Over the summer I normally try to post a couple things that I learned over the previous school year. If you want see the series as it has developed over lots of years then click here. 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
This year we worked to focus on two things in new ways, discipleship and contact work. I began a while back by asking people what they were doing to improve at contact work. From there I went and geeked-out by setting up a way to get everyone tracking their contact work via their phone, a system which would then update everyone on their team that they did contact work as a friendly reminder. Then, in our monthly area leadership meetings, we planned fun ways to highlight people knocking out of the park with their contact work and came up with games to get everyone thinking more about contact work.
Did this revolutionize contact work in our area? No. Did we improve and raise the bar, absolutely. One leader logged over 140 instances of contact work over the course of 7 months! Will we keep using this system? Not sure. It might be better to use every 2-3 years as a way to refocus people and add a little caffeine boost in reaching out to students.
I strongly believe that the most important and unique part of our work in YL is contact work. Club, campaigners, camp… are all available in slightly modified forms in my community through other ministries (youth group, Bible study, different camps), and for this I am super thankful. But, in my 20 years of leading in this area, I can tell you that virtually no one has a sustained effort to go where kids are at in my community in the name of Jesus.
A veteran YL friend told me an old story of when YL was first explained to some people in Germany, who also happened to be prominent theologians. After hearing the vision and method of YL, these people tried to come up with a word or phrase in German which would be a good translation of “Young Life” to explain it to others in Germany. What these people decided was that they would just call the group “Contact Work” because they thought that was the essential essence of what they had just heard.
I am glad to be part of our organization of “Contact Work” and would love any ideas of how to do it better, send them my way!
If you have a second and need a laugh, here is a fun 2min contact work video I found today.