"With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus." — Luke 1:3
"When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done." — Luke 9:10
"When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them." — Acts 15:4
Reporting on what has happened is part of the fabric of what it means to be involved in the Lord's mission. Dr. Luke, who authored both Luke and Acts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, did so because he wanted to present an orderly account of the life of Christ and the beginning of the church. When Jesus sent out His apostles, they returned and reported to Him. And, from time to time, the earliest missionaries (e.g., Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15) returned from their journeys to keep the rest of the leadership informed and encouraged.
In that spirit, I'd like you to see this article as a group of men and women who are on a quest to introduce more kids to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith, coming to you and reporting what has transpired over the last year.
But first a little background. In the past, I have mentioned Reaching a World of Kids. That is an initiative which we in Young Life believe has been given to us by God and which is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we didn't believe this, we would never engage in it because it is overwhelming in its scope. The goal is to double the number of kids we reach each year from one million (our base line in 2008-09) to two million a year in just seven years. Why do we want to grow so fast?
Because there are so many lost kids around the world who need to hear the life-changing and liberating news that Jesus loves them, that He died for their sins, and that He wants to give them abundant life now and eternal life forever. We are involved in a life-and-death struggle for kids who deserve to hear the Good News of Jesus.
Reaching a World of Kids focuses on three main components:
- Leadership Development
- Sustaining and Starting Ministries
- Camp Impact
And there are two other key factors in this vision:
- Volunteer leaders. We know that to reach two million kids a year, we need at least 80,000 volunteers.
- Seed money to fuel these efforts. The cost: $260 million — the largest campaign we've ever undertaken.
We've almost completed year one of this seven-year journey and we, like Paul and Barnabas, have come to you with a report that is both strong and encouraging.
- Last year, we increased the number of kids we reached by almost 100,000 and went over the 1.1 million mark, a gain of almost 10 percent. This is beyond anything we imagined in the first year and we are so thankful that many more kids had a chance to hear about the life-changing relationship they can have with Jesus.
- Volunteer leaders increased by almost 9 percent.
- Our Texas Latino Initiative, which comprises four places in Texas where one million Latino kids live (Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley), is off to a stunning start.
- Our Developing Global Leaders program (where we scholarship university students in Third World countries who are mentored by Young Life leaders and required to minister in a Young Life club in their country) was a success. We had 96 students in the first year of the program and will have another 100 enrolled in the new college year.
- Camping will involve significantly more kids. We are finishing one new camp in the United States which will open next year, planning to build another one in the United States and three in Europe.
- More than $61 million was given by generous donors toward the $260 million mark.
- And at the foundation of all of this is a concentrated prayer strategy as we seek to fulfill what we believe God has called us to do.
If you'd like more specific information on Reaching a World of Kids, please visit www.younglife.org/RWOK. In the meantime, continue to pray and watch God at work.