In Hugh's World

His resumé is impressive. And — as long as we’re understating issues — he’s a big fan of Young Life.

To borrow from the back sleeve of his most recent book, In, But Not Of: “Hugh Hewitt is the host of The Hugh Hewitt Show, a nationally syndicated radio talk show ... (and) the author of three previous books, one of which was the companion volume to the 1996 eight-part PBS series hosted by Hewitt, Searching for God in America. Hewitt has won three Emmys for his work on PBS Los Angeles affiliate KCET’s nightly news and public affairs program Life and Times Tonight ...”

Anyone with so many italicized titles associated with his name must be important. And the dedication page of Hewitt’s latest book earns him another set of slanted letters: Relationships, 2003. Hewitt uses his dedication page to hitch Young Life’s wagon to his ever-rising star and gives the mission a lift: “…for the staff and volunteers of Young Life, an organization dedicated to all young people. Learn about it at /. Support it.”

In, But Not Of is directed primarily at young adults who are in the process of plotting their career courses. And though the book winds through 212 pages of sage advice on everything from choosing schools to avoiding tattoos, the pull of Hewitt’s compass is consistently clear. Due north is always Jesus Christ.

Still, Hewitt strategically keeps his compass in his back pocket when he’s on the air. So the hundreds of thousands of listeners from 50 markets nationwide might not realize where they’re headed if they consistently follow Hewitt. His show is like a Young Life club for the politically inclined. It makes you laugh, it makes you think, it makes you feel warmly welcomed. It’s couched in the culture, it always draws a crowd, and the bumper music is the best. And if you listen long enough, you may start to wonder what really moves this man.

In Young Life, this intentional process is called “winning the right to be heard.” In his book, Hewitt calls it “earning influence.” For the past three years, Hewitt has been using his hard-earned influence to support and promote Young Life. Introduced to the organization by a friend, Hewitt serves on a regional and area committee in southern California, and looks for every opportunity to expand the impact of the mission. In addition to organizing fundraisers, Hewitt frequently mentions Young Life on his radio show, links it front and center on his Web page, helps area directors network within his broadcast markets and promotes the mission across the country when he speaks.

“It’s such an easy appeal,” he said. “You can tell an audience that the most effective ministry is under their nose and that they’ll see the results in their own community if they’ll support it.”

On page 100 of In, But Not Of, Hewitt challenges his readers to “put your biggest problems in the center of the table. Put the hardest issue at the top of the agenda.”

The biggest problem with publishing an article about Hewitt in Relationships is the fact that he’s a political talk show host. Accordingly, he put that problem at the center of the table at the outset of his interview by voicing his concern. He didn’t want to offend any members of the Young Life team with his political opinion. So we simply followed his instructions from page 98: “The toughest puzzles are solved first, allowing the limits imposed by those solutions to define the boundaries of the possible.”

We live within our limits in Young Life. Whether Hewitt leans right or left is not our business. Only that his compass is set due north. And in that case, everything becomes possible — even unity among opposing political parties when it comes to reaching kids for Jesus Christ.

For more information, contact Hewitt at HughHewitt.com.