Belonging Before Believing

From the Fall 2010 issue of Relationships magazine.

While just another day to most students, the organization sign-up day at Grays Harbor College in Washington was a pivotal moment in Jorey Phelps' life. Walking through the different club offerings, he came upon the Young Life College booth and recognized some of the leaders from his days at Hoquiam High School. While he didn't come out to club much in high school, he had a familiarity with the leaders and knew Young Life to be a safe group, and signed the interest sheet. After talking with the leaders there, Jorey spun around, approached the booth directly across from Young Life College's and also signed up ... for the Atheist club.

After a month of faithfully attending both clubs, Jorey stopped going to the Atheist club. When Pat Farmer, the area director, asked him why, Jorey replied, "The Atheist club is just really angry and I got tired of it, so I'm just coming to Young Life College now. It's a lot more fun."

As the months passed, Jorey jumped into several of the different groups Young Life College offered. He started attending planning meetings, a small group on cooking, band practices and general hangout times. "Jorey was becoming immersed in the community of the group," Farmer said. "He was belonging before he ever believed in God."

In March, another leader, Tim Orrin, invited Jorey to come to church with him. At the end of the service there was an invitation for those who would like to begin a relationship with Christ. Jorey went forward, responding to the months of love and care he received from those around him.

"If it wasn't for these last four months of loving Jorey where he was at, he would never have gone with Tim to church," Farmer said. Jorey's life is indeed a new creation — from inviting his friends and older brother to Young Life College to putting the Bible on his iPod, to leaving the party scene to jumping with both feet into the community at the church. "With the Lord in my life I can do anything, but I don't do anything without my heavenly Father's consent."

Young Life College is custom made for kids like Jorey — kids who, for a number of reasons, may have never connected with Young Life in high school, or upon entering college are now beginning to ask questions on the subject of faith. Find out more about Young Life College.