I haven’t written or posted much on YLHelp because, well… I haven’t had much help to offer. The good people at YL Leader Blog have done the heavy lifting – thank you! I hope the reflection below might be helpful in one way or another.
Yesterday, I met with a potential leader for our third new leader training session. The topic was club. One of the assignments was to “visit a club.” Nope. Can’t do that. None are happening. Another assignment was to “review a club talk.” None of those either. In our community those, as we normally know them, haven’t happened in over a year.
I was excited.
Why? Because the training that I provide to new leaders is about the principles behind club, not the outward shell of club. I’m guessing you’ve been forced to think about the same things too.
You might know that every week every club has to report club and campaigner attendance to the national database for statistical tabulation. I dutifully enter ours every Friday afternoon. At first, we were provided detailed numerical strategies for how to calculate Instagram Live “club” data each week, but that season is about as old as the latest episode of The Tiger King.
As the dust settled on that season, I had to choose how to communicate to leaders at each of our nine clubs “what” club was during the pandemic. The frontline summary I gave to our valiant and busy volunteer senior leaders was this: club is when you open the Bible and tell kids about Jesus; campaigners is when you provide an opportunity for students to talk back about it.
Club: monologue about Jesus.
Campaigners: dialogue about Jesus.
Please check with your local area director, there are more details to consider. I’m sharing the part that matters most, maybe the only part that matters at all. Many of us enjoy the front-facing side of most common club elements (singing, games, themes, etc.) but this is just a front for the meat of club: proclaiming Jesus.
I’ve worked hard to try to “help” with both. YLHelp has lots of songs, games, themes, etc.; it also has dozens of hours of PhD-level informed biblical commentary and exegesis on every chapter of each gospel tailored for Young Life available on YouTube.
As I think about the next season we are all stepping back into, I encourage us all to do a sacred cow checkup. Do you need singing? No. Games? No. Mr. Christmas Tree? No. Theme clubs? No.
These elements of club merely setup the opportunity to proclaim Jesus – they can help, but we should evaluate them for their effectiveness on a case-by-case basis in our local communities.
The only required element of club is opening to a gospel passage and proclaiming Jesus. I urge you to get creative and radically reconsider what front-facing elements fit this generation, your community, and your strengths in order to proclaim Christ faithfully. I hope some sacred cows are sent to pasture and some are redeployed better than ever. The best Young Life is yet to be done, by no one else but you.