This was an article I wrote this week for Young Life’s national communication.
“Does It Reach Kids?”
As a young area director, I had a very crowded office. It was in an old house where we were given the basement corner. We packed the area office into this basement, and as I look back, it’s one of my all-time favorite offices. We had the normal Young Life office “swag.” We had tubs with left-over clothespins, shaving cream, surgical gloves and colored flagging tape. We had golf sponsor signs from past tournaments in hopes that they would decide to sponsor again! And, we had a golden glove cabin clean-up award and lots of camp photos! All in all, it was a great place to swing by and hang out.
I was recently at a lunch with an area director who was a part-time student staff back in the “basement corner” days. He reminded me of one key item I had forgotten. There was a large poster that hung on the wall with this quote: “Does it reach kids?”
That question kept us focused on our mission as a leadership team. Here are a few conclusions we came to as we kept that quote front and center:
In Young Life, everything we do gives kids a chance to meet and follow Jesus! Kids can respond to the Savior anytime and anywhere, not just at summer camp. Be aware and be prepared!
As you create your schedule, use the litmus test, “Does it help us reach kids?” If it doesn’t, then delete it.
In one discussion, a team leader realized that if he did 20 percent less kid work and instead focused on recruiting leaders, he would reach many more kids!
“So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so that, if possible, we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ. This is what I am working at all the time, with all the strength that God gives me” (Colossians 1:28-29, J. B. Phillips Version). These words from Paul remind me of a couple of things:
- “Naturally proclaim Christ” — Is this not what we do in Young Life? We have a way and a style in our very DNA of communicating Jesus. Be natural, be who God created you to be and proclaim the person of Christ.
- “All we know about Him” — What is a great Young Life message? Telling kids about Jesus! Make sure He has the maximum “time of possession” in the talk. In other words, are we talking more about ourselves, or more about Jesus? Are we talking more about the woman at the well or the leper who was healed, or are we talking more about the Savior who met them?
- “Working at … with all the strength” — It seems to me that the evil one loves to get us off target, even slightly. Keep working at reaching lost kids for Jesus! Keep asking yourself, “Does it reach kids?”
As we hit the fall stride, clubs have been going for a couple of months, fall camps are in gear, and we begin to get busy with the fast-approaching holidays. It’s time to think KISS! (Keep It Super Simple). Look at what is transpiring in your ministry. Ask yourself, “Does it reach kids?” Thank you for doing what you are doing in this great mission! You ARE making a difference!