Sometimes I fear people's perception of Young Life. I believe in this ministry and community with my whole heart and I want other people to be part of it. Unfortunately, the message that's communicated isn't always an accurate picture of what we're about.
I was talking to a friend the other day that goes to a different school. I asked her if she had ever gone to Young Life there and she told me, "Well, the YL at my school is kind of different. They're really exclusive and they don't want new people to come." It broke my heart. I don't doubt she feels that way, but I know the YL area she's talking about. The kids and leaders there are fantastic people who love God and want more people to be included. Somehow, this girl has gotten the wrong message.
In response to that conversation, I asked some of my Young Life friends to finish the sentence, "The thing I wish everyone know about Young Life is..." I believe their answers are authentic-- this is a real picture of what the kids believe and want their peers to know. I hope these things are what we're always communicating.
"It is my favorite place to be. I love the energy and leaders. Young Life is for everyone. I love being part of it." -Maddie H
"You don't have to have a strong relationship with Jesus to come. Everyone deserves to be a part of the Young Life community, regardless of where you are on your walk with Him." -Olivia K
"We aren't here to change you, we are here to open your eyes." -Rachel B
"It's not just for the 'popular' kids. When I invite people who have never been they are usually reluctant because feel that they are not of that social status and that makes me sad. Young Life is a place for all people-- no matter your friend group, age or anything else." -Hannah S
"No matter if you are religious or not, Young Life is one of the best times of my life whether I'm at Camp, Club or Campaigners. It's a place where you can be friends with people you may never talk to otherwise. It helps you not only with your relationship with Christ, but also with all the people around you." -Savannah H
"There is absolutely no judging. Anyone and everyone is accepted no matter what differences or mistakes they've made." -David
"A lot of people have the wrong impression that they will be judged if they go to Young Life and that's completely untrue." -Anne
"Everyone is welcome here. It doesn't matter where you're at in your relationship with God, what decisions you're making on the weekends, or who you hang out with. People don't judge you here and it's a safe place to just authentically be yourself without being afraid of what people will think." -Julia D
"Young Life is for everyone." -Haleigh
"You are not alone. Don't be embarrassed to express your faith or feelings. God is the greatest and most important thing to have in your life. He will always be with you no matter what. No one at YL will judge you, just like God. Everyone is family and they love you no matter who you are." -Ben W
"Young Life is all about God and you become closer to Him, but that's not the only thing you grow closer to. You make amazing relationships with so many people. You make friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. I have met so many people that I never would have met otherwise." -Meric
"Everybody is always welcome." -Audrey
"You don't have to go to church or know a lot about God to come. You go to learn about Him. You just come as you are and you are loved." -Julia W
"You are accepted at Young Life no matter who you are or what you believe in." -Julia P
"It's a judge free zone where you can meet a ton of new people and express yourself in different ways while creating a better relationship with God." -Cami
"Everyone is loving, welcoming and willing to listen. It's easy to open up or to just take things in. It can change your life in ways you'd never expect." -Kara S
"Everyone is always invited. It can change your life in the best way." -Genna
"Considering I've only been to Young Life twice, and I don't know very much about it, I do know that it's a great community of people who are amazing. Everyone is going to welcome you and accept you. I guess I want people to know that you shouldn't feel like you aren't going to feel welcomed or that you you wouldn't belong. Everyone is great. I had the wrong idea before I came and it was completely the opposite." -Will
"You can meet new friends and grow closer to God. No one is judged at Young Life." -Silvana
"It inspires people to become better and to make better decisions." -Lucy
"It's such an easy way to start your walk with Christ. Whether you have no clue who Jesus is or you've been a former Christian and have strayed away a little bit, it can lead you down the path you want to go down. It really fuels a passion for Jesus." -Cassidy