The Record of Events

Ask Darrin and Yvonne Murphy about raising their support (with a 2-year-old boy and baby on the way) and moving to Columbus, Ind., to start Young Life. Alone. Without a committee.

It’s not easy.

Imagine their relief when, months later, an unfamiliar couple named Paul and Amy Hartstirn contacted them and said, “We want to partner with you and lighten your load. How can we help?”

It’s been almost a year since their initial meeting. What follows here are entries from the jounral Paul has kept of milestones and migraines as the Hartstirns have “locked arms together in this ministry,” building and leading a Young Life committee, not because they were qualified, but because they were called.

December 2001 Casting seed on cement — Generating interest in Young Life

Resistance. I’ve watched kids who I’ve taken on mission trips become spiritually unplugged. There has to be a better way of making Christ real to teenagers. Young Life is it. If we can just convince the adults.

February 2002 What’s in a name — Committee recruitment

Committee work is a misnomer. It should be more like committee fun. Knowing that a

committee person can go to his regular job by day, make a few bucks for the boss, then go home and work for the Lord — Wow! What an opportunity to invest in eternity. Joining with like-minded adults to change the lives of teenagers is rewarding — and sobering. If we mess up, the consequences may also be eternal.

March 2002 The frozen chosen — Our first committee meeting

Winter weather advisories, closed schools and ice-covered roads did not stop Newt and Ann Crenshaw, Regional Committee Effectiveness Trainers, from driving four hours to attend our first meeting. Nothing stopped the faithful servants. They told us about commitment to more than just a “committee.” We are on a mission. It’s not about our kids. It’s about every kid.

April 2002 Care and feeding of the area director — Real committee work

Young Life leaders are busy mending and patching hurt teens, so committee people need to build up leaders, to refresh and replenish them. Mrs. Area Director is essential to the local effort. Don’t underestimate her critical role. We take “lunch” to Yvonne Sunday nights when she works second shift in Intensive Care. Looking for simple committee work, we found opportunities to mentor and counsel. And our first experience as grandparents. We fell in love with our area director’s kids. Talk about joy.

April 2002 And the pitch is … good! — The banquet

When only the roughest committee was in place, we had the banquet. About 200 people turned out. Program was great. Everything came together. Financial results were about the same as last year, but many new donors gave — even some who only learned about Young Life that night.

May 2002 Still the workers are few — Building the committee

The key to a great committee is recruiting people to serve who are committed. Having a healthy number of people who are enthusiastic once a month doesn’t go very far. Seems odd to have plenty of folks serving and still desperately need more.

June 2002 Tonight! (YES, TONIGHT!!) — Club for Dad

The pull to club is almost to make up for one of my greatest regrets — not being involved with something like Young Life as a teen when I needed it most. It is like trying to insert a missing part, missing for 25 years.

June 2002 And He called them by name — Camp

We had four boys from a “boys home,” kids removed from their homes by the courts (parent AND kid issues). These guys came to play pool at our club room, some refusing to join the rest of the kids when club started. One leader made a point to nail down the names and faces of each guy. When the leader started calling them by name, they were surprised, shocked and worried. Worried that the leader might be a police officer who knew their names? Who knows. The bottom line is that before long all these guys ended up in the middle of club. Three went to camp and there made decisions for Christ. It all started with a leader calling them by name.

September 2002 Ready for some football? — Kickoff classic

Darrin and the leaders personally invited kids to the “Kickoff Classic.” Guys against girls in tackle football with the guys playing on their knees. Eighty kids turned out! Even a couple of Hispanic girls, whose families moved here from Mexico to work for the automotive suppliers in town. Another ministry need. So many opportunities. But we can barely reach the pedals now.

October 2002 Character counts — Your life is your testimony

As I look back, I see that life before committee is vital to life in the committee — the reputation, the relationships, what you have spent years building into friendships. People in the community watched as I cared for my terminally ill wife, buried her, raised my girls for two years, remarried and blended my new wife and daughters into our family of four. The Lord gave me strength and wisdom through it all, which gave the outward appearance that all these life-changing events were easy. The illusion of my capability built trust and respect into my community relationships. People trusted myjudgment, and when I said Young Life was something worth getting behind, folks listened. Everyone heard us out. We were not starting anything. Just joining God where He was already at work.

 

God is faithful. This year was a success: a banquet, kids who committed their lives to Christ at camp and club events that have drawn in kids. Still, there are constant challenges. “Committee, though united, is small,” Paul said. “And there are so many ministry opportunities. Just two more committed adults might fill the gap.”

What does it take to fill in the gap? The Hartstirns say they weren’t especially equipped for committee leadership. Now they are also invaluable to a staff family. “We can’t imagine life without them,” Darrin said. “They’re our family.”

A faithful couple endures the challenges of building a committee. They aren’t alone. This story is repeated many times in Young Life. The mission needs the prayers and support of ordinary people who want kids everywhere to know Christ.