Passages

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John Clifford "Cliff" Anderson

June 6, 1940 - July 4, 2012

Cliff Anderson, longtime Young Life staff, is with his Savior after a courageous battle with cancer. He leaves behind a long and profound legacy of relational ministry through Young Life.

Cliff first encountered Young Life when he was a teacher in a suburb of Chicago. Visiting his first club with other teachers, he met the speaker, Bill Starr (who would later become Young Life's second president). Soon after that meeting, he became a volunteer leader for the next eight years before becoming the area director in northern Chicago. He later served as regional director of the Indiana/Michigan region from 1978 to 1988.

In 1988 he came to Colorado Springs to make the city a separate Young Life region. Eventually his responsibilities turned more toward training. He became interim director for the Institute of Youth Ministry in 1993 and then training director of Continuing Education. Named vice president of Training in 2000, Cliff remained in this post until his retirement in 2006.

Cliff's achievements are many. He provided key leadership for many of Young Life's specialized ministries — including Capernaum, Young Lives and WyldLife — and he helped develop the Student Leadership Project for high-school students. Cliff served as chairman of the board for The Dale House Project in Colorado Springs, provided leadership in Young Life's German Church Partnership, and was involved in an ongoing dialogue with the Catholic Church about best practices in youth ministry. He developed Young Life's partnerships with many seminaries and was instrumental in establishing the Fuller Seminary extension program in Colorado Springs, where he taught classes as an adjunct professor.

Cliff served until 2006 when he officially retired but, of course, unofficially did not. Since then, Cliff continued to be involved in a variety of ways as part-time staff and volunteer. He last was working on a history project lending his 50 years of experience to telling the Young Life story. He also provided a listening ear and served as a compassionate counselor to staff and volunteers. At our Service Center, I'd see Cliff pop into this office, then that one, talking with staff. Fifty years of service. A long obedience in the same direction. And I was privileged to walk with him for 19 of those 50 years.

One of the questions on Cliff's original Young Life employment application was: ‘How long do you anticipate working for the Young Life Campaign if accepted?' His answer was, ‘Forever.' Cliff Anderson fulfilled his contract. And because he did, Young Life and all of us will never be the same. — Denny Rydberg, president

 


Jim Shelton

Nov. 13, 1930 - Aug. 1, 2012

Jim Shelton, a legend in this mission who served on Young Life staff for more than 40 years, passed into the arms of Jesus on Aug. 1, 2012. His roles included area director in San Jose, Berkeley, and La Canada, Calif.; regional director in Southern California; running the Fuller Seminary/Young Life Training Institute for a decade, and speaking 18 summers in a row while on assignment at Malibu Club. After retiring from Young Life, he served on the Gold Coast and Central California regional committee, and trained staff and volunteer leaders in how to proclaim the Gospel to kids. Shelton leaves behind his wife, Anne, seven children, 14 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Jim Shelton had an uncommon appreciation for the Incarnation, and he could hardly talk about it without tears. He taught us to ‘have this attitude in yourselves that was in Jesus Christ, who, though He was God did not cling to His privileged position, but emptied Himself ...' The first training I ever had in proclaiming the Gospel was a day with Jim, sitting at a picnic table at Oakbridge. That was almost 25 years ago, and I can still remember the stories, the examples and the lessons he shared. He was one of the most powerful Gospel-tellers I have ever encountered, and most of anything that I do in sharing the good news stems from his influence over the years. Finally, Jim was a passionate San Francisco Giants fan, and it's no surprise, because he was one ... a giant of a man. — Scott Lisea, former Gold Coast regional director and current volunteer with Young Life in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Jim's life touched and transformed our lives, and helped expand the kingdom of God. I get teary thinking of the foundational impact that Jim had on me, and on our 41 years of ministry, spawned by his Spirit-filled teaching and modeling. Not a day goes by that I don't use the Incarnational, servant lifestyle Jim ingrained in us. He was such an inspiration to me. Jim was always a fan, of sports, and of you and me. He has now joined that crowd of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) who are looking down on us, praying for us and cheering us on. ‘Lord, help me to live a life worthy of the love and time that Jim invested in me.' — Randy Giusta, senior area director, San Diego North Coast