“So the next time God asks you to do something that is completely inexplicable…requires a decision or courage that’s way over your pay grade, something that might even save lives, say yes.” –Bob Goff
Well, readers, I want to cut to the chase with an important announcement. I will not be returning to Baker University as an assistant softball coach next season. God has asked me to do something that is inexplicable, requires big courage, and something that might even save lives. He has asked and provided the opportunity to go on Young Life Staff in Douglas County.
So what does that mean? What is Young Life? Young Life is an international outreach ministry that is all about sharing the gospel by building relationships and earning the right to be heard. Originating in 1941, Young Life started as a means to share the Good News of Jesus with high school kids. It has since expanded to middle school kids, special needs kids, teen moms, families, international kids, and most recently, college kids (which is where I serve).
I joined the University of Kansas Young Life College team exactly when it first started at KU the summer before my sophomore year of college. I have been a volunteer leader for the past four years – three of which I was a student-athlete at the same time, and the past year while also an assistant coach – and have over time fallen in love with the way God uses this ministry. In fact, Young Life had an integral part in my own faith. Young Life leaders invited me to summer camp, church, and Bible studies as a middle and high school student growing up in Lawrence, Kan. My Young Life leaders loved me, mentored me, and helped disciple me and show me how to live out an authentic life for Jesus. I wouldn’t be who I am today without this ministry.
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “We loved you so much that we shared with you not only God’s Good News but our own lives, too.” (New Living Translation)
I think this verse sums up the heart of Young Life. It’s about sharing life with kids you reach out to and forming genuine friendships with them. Being with them no matter what, through the good times and the bad. Hopefully always both in action and in words, it would be an incredible means to share the Good News of the gospel of Jesus with them, in which we are ALL called to do as follower’s of Christ, no matter what our daily jobs or routines are!
Jesus says in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus says love people. And that’s not necessarily always the frilly, cheesy love that we often interpret in that phrase, although sometimes it is. Sometimes that means tough love, too. Sometimes it means hard conversations to point out the standard that we are called to as Christians, and the way that God has outlined in the Bible as the best way to live for our own good. That’s the harder kind of love. But verse 35 in John 13 gets me every time. It’s kind of like Jesus says: “Beloved, want to know what will tell people that you are my disciple? What will make you stick out? Love those around you. It’s that simple.”
So that’s the heart of Young Life. I am excited that the relational aspect of the ministry is what I have been doing as a volunteer the past four years will all stay the same, if not increase just because of time’s sake! The added “work” will include all administrative support for the greater area of Douglas County: planning team meetings and leader retreats, planning trips for the students, organizing fundraising events, budget stuff, and doing a lot of public relations and media relations types of things. (The media thing is exciting, since I got a bachelor’s degree in journalism!)
I very much had to surrender softball, once again, to God before moving forward with this opportunity. When I started out in coaching, every one assumed that I would “work my way up the coaching ladder” and become a very successful college coach one day. I appreciate those thoughts and who knows, maybe God will ask me some day to return to coaching. However, my end goal is by no means to work my way to the top and to be “successful.” If there is anything I have learned the past year, I can NOT predict the future, but that God is calling me just to follow Him in the here and now. He’s the one that is guiding my path. He always seems to provide opportunities at just the right time, and ones that are way better then I could ever plan for myself, anyways. Without knowing all the answers, I merely need to say yes and just watch as His plan unfolds before my eyes.
On another note, I am also very thankful that this job encourages that I keep doing weekly private lessons. I will still be involved in coaching and mentoring young softball girls in the greater Kansas City area at The Diamond Softball Academy. But all in all, I could not be more excited for what’s to come in the next year on Young Life staff!
Part of going on Young Life staff is fundraising all of your financial support, and that in itself is a huge leap of faith and trust that God will provide the financial means to do what I feel called to with Young Life! I want to invite all of you who read this blog to join me in the mission God is sending me on for the next year, whether or not you know me personally. I am asking and praying that if you are excited about what God is doing through KU Young Life College and you want to be an active part of this ministry, that you would consider supporting me either in prayer or even financially. There is no support too small, seriously! If you are interested in partnering either financially or in prayer, please personally email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, to receive more information.
If not, I hope that you are just encouraged by this blog post to love those around you, just as Christ loved us, and to trust God wherever He is calling you in life. Maybe you too are in a situation where you simply need to say yes.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6