Photo via Tomodo89
I love my community because on Mondays I get to sing Taylor Swift songs. That statement might raise a few questions in your mind.
Which T. Swift song is your favorite? Mean.
Can’t you always sing her songs? Yes, yes I can and I do. I mean really, they’re so catchy.
Why does a 20-something guy sing Taylor Swift songs and why is he not scared to admit it? Well, since you asked, I proudly sing Taylor Swift songs because it lets me share Jesus with some pretty incredible high school kids. You see, high schoolers love Taylor Swift (including the guys they just don’t want to admit it). That’s why when you show up at Young Life on Monday night odds are pretty good you will hear at least one of her songs. They’re catchy, easy to sing a long with and describe so well that angst and emotion we all feel or have felt as a high school kid. Her songs break down walls and open doors. In that moment we get to share real life built on the common bond of the emotion in the song.
I’m not saying we want to share Jesus as an onslaught of emotions but rather we’re creating common ground. We’re sharing an experience. We’re earning the right to be heard. Yes, in a small way, Taylor Swift helps us earn the right to share Jesus. I’m not the only 20-something guy in my community who loves T. Swift for this reason and we’re certainly not the only community that can relate to this.
Day 23 of 31: Why do I love my community? Taylor Swift.
I love Young Life. I have led Young Life for 4 years, gone to several camps, done summer staff twice, and I even met my future wife through Young Life. I can’t get enough Young Life.
More than the amazing camps, more than the hilarious skits, more than cool t-shirts, I love Young Life because of the people. You will never meet a better group of people than Young Life leaders. I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a group of Young Life leaders who love high school students better and leak Jesus more than anyone I know (It’s not a contest, but if it were, they would win.)
Meet Jessica (in the orange).
Meet Spencer (dude with flour on his face).
Jessica and Spencer lead Young Life together at a local high school and they lead well. They never cease to amaze me in the ways they love Jesus and love their high school friends. You won’t find a day in their week where they aren’t hanging out or interacting with high school folks.
This weekend I got a greater glimpse of how much they make the Gospel the center of their lives instead of reducing it to something they do on monday night at YL club. Jessica and Spencer have truly given their lives to the Gospel and leading Young Life.
Take a look. Continue reading
The amount of (manly) life lessons to learn from being a Young Life leader is seemingly endless.
There is a lot to learn about leading people, loving others, having conversations, being vulnerable, organizing events, working in teams, and sacrifice.
Some of these lessons are learned quickly, but most take weeks, months, or even years.
Some of these lessons only apply to leading Young Life, but most apply to all areas of life.
One of the many lessons I have learned from the last 4 years is to show up.
This is a guest post by our good friend Karlie who we were fortunate enough to spend a week with at Young Life’s Timber Wolf Lake this summer.
In the past few weeks I have encountered a lot of change in my life. This summer I had the privilege to work at a Young Life camp with 18 other interns. For three months we served thousands of campers and formed tight bonds with each other. On August 15, camp ended, everyone left, and life drastically changed. A few other interns and I stayed to serve other groups that utilize the camp in the off-season, but nothing was the same. Even the weather seemed to change seasons overnight.
Yesterday I traveled from northern woods Michigan to big city Wisconsin and life flipped upside down again. My stomach turns at the thought of all the uncertainties that lie in my days ahead. I’ll be moving into a house off campus for the first time, start my last semester of college, and after that, I have zero plans.
The question that continues to run through my head is, why do we dislike change so much? We are constantly the in the midst of change, whether that be big or small. Yet somehow we are still fearful of it. I don’t know the answer to this question, but I find comfort in knowing there is one thing in life that is always the same.
No matter what changes we encounter, the Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. We have nothing to fear knowing that our lives are in His hands. So then the question must turn to, what do we have to fear? When life slaps us in the face and we find ourselves in a season of change, we need to throw fear out the window and search for what God wants to teach us in that moment.
- What changes are you facing today?
- What has God taught you through a season of change?
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[GUEST POST] by Spencer Cope.
Follow @SpencerCope & check out his blog Jackets and Plaques
As Americans, our lives are spent seeking out comfort. We become centered on how comfortable we can become. We chase this feeling so we are not left feeling vulnerable. We create scenarios and questions to judge how comfortable we are.
- How much money can I make for my family to be comfortable?
- How comfortable am I with my friendships, relationships, etc?
- Am I comfortable with how I look physically?
Once you have reached your goal of being comfortable, what is next? You establish an idea of what being comfortable looks like, but once you reach it, where do you go from there? Is there room for growth when you are comfortable?
Being comfortable is accepting the status quo.
When you become comfortable you become stagnant.
This is what happens when you become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Picture Credit: vimeo.com
Whether you have been leading Young Life for 25 years or 25 days, I am guessing you have set foot on the campus of a local high school.
I would also bet that you have gone to a sporting event and done what 99% of adults would never ever ever ever (Taylor Swift anyone?) do: hangout with students in the student section (gasp!)
Let’s be honest, being in the student section is awkward. I don’t care how funny, outgoing, or confident you are, it’s uncomfortable when a teenager gives you the why-are-you-here stare.
It seems students have a enhanced ability to recognize who doesn’t belong in the student section and they are not shy about letting people know.
In four years of leading I have had countless confused students ask me directly, “Why are you here?”
I am luckier than most leaders because some people still mistake me for a high school student. However, the awkwardness begins when the students slowly realize I am 23 and not a high school student. We all experience this out-of-place-ness because whether we are 19 with a baby face or 45 with a man-beard, we will always be out of place standing in the student section. No one can escape all the puzzled gazes asking, “Why are you here?”
Whether it comes from students, teachers, coaches, parents, or administration, it seems Young Life leaders can’t escape this question.
“Why are you here?”
“Why are you here?”
“Why are you here?”
Maybe that’s a good thing!
It’s that time of year again, summer is ending and the school year is kicking off.
Young Life leaders all over the country are diving into fall sporting events.
On Friday I went to my first football game of the year (just like many of you).
As I entered the stadium I was overwhelmed with a sense of familiarity and excitement.
It was familiar because I have been leading at the same school for four years. I have parked in the same parking lot, gone through the same gate, and walked towards the same student section of the bleachers.
It was exciting because this football games marks the beginning of a new school year: new students, new friendships, new activities, new adventures, new possibilities. There are so many new and exciting things that will happen this year which will make this year unlike any other.
As the band played emphatically I took a deep breath and a minute to stop and look around. I tried to soak up the moment which marked another school year and a new season of Young Life.