This Year: Lessons I learned & learning right now (Part 1)

As I’ve done in the past, I’m writing a series of posts to capture a few things I’ve learned about leading Young Life and Wyldlife in the past year. I’m adding something new too. This year, I’m adding an extra section to include things I’m working on right now.

I also want to give a major and ongoing shout out to my buddy Drew Hill for winning the biggest award a Young Life author has ever won based upon its content. His book Alongside: Loving Teenagers with the Gospel won the 2019 Christian Book Award for Ministry Resource of the Year – that is a big deal. So, with each post I’m highlighting a few posts from the Young Life Leader Blog that I found helpful – I think you might too.

I learned… Eleven students = the average size of a camp trip

Two months ago, I posted that clubs bring 11 kids to camp (on average). The motivation for the post was in response to the enormous amount of failure many of my YL and WL leader friends and staff feel. You can read more in the original post HERE.

I received dozens, if not hundreds, of emails, text messages, direct messages, phone calls, and face-to-face comments saying “thank you for saying that.” I even had several people say “wow, you went there.” Truth should set us free.

I hope that the reality of what might seem to be “small” camp trips in our mission frees you to think less about any “empty seats” or “empty beds” in the coming weeks and more about “who is in the seat.”

I’m learning… Lunch club is quietly taking over YL and WL

I mentioned in passing that I noticed a quiet and undiscussed trend in our mission that many clubs are moving towards doing “lunch club.” Lunch club is a version of club that is done at the school during lunch. I have been scrambling to piece together the “why” and the “how” of lunch club all year. Here is an update…

Many people are doing lunch club for a combination of reasons: 1) transportation issues, 2) kids are busier than ever after school with sports, clubs, homework, and jobs, 3) the traditional club model is not as big of a draw as it was in the past, 4) lunch club can double as contact work, 5) lunch club naturally attracts and includes many more students than night club (especially if free food is involved). One staff person I know told me his entire region(!) does nothing but lunch clubs right now!

Lunch club is not rocket science: 1) students get approval from the school per their policies to form a club that meets at lunch, 2) adhere to all the regulations carefully, 3) do YL/WL club type things at lunch (often involving free food). There are lots of questions that bubble-up about the depth of relationships, leader availability, when to (or not to) hand out free food (and which food to bring; and how to pay for it), what a talk looks like at lunch, how to translate lunch involvement into non-lunch involvement (campaigners, camp, other contact work, night club, etc.).

I think I have a good grasp of the “why” behind lunch club, but I’m still learning the “how.” I have connected online off-and-on with a group of people across the country to discuss lunch clubs. If you are interested in joining this discussion, let me know (shoot me your name, area, and email address).

YL Leader Blog Highlight…

Like I said above, I’m super proud of my buddy Drew and all the good work he and his team have done. Below are two posts from the last year on his blog that I really appreciated, I hope you do too!

Questions To Help Your Young Life Team Evaluate & Celebrate The Year

10 Questions to Ask Graduating Seniors

Resources for the Summer…

If you haven’t planned your camp follow-up, graduation or leader gifts yet, you may know that I have written a bunch of resources with you in mind. Here are some suggestions:

Young Life Post-Camp Campaigners

Cabin Time Continued (YLHelp)

Mark in a Month (Amazon / YLHelp for bulk)

Wyldlife Post-Camp Campaigners

WyldQuestions  (YLHelp)

Mark in a Month (Amazon / YLHelp for bulk)

Further Follow-Up

Live Like This (Amazon / YLHelp for bulk)

New Testament in a Year (Amazon / YLHelp for bulk)

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