From the President

When I reflect on reaching all kids by earning the right to share the good news of Jesus Christ — two words come to my mind: broad and slow.

I admit I tend to lift up and appreciate just the opposite: narrow (focused) and fast (efficient). Hmmm. What might the Lord be telling us here?

First, He is telling us to go against many of our natural tendencies. In terms of reaching all kids, He is telling us to not gravitate just to people like us, which, of course, is our inclination. As someone once told me: “Unless you consciously include people who are different than you, you will subconsciously exclude them.”

In the Kingdom of God, all peoples are included. In Genesis 12:2-3 (ESV), the LORD said to Abraham: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing … and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Italics mine)

In Revelation 7:9-11, John says: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb … and crying out … ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb’!” (Again, italics mine)

Seems pretty clear, doesn’t it? We could go through nearly every book of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and see God’s heart of redemption extending to all types of people. That is the heart of Young Life, too. We want to “reach and teach” all kids with the gospel of Jesus Christ. All abilities. All socio-economic classes. All cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The Lord wants us to move boldly into uncomfortable places while finding innovative ways of telling young people about His amazing love.

Did you know … ?

  • We minister to more orphans on the continent of Africa than almost any other ministry?
  • In Bangalore, India, we are ministering to kids in some of the poorest slums on the planet?
  • We reach kids in the wealthiest neighborhoods in big cities across the U.S., Europe and Asia?
  • In Southern California we have teams reaching foster kids and homeless kids with the gospel?
  • We reach kids around the world through Club Beyond, Young Life’s ministry to military teens?
  • We are fast becoming one of the largest ministry organizations in the U.S. with kids with disabilities, and also teen moms? 
We love them all with the love of Jesus. Our hearts ache to see them know their Savior, and find purpose and direction in Him. Young Life is “beautifully broad” because the Kingdom God is lovingly establishing is “beautifully broad.”

All Kids — Reaching adolescents of every ability and all economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds ​through innovative approaches.

Earning the right to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
OK, how about “slow?” Most of us don’t like slow. In our society we like “fast everything.” Like many, I can get frustrated when slowed down by traffic, poor service at a restaurant, a delayed flight and so on.

We see God’s slow way throughout Scripture. Jesus chose only 12. He walked, talked and ate with them; He served and sacrificed for them, and became their friend, even unto the cross.

When we earn the right to share the good news, we are modeling Jesus’ slow way of building His Kingdom. One person, one friendship at a time. It seems, as the Agent of all creation, Jesus is aware of how we are made, and what our deepest needs are. And, our best way of making that deep reality evident to kids is by getting to know them, and letting them know us.

This is not fast work. It cannot be efficiently cranked out like potato chips on some production line. Young people are wonderfully created image bearers of the Most High God who need someone to walk alongside them, listen to them and tell them they are worth way more than this world often tells them — because they belong to a God who loves them very much.

So, earning the right to share the gospel is the way Jesus did it. It’s not just “so good;” it’s “slow good!”

Yes, Young Life is “beautifully broad” and “slow good.” Let’s stay that way, as we follow the “author and perfecter of our faith,” Jesus Himself.