From the President

You’re Invited

METHOD #5: Inviting kids to personally respond to the good news and walking in friendship with them regardless of their response.

With great joy and intentionality, I have been writing about Young Life’s historic values and core methods over the past several months. I would like to focus on our fifth core method: “Inviting kids to personally respond to the good news and walking in friendship with them regardless of their response.”

Let’s unpack this beautiful method which, in many ways, defines who we are at the very center of our core.

Inviting: In Young Life, we are not demanding, coercing, compelling, guilt-tripping, strong-arming or otherwise pushing kids to do anything! We are simply and consistently showing up in their lives and inviting them to join us. Everybody loves to be invited somewhere with someone. Underneath this approach is the affirming message to young people: “You matter; you are somebody; we want to be with you.”

Personally respond to the good news: John 3:16 clearly lays out the good news we proclaim: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.” The good news about God’s love is made tangible in His Son’s sacrifice for us. Many young people, just as clearly as adults, see the brokenness in this world. They see it in society, in their schools, in their friendships and even in their families. They see it in their own souls. They know deep down they need a Savior. We invite them to personally respond to this truth about God’s love, Jesus’ sacrifice and their need. It’s not complex, but it is profound. And, it changes everything when Jesus enters a young person’s life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and then begins to transform them from the inside out. Kids meeting Jesus gets Young Life staffers, volunteers, committee members and donors out of bed every morning to do their very best and to give all they have.

Walking in friendship: I recently read a book suggesting God does have a speed — three miles per hour! That’s how fast Jesus walked when He was on earth. The God of the universe, incarnate in His Son, walked around and made friends with all kinds of people. He was never in a hurry, and had time for those in need. We want to be like Jesus. Walking with our young friends, not being in a hurry, relating to them in real ways, bearing their burdens, listening to their fears, laughing with them, crying with them, knowing them and letting them know us. Jesus said in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.” Walking in friendship with young people often means laying down our lives in big ways and in small ways, day in and day out.

Regardless of their response: All of our inviting, sharing the good news and walking in friendship is done unconditionally. We endeavor to love the young people God brings into our lives with the same unconditional love He shows to us. God’s love for His children is not based on their response. Thankfully! None of us respond with perfect faith and obedience to His offering of extravagant grace.

As Susan and I had the privilege of serving as head leaders this summer at Woodleaf Towne, our Young Life camp in Northern California, we witnessed this method being lived out — every week, even every day, yes, every hour — during our assignment. Leaders inviting kids to camp; leaders engaging kids in cabin time; leaders walking side by side with kids; leaders bearing kids’ burdens as they share their struggles; leaders praying with kids to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord; leaders going home with kids to walk with them in friendship regardless of their response.

What a highlight for us to be witnesses of God’s transforming love in kids’ lives. What an honor to serve alongside our brave and passionate leaders through whom God does His transforming work!
We want to thank and celebrate each of you for responding to the invitation to serve our Lord Jesus through Young Life in your community and around the world!

Newt and Susan Crenshaw
Young Life President