From the President

Do you believe in miracles? Think God is still doing miracles today? Have you seen any?

I’ve asked myself the same questions and concluded I do believe in miracles, God is still at work and I’ve seen some of His results!

They may not be quite the same as the parting of the Red Sea or when Jesus fed more than 5,000. But I can attest God is still doing miracles as He changes the lives of kids and us.

Right now, I’m overwhelmed with what He’s doing in Young Life. Many of these miracles are occurring in the midst of a seven-year initiative we began six years ago called Reaching a World of Kids (RWOK).

We sensed God calling us to take a huge step of faith and pursue kids with more intensity and a greater vision. We believed God was calling us, leading us and shaping what He’d like us to do. Before we began we shared this vision and invited people to join the team. We also set some concrete goals and shared them openly with staff, volunteers and friends of the mission.
  • ​We believed God wanted us to double the number of kids we were impacting each year. In 2009 that number was about one million kids a year. We’d know these kids by name; we’d be involved in their lives for Jesus’ sake. They would be prayed for and pursued. What had taken the mission 68 years (impacting one million kids a year), we wanted to do in just seven more.
  • We believed God wanted us to more than double the number of volunteer leaders to 80,000.​
  • We wanted to get to 8,000 ministry locations.
  • And we believed the Lord wanted us to encourage Young Life investors to give $260 million for starting new ministries, reaching more kids, camp scholarships and new camps, leadership development, etc. We believed these gifts would be in addition to the annual operating funds He would provide for us in local areas and regions.
​In the midst of RWOK, I came across a quote from William Carey, one of the great missionaries in the 1700s, who was rallying the church to take missions more seriously. His text was from Isaiah 54:2-3. His theme: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” From the very beginning of RWOK we knew the goals were too great for us. But we believed we were called and empowered and we moved ahead.

We’ve experienced miracles. With a year to go in the initiative, we’re already impacting 1.9 million kids per year. That means each year, 900,000 more kids have been given the opportunity to respond to Christ. Lord willing, we’ll hit our goal in 2016. We now have over 68,000 volunteer leaders and committee members. We’re in 7,000 ministry locations. The Lord has given us over $275 million toward our $260 million goal with a year to go.

And miracles? Yes! We’ve seen the Lord open doors in closed cultures so kids can be reached. We now have ministry in 95 countries. We’ve seen tough kids soften as they meet Jesus. We’ve watched God give us the best staff and leaders in the world. Some, particularly in the international arena, never knew about Young Life. But they had “Young Life DNA” and seemed to be waiting for us to arrive.

We have a year to go on RWOK. But we won’t stop when the seven years are over. There is a river of adolescents flowing through the world and we want to be in the water fishing for kids who are lost. Because as our founder Jim Rayburn said years ago, “The best Young Life work is yet to be done.”