Young Life…From My Inbox

21 Nov

It’s funny, I’ve had very little time to blog recently.  Despite my inability to continue blogging, I’ve had many new readers and quite a few email conversations about my posts on Young Life.  You can read some of my previous posts about Young Life here, here, & here.

One of my email correspondents shared some of their perspective on Young Life and I thought it would make a nice guest post.  When I asked, they gave me their permission to post their thoughts.

I don’t mind sharing my experience with Young Life at all.

I was involved with Young Life during the first two years and a tiny bit of  my third year of high school before I realized it wasn’t something I wanted to be associated with. I think there’s this potential threat of causing division among students, and that’s just not right. Young Life basically divided my school into cliques and we all know the last thing a high school needs are more cliques.

Something else that occurred with Young Life, in my grade, was the ending of many relationships. The female Young Life leaders at my school preached that God should be the only man in our lives. Although I tried understanding where the leaders were coming from, I didn’t see the issue in dividing time between religion and boyfriends. The female leaders influence on many girls in my grade caused them to end relationships with long time boyfriends. One of my good friends was broken up with by his girlfriend. Her explanation was that she needed to give her time to one man, God.

I also recall during sophomore during club when one of the girls in my grade was crying to one of the leaders. The girl was dating another boy in our grade whose family practiced Hinduism. I wasn’t aware of what he did to make her cry, but the female leader’s response was, “Well what do you expect? He’s not a Christian boy.” Even though I didn’t know exactly what the boy did to make her cry, I know for a fact that his religion isn’t the reason for his actions. I thought it was completely unfair for the leader to accuse him of his wrongdoings based on his beliefs.

It wasn’t until Rockbridge, the winter camp during my junior year that I realized I had to quit this organization. During cabin time one night, our leader asked everyone, “So how does everyone go about trying to convince new people to attend club?” And the second she said that, it hit me. If people don’t want to come, then they should simply be left alone.

School is a place of education, not a place of religious education. One of the girls in the cabin replied, “I usually just give everyone a flyer, even if they’re Jewish because I still want to see them in heaven.”  That was when my personal beliefs started to initiate. I personally don’t believe anyone else’s religion is above another’s. It is no one’s place to tell someone who is Jewish or any other religion that they need to attend Young Life because they won’t end up in heaven.

Young Life caused so much division in my high school, I couldn’t wait to get out. Most of the people from my grade are leaders in college now. A lot of what you said in your blog about Love Bombing and the fact that you were to go after the “popular and more influential kids first” was very eye-opening. I realize now that’s exactly what took place in my high school.

Sorry this was so long, I really could talk about the negatives of Young Life for hours on end.

7 Responses to “Young Life…From My Inbox”

  1. christianagnostic November 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Reblogged this on Young Life Watch.

    • 58uoyknah June 8, 2015 at 7:46 pm #

      I’m sure you receive positives about YL, how come you don’t share those? Seems kind of cult like for you not to share 2 sides…

  2. Mary December 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear that you have had bad experiences with Young Life and with leaders not portraying the ministry correctly. However, our goal is not to convince high school students to come to club and take them by force. Young Life follows Jesus’ ministry of seeking the lost and loving them. Please read through one of the Gospels to see that Christ reached out to others, brought healing, and had many followers. His disciples had disciples and their disciples had disciples aka ministry. Being saved comes only from God that isn’t something that can be forced. Yes Young Life presents the Gospel in a fashion that is actually relatable to high schoolers. However, this ministry is just fulfilling our calling of showing the world Christs’ love.

    • Susy July 10, 2020 at 5:40 am #

      The belief that some are “saved” and thus rewarded is an example of the damning, belittling, demonizing supremacist beliefs established by European Christians centuries ago and still with us today. A few months ago, a priest refused communion to a non-verbal autistic kid because the child couldn’t confess his sin. Therefore, there was no way to determine if this child was a washed-in-the-blood forgiven Christian. Just sickening bull! White supremacist ideology makes everyone a little more or less human if they fall on the pecking order beneath white straight men. Think about it. Most Christians idolize male pronouns and “Father” when referencing God because white supremacist ideology puts maleness at the top of the pecking order.

  3. Susy July 10, 2020 at 5:50 am #

    Young Life in my community was just awarded a grant where Young Life “very engaged participants” will receive training to identify substance-abusing vulnerable peers, reporting them to appropriate “resources” (social workers). What kind of adults put kids in a position to snitch on their peers who may be using illegal substances? This puts Young Life kids at risk for being accused of bullying/harassment, even if they mean well. What if they unintentionally violate others’ privacy? What if the kids they report (who are apt to figure out their accuser) retaliate with violence? Young Life leadership is unbelievably manipulative and lacking in higher-order critical thinking skills. Fools!


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