We Were Made for This

It was and is the defining factor. That our identity is not about what the world thinks about us, but what God thinks about us. Because of that, we can live in the freedom that He made us and delights in us, and wants us to be agents of justice and mercy in the world.” These are the words of Young Life Alumnus and Friend, Drew Holcomb, when asked how his faith impacts his life. If you stop and consider Drew’s full-time work, his answer is all the more significant. In a fall, 2012 article in Young Life Relationships magazine, Lead Editor Jeff Chesemore introduces Drew and Ellie Holcomb like this: “Their band, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, which also includes Rich Brinsfield, Nathan Dugger and Jon Radford, has enjoyed the kind of success other musicians dream about. They regularly sell out shows in venues around the country, their latest album “Chasing Someday” debuted on the Billboard 200, their single “Live Forever” was used in the NBA’s kickoff commercial, and their music has been featured in shows like ParenthoodHouse and Oprah. Furthermore, Ellie’s EP “Magnolia” reached #1 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts.” What follows is the rest of my recent interview with Drew.


How did you become involved with Young Life?

My first memory of Young Life is Trail West [Young Life’s family camp in Colorado]. My parents were on committee for as long as I can remember, so Young Life was always a part of my life. Starting my freshman year, we began having club in our living room for my high school. So it’s hard to remember a time when I was not involved with Young Life in some capacity. 


How did you come to follow Jesus?

For me, I believed in Jesus from childhood, but it [really hit me] with the tragedy of losing my younger brother, Jay, when I was 17. Through that heartache, I developed a real desire to follow Christ. It seems that it takes suffering for some people to see the need and the richness of God’s love offered through His Son, and that was the case with me. 


What were the most impactful experiences you had with Young Life and/or Young Life leaders?

My Young Life leader, Barry Jenkins, has been a volunteer leader for more than 30 years, and he invested a lot in me. We both love music and can talk about how songs tell stories better than anything else. He always said, “Follow me as I follow Jesus,” which is something I have carried with me. I also grew up as a camper and then as a summer staff horse wrangler at Frontier Ranch, and some of my favorite life memories were there. 


You have had great success in the past few years. In the midst of this, do you still find time to be involved with Young Life?

Young Life is such a huge part of our success that it would be foolish for us to not stay involved. It is our family, and you always make time for your family, no matter how busy you are. 


How have you been involved with Young Life?

I was a leader for two years at my old high school after college. Now Ellie and I serve on the Nashville committee, which we love. We also have done nine summer assignments in the past seven years and more than 40 weekend camps.


Why are you an advocate of the Young Life mission today?

I don’t think there’s a better way to reach the hearts of young people with the love of God than the way Young Life does it. Going to the kids, becoming a part of their lives, that is the way of Jesus. Young life leaders love without expectations. 


If you were talking to someone considering involvement with Young Life in some way, what would you say to them?

I would say two things. First,I have never met anyone who regrets their investment with Young Life, whether it is time, money, or personal relationships. Second, go to camp for a weekend or a week and just watch. You will never be the same. 


Random, totally optional, question … If you were to write a song encompassing your experiences with Young Life, what might it be titled?
“We were made for this.”

Drew and Ellie, thanks for your ongoing partnership in the Young Life mission, and the excellent manner in which you represent the values and goals of this mission. If you would like to check out Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors’ most recent title track (for free), click here and enjoy! If you have ideas for other stories, or alumni we should be in contact with, we invite you to email us at alumni@sc.younglife.org.