and “no” questions around their processing of the gospel.

Post Camp
  • Following up with an additional one-on-one time is key upon returning home. Often when kids/friends get in the comfort of their own environment processing is easier but it is also important to bridge camp learning to home in a concrete way.
  • Notice what you learned about God and your kid/friend in the one on one process. Thank God. Replicate it for life. We all need to be known in this most intimate of ways.

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