Young Life ministry connects students

With nearly 7,000 outreach locations and nearly 70,000 volunteers in the U.S. and around the world, Young Life’s ministry is making an impact on an estimated 1.8 million kids. Young Life has recently become the newest Cause ministry available on John Brown University’s campus this semester.

While Young Life was active on campus last semester, Caleb Martin, soon to be the Young Life Area Director of Siloam Springs, has been working hard to get it official.

Young Life is a national ministry focused on giving every adolescent the opportunity to get to know Jesus Christ, according to their website. Their main focus is on empowering college  students to make personal relationships with kids, helping them earn the right to be heard and sharing the gospel.

Martin has worked for Young Life for the last 3 years, it was not until this 2015 that he began to focus on launching Young Life in Siloam. While his efforts have primarily been an effort to set up a local committee—a group of adults that help financially, administratively and logistically—Martin said last August things started to “get really fast.”

“I felt a strong call from God at this time to step away from my current position and to become the area director for Siloam,” Martin said. Previously unbeknownst to him, Martin said his boss felt called to put him in that position as well.

Since October, Martin has spent 50 percent of his time in Siloam, working on getting the word out to the community and getting university students involved.

He started out with 21 students in leadership training, and currently has 17 students still willing to serve.

The students are about to finish a semester-long leadership training, and they are planning to
launch their ministry officially in March.

This semester they are going to focus mostly on getting to know the kids in Siloam Springs High School and Main Street Academy. Martin said they plan to go to football games and lunches, and engage with the kids with the purpose of building relationships based on trust.

Martin is most excited to getthe focus on the high school students they will be working with.

“Our culture is very programmatic on its approach to ministry and making relationships based on trust is often overlooked,” Martin said.

Niyah Graves, junior youth ministries major who is one of the 17 students involved in Young Life this semester, echoed Martin’s statement, saying she is, “excited to be a part of a kid’s life and help them grow in their daily life.”

Young Life is hoping to have all areas of its ministry completely functioning by fall 2016. This entails “connecting with kids in the local high school, having weekly clubs, and forming small groups for spiritual/emotional growth,” according to their application to become an official Cause ministry.

Next fall will kick off another semester-long leadership training course, enabling more college students to get involved in the Cause ministry.

“Right now we don’t have the capacity for more students because we’re not established in the community,” Martin said.

Frank Huebert, director of service and outreach ministries, said Young Life is a “great fit” for the University.

“It creates supportive communities in the faith,” Huebert said about the holistic focus Young Life takes, involving not just college students but also adults in the general public and local churches.

Huebert said Young Life would impact students in a variety of ways. Not only will members engage in ministry and service, but they will also be invested in by other adults. This will lead to Kingdom-minded people who will leave the University able to do ministry in the workplace because they will have been practicing while in college.

Huebert encourages all university students to get involved in some sort of ministry or service.

“What we do in the future is what we do today,” Huebert said.