Making An Impact

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Young Life began in 1940 when a fledgling youth minister in Gainesville, Texas was issued a challenge by his senior pastor.  He was told to make the local high school his parish and reach out to unchurched kids.

That youth pastor, Jim Rayburn, started a weekly club with just 10 kids, who were mostly disinterested in God and church.  Songs, skits and a simple talk about Jesus Christ were the staple.  And it wasn’t long before hundreds of kids were feeding on the Living Word of Jesus Christ—and enjoying it!  In the words of Jim Rayburn, “It’s a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel.”

Throughout the years, Rayburn and the staff of Young Life helped define the term “relational evangelism.”  Convinced they had to earn the right to be heard, they sought to befriend teens.  The approach hasn’t changed in over 60 years.  Young Life is still committed to incarnational witness—expressing the love of Christ through relationships with young people.

How Do We Do It? The C's of Young Life.

Contact Work
Caring and committed adult leaders seek out and build relationships with adolescents on their turf.  We purposely reach out to kids who are disinterested in church and God.  By spending time with teenagers, we earn the right to be heard and to tell them about Jesus Christ.
We hold weekly meetings called Young Life Clubs where kids sing, play games, laugh at silly skits and hear about Christ in terms they can understand.  The Clubs can happen anywhere—a kid's home, a gym, an office building, a rec center or even a retail space.  Young people come because they’ve been invited by a new friend—an adult Young Life leader.  They come because they want to come. 
Young Life camps offer kids an unforgettable experience.  A philosophy of “Excellence in Camping”—together with a high-energy program, a sense of adventure and a clear presentation of the gospel—make camp a life changing experience.  Weekend and week-long summer camps at one of our fifteen national properties in Arizona, British Columbia, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, or Virginia give us intense, personal interaction with hundreds of kids each year.  And Young Life’s Trail West camp in Colorado provides family-based camping, with an opportunity for adults to see what goes on at a typical Young Life property.
Kids who want to grow in their faith are nurtured in discipleship groups called Campaigners.  We pray, study the Bible, share needs and learn how to live out biblical principles in a weekly, small group setting.
Young Life cooperates, rather than competes, with local churches.  We work with and through local congregations to see that every kid gets the opportunity to grow in their faith within a church family.  For those kids who don’t have a church home, we help them find one.

Our Credentials

Young Life's staff and volunteers across the country go through extensive training.  Some staff members have seminary degrees in youth ministry, while others are working on them.  All staff members are well-versed in the culture of young people and the issues they face:  Boredom, substance abuse, alienation, fractured families, pressure to succeed, negative peer influence, sexual promiscuity, etc.  We help kids face these issues using sound biblical principles mixed with unconditional love.
To maintain fiscal responsibility, Young Life is a charter member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

Young Life Tulsa | PO Box 33176 Tulsa, OK 74153-1176

Phone: (918) 665-8525

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