From the President

Have you ever heard of the “knowing-doing gap”? The basic premise is we know well what needs to be accomplished and how we should behave, but struggle to do these most important things. It seems the Apostle Paul was wrestling in his own life with this concept in Romans 7:15, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (ESV).

As I write about Young Life’s sixth and seventh historical methods, I believe this “knowing-doing gap” rears its head, begging us to close the gap.

Because our aim is for young people to become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ, we need to give them the right tools and connections to help make that happen. The most critical tool is God’s Word, which points us to Jesus (John 5:39-40), and is an unfailing light to our path (Psalm 119:105). We do a solid job in this area through Campaigners and individual discipleship, but we should have an insatiable appetite for God’s Word in our own lives, and the lives of those to whom we are ministering.

Read the Word. Meditate on the Word. Memorize the Word. And allow it to shape your lives by the power of the Spirit to close that “knowing-doing gap”!

We also need to make important connections for young people — to missional service in God’s Kingdom, and the local church. Young Life has a consistent influence by inviting kids to serve others through involvement in local ministry, through work crew and summer staff at our camps, even through Young Life Expeditions, where we serve others overseas. Service to others is a great way of doing the things we know from God’s Word. Jesus’ life was a model of service to others (Mark 10:43-45), and we want to be just like Him.

Connecting young people to the local church is an important aspect of lifelong discipleship. Young Life is not a replacement for the local church, but a part of God’s called people who gather together to follow Jesus. We ourselves need to be connected to the local church, and to intentionally connect kids, so they have a diverse group of believers with whom they can worship, fellowship and serve alongside all their lives.

We seek to work with like-minded adults in our communities who are “on mission” to help young people meet Jesus and become lifelong followers of Him. These adults come from different faith traditions, but find agreement on the most important tenets of the Christian faith. They serve in various capacities within Young Life; they are indispensable in our efforts to see kids’ lives transformed by the gospel — as well as families’ lives, and even the collective life of a school or a community.

While we know and understand this reality, sometimes we must admit it is easier to “just do it” ourselves. Our African colleagues have taught us the phrase: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together!” “Pamoja! Pamoja!” — they shout. Together! Together!

At our best in Young Life, we are beautiful and diverse examples of “Pamoja! Pamoja!” — going far as we make lifelong followers of Jesus! But, in our more expedient or even lazy modes, we try to go fast by going alone.

As we seek to close the “knowing-doing gap,” let’s commit to being the Kingdom leaders God has called us to be. Let’s do the patient work of relationship building and disciple making in the lives of young people! And, let’s be the kind of Kingdom leaders who recognize we need a community of Jesus-followers “on mission” to see kids meet and serve Him.

Let’s also obey Jesus by praying and connecting others to His mission. He tells each of us: “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38, ESV).

Thank you for being in this mission with us! Together! Together!


Newt Crenshaw
Young Life President