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Young Life

Some clubs promise members a good time. Others enable members to serve a worthy cause. But certain clubs give their members a chance to truly invest themselves in the lives of others, forming lasting relationships and having a lifelong impact. Young Life is one such club.

Young Life differs from most other organizations at Eastern in that it is not an independent club that was originally developed by students, but an international ministry that gives students the opportunity to join in its mission by serving as leaders. And a worthy mission it is. According to Young Life staff associate and recent Eastern University alum Brandon Kopp, “In its most basic form, Young Life is volunteer leaders spending time with and discipling high school students.”

Its method is “incarnational,” based on concepts of literally reaching kids where they are. As its website claims, Young Life “starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. These relationships don’t happen overnight — they take time, patience and consistency.”

Enter the Eastern student-leaders. After a thorough training process conducted on campus by Young Life staff members, these students are assigned to a high school. There, they reach out to students, lead group meetings, share the gospel and begin to form relationships.

Becoming a Young Life leader is no easy task, though it is a worthwhile one. Eastern students who are interested in working with Young Life take a New Leader Training class. This training begins by addressing basic theological questions, such as “Is there a God?” and “Who is He?” The topics become more specific as the semester progresses, focusing on what ministry is and how one is called to serve.

The course also deals with more practical matters, such as how to work with high school students and includes general leadership training. Kopp said, “College students have four years to do whatever they want–they are going to give themselves to something. The class helps them answer the question of what they are going to invest themselves in.”

In addition to what Kopp calls an “invaluable” impact that Eastern students have on high school kids, leaders are also positively impacted. Young Life leadership helps Eastern students become more well-rounded. Instead of simply studying all the time, involvement with Young Life enables students to act. Young Life leadership also gives students the chance to get out of the infamous Eastern bubble and become involved in the greater community in which we live.

As Kopp says, “the things you invest yourself in shapes your passions and vocation. For some, Young Life leadership is not just a participation in a club, but a calling.” Along these lines, those interested in becoming a Young Life leader are encouraged to attend the New Leadership Training class, which meets on Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. in the Eagle Great Room. Questions about participation in Young Life can be directed to Brandon Kopp (bkopp@eastern.edu).

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