Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you have anything you learned from last year that you would like to tell me about, send it my way smcgever (at) pv dot younglife dot org.
In my first few years of leadership in YL and WL I realized that I had a great responsibility on my shoulders. The relational bridge that we build with students will often invite them into whatever we offer them. I recall one night after giving a club talk at my WL club thinking, “I think I could talk them almost into anything.” This was not a prideful thought, it was actually an incredibly humbling and somewhat terrifying thought. Fortunately I had done a talk on Jesus and his love, but I realized if I told my club, and particularly my close club guys… “follow Buddha”, they might just do that. As the old adage goes, if I told them to jump off a cliff, I bet they would have considered it. From that moment on I committed myself to carefully study the scriptures for many reasons, not the least of which was to point my YL and WL students to Christ as clearly as possible.
This started with a commitment to read the entire Bible, as well as taking Sunday school classes at my church, including theology. Fast-forward to today and I have benefited from YL’s excellent seminary level training and have completed two masters degrees in theology as well as being a part-time adjunct professor of theology at a local university. In my local area I’ve sensed a growing hunger for scripture and a foundation for their faith. For many years the majority of our leaders have been engaged in our annual One Year New Testament reading, and some have also done the One Year Bible (OT & NT).
This year we added a six week class on church history for those involved in leadership and at least a senior in high school or older. It involved homework, note taking, quizzes, etc. I threw it out there and we had a strong response and a great time working through the material. We will likely do it again and add a hermeneutics class sometime next year.
This sort of thing may not be a good fit or even a need for many areas, but I have a sense that there might be more desire, capacity, and even need, for this sort of thing to equip our amazing volunteers in YL. Whether it comes through church Sunday school classes, a partnership with a local pastor or college professor to teach this, or a knowledgeable staff person or volunteer, it may be worth giving it a shot!