Author Archives: YL Digital

About YL Digital

This is a website for Young Life leaders, staff, committee and community members. Our world and ministry is continually changing, we need to do ministry in the digital world. These resources are for Club, Contact Work, Campaigners, Camp and Committee. Our vision is to create and share digital resource to use in our Young Life ministries.

Young Life Club Talks and Campaigners for Fall 2014.

YLQC Cover Fall 2014

I know we are already in the start of the Young Life ministry year.  But better late than never, some would say.  So I wanted to share with you our Young Life area’s Club Talks & Campaigner Lessons for this fall.  If they are useful to you, we would love for you to have them.

My goal is to create great content that Young Life leaders can use to tell the amazing story of Jesus Christ to kids.  To me, in Young Life Club, there is nothing more important that we do to tell God’s amazing love story in a compelling way each week.  Creating these is one of the most important things I do each semester.  I hope they are helpful you you.

Outline for the semester:

  • Who is God?  Why did He create? –  Acts 17:24-28a & Genesis 5:1-2
  • The Temptation of Jesus – Luke 4:1-13
  •  Jesus Cleanses the Temple – Mark 11:15-19
  • Jesus Heals the Paralytic – Mark 2:1-12
  • Peter Falls Asleep (Need/Sin Talk) – Mark 14:32-41
  • Cross Talk  – Mark 15:21-32
  • Resurrection Talk – Mark 16:1-8
  • Rich Young Ruler (Appropriation Talk) – Mark 10:17-22
  • Parable of the Sower – Mark 4:1-9 & 13-20
  • Christmas Club Talk #1:
    • An Angel and Mary – Luke 1:26-38
    • An Angel and Joseph – Matthew 1:18-25
    • The Birth of Jesus – Luke 2:1-7
  • Christmas Club Talk #2:
    • The Shepherds and the Angels – Luke 2:8-20
    • The Visit of the Magi – Matthew 2:1-12
    • The Escape to Egypt – Matthew 2:13-16

Download links to the three types of files:

*Below are the download links for three different versions of the same file.  The PDF file can be opened and viewed anywhere.  The ePub version will work on all eReaders, except the Kindle.  Use the Kindle version for all Kindle readers.

Let me know if you have any trouble downloading any of the files.  I would love to know what you think!  Leave a comment.

Is Email the best way to communicate?  Really?! 

If you are like me, you hate email as well.  To me it is a necessary evil.  Because so many people still use it, you most likely need to use it in some circumstances as well.  But, there are so many great alternatives.  I know you and I will still have to use it, but please can we use it less?

Email was first created to send and receive small amounts of text.  We have taken that to a new level.  It is estimated that 28% of professional Americans work day is spent using email.  What a waste of our precious time.  Just think of what more you could get done if you didn’t have to use email.

No part of email is relational.  It is a step beyond relationship.  Things like phone calls, text messages and social media all are more relational than email.

Five alternatives to email:

  1. Pick up a phone.  Yes, your smartphone actually can make calls.  This is much more relational.  You will be able to hear a tone on the question or response during your call.  This is so important.
  2. Text me please.  For 2014 I was very close to giving up on email and having an automatic response to text me with my phone number.  Try sending a text first.  Also, many text message services have received and read notifications.
  3. Go social.  There is more of a relational response to social media than email.  Send a DM tweet, a Facebook message, share a picture on Instagram as a message.  I guarantee you will get a better and quicker response.
  4. Use a group messaging service.  All of the team leaders, staff associates and office admins are using Slack group messaging app this year.  We are going to use this instead of email.  You can have group chats as well as sharing documents, pictures, videos, text, etc.
  5. Document sharing.  We use email way to much too send and receive documents.  Just because we can send documents as attachments, doesn’t mean we should.  Dropbox, iCloud, Box, Google Drive, etc.  These solutions are more secure and you can share larger file sizes.

Tips if you have to use email.

  • Keep your email short.  Try to have it be less than 5 sentences.  This will get the right response you are looking for in your email.
  • Never say something in an email that you would not say to someone face to face.  You can’t control the reaction to the email you send, but can control the content in the email.  Make sure your tone matches what you are saying.
  • Respond to email.  The biggest thing that I hate about email, is no response.  Did they get it?  Did they see the email I sent?  If you get an email, respond to it even if it does not need a response.

What ways could you give up on email?  Leave a comment.

Young Life camp Day 7 to starting the fall.

Have you gone to Young Life camp as a leader already this summer?  Are you connected to your kids after camp?  Do you need some help reconnecting with Young Life kids after camp?

Are still going to camp in the future this summer as a leader?  How should you construct a Day 7 area meeting at Young Life camp?  How do you bring the moment from a week of Young Life camp to starting the fall?

This is my video conversation with Brian Summerall from Ministry Strategy and we tackle these specific subjects on bring the moment and vision of Young Life camp home to Young Life Club in the fall.  Brian travels all over the world training Young Life leaders and staff.  Take sometime to watch the video.  It will be well worth your time!

Brian talks about:

  • Your Young Life area meeting on Day 7 of camp.
  • Bring Young Life camp momentum home to your own Young Life Club back home.
  • Create and cast a vision to have kids help own the Young Life ministry back home.
  • What your schedule and pre-Club schedule for the fall should be.
  • If you went to camp already and did not get an opportunity to do this, Brian gives you some step to start with.

If you have questions around this subject or other subjects with Young Life, we are here to help.  Leave a comment.

Master One on One conversations at Young Life camp.

One on Ones at Young Life camp


One of the most important conversations you will have during your Young Life ministry year is at summer camp during your one on one conversations.  It can be a scary thing to go into these conversation and not feel prepared.  We hang

Start the process here:

Camp gives you enough time with kids to go deep in conversations like you might not be able to very often at home. So prepare yourself to go deep. Plan on having several significant conversations with kids during the week — on the walk to the ropes course, sitting around the pool in the afternoon, in the bathroom while you brush your teeth. Look and pray for open opportunities to ask kids questions about themselves. As the week progresses, plan on having at least one significant conversation where you sit down and ask each of your young friends individually if they would like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Some leaders actually schedule 30-minute appointments with kids at the end of the week to make sure they don’t miss the opportunity to talk. If you feel comfortable with that much structure, go for it. Whatever you do, make sure you give each kid the opportunity to answer the question, “Would you like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” or “What’s keeping you from coming to Christ?”

One on Ones

At the end of the week you will have the opportunity to do a one on one with kids in your cabin. If you are the only leader in your cabin you will do a one on one with every kid in your cabin. If there are multiple leaders in your cabin, then you will split the kids up and do one on ones with a specific group of kids.

Let kids know that you will be doing one on one’s with them at the end of the camp week. A good time to do this would be before cabin time on day 3 and no later than cabin time on day 4. If kids know that they are coming it will seem less creepy to them. A great way of telling them is, “we love hanging out with you guys so much we would love to get to know each of you individually on a more personal level”. Kids want other people to know their personal story. What better way than during a one on one is there to hear their story?

We want to walk away from a week of camp knowing where each kid stands in a relationship with Christ. In our one on one times we encourage and challenge kids with out manipulation. We don’t want to be forceful with kids about a relationship with Jesus Christ, but we want to be encouraging them to take the next step in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

Tips & Tricks for One on Ones during Camp:

  • Tell kids you will be doing One on Ones at the beginning of the camp week and why your are doing One on Ones. This helps make the end of the week, when One on Ones start, less awkward.
  • You can have kids sign up for times to meet you and the location to meet them for your One on Ones. You will need a plan on how to get all of your One on One conversations in during the week of camp. Female leaders & kids need longer times to meet than male leaders & kids. Make sure to allow enough time to have the best conversations in One on Ones you can, to be present and not to be rushed.
  • Sometimes for guys it helps to do something at the start of your One on One conversation. Play frisbee golf, basketball, etc; to start your One on One. When the conversation goes deep, stop what you are doing, find a place to sit right there and go deep with kids.
  • Keep notes during cabin times and you can reference these notes during your one on one time at the end of the week. During your one on one you can say something like, “You said this in cabin time, what did you mean by that?” or “You said this in cabin time, could you expand more on that?”.
  • Give kids the opportunity to receive Jesus into their lives. You may have to help them through their prayer, especially if they have never prayed before.
  • Always pray at the end of your one on one with a kid. It is this prayer where kids can pray a prayer of salvation or you can pray for them. Ask for specific prayer requests!

Sample Questions to use in One on Ones:

  • What do you think about this week so far? What has been the biggest surprise?
  • What have you learned about yourself this week?
  • When have you felt closest to God in your life?
  • Do you see yourself any differently here than you do at home? In what way(s)?
  • Have you heard anything new about God this week? What did you hear and what do you think about it?
  • If you could ask God one question and be guaranteed an answer, what would it be?
  • Do you relate to any of the people in the role play? Which ones and why?
  • Has your view of Jesus changed at all this week? How has it changed?
  • What questions do you have about what you’ve heard this week?
  • Have you ever considered entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ?
  • Would you like to begin a personal relationship with Jesus?
  • What is keeping you from beginning a personal relationship with Christ?

Download these Young Life summer camp One on One conversation guide:

How would you help leaders be prepared for Young Life camp one on one conversations?  Leave a comment!

Training for ALL Young Life leaders for Summer Camp.

camp training for leaders 2014 - cover

Being prepared for Young Life summer camp as a leader is one of the most important things you can do.  We owe it to Jesus and to kids to be the best leaders we possibly can be at summer camp.  If you have been to Young Life summer camp as a leader multiple times or if this is your first time, training is vital.

You can DOWNLOAD our Young Life Summer Camp Training by CLICKING HERE

What is the greatest need for summer camp training as a leader?  Leave a comment!

Training for First Time leaders at Young Life Camp.

What Young Life camp is this?

What Young Life camp is this?

Are you going to Young Life Camp as a leader for the first time this summer? Welcome to one of the best experiences of your life. It is a privilege and honor to take kids to Young Life Camp as leaders. Don’t miss this opportunity!

8 Ideas for first time leaders at Young Life Camp.

  1. Pray like crazy. No one else in the lives of your kids you are taking to Young Life Camp this summer may be praying for them. You might be the only person who is praying for your kids. Their place in God’s kingdom is hanging in the balance. This should drive us to pray for kids even more. Pray like their salvation depends on it.
  2. Get some rest. If you do Young Life Camp right as a leader, you will be exhausted by the end of the week. If you need to sneak away for a quick nap during the week or some down time, do so. A rested leader is a better leader.
  3. Think like a leader, not a camper. If you went to Young Life Camp as a camper, you know how amazing and life changing a week of Young Life Camp can be. One of the biggest shifts for younger Young Life leaders at Camp, is to move away from their own camp experience to be solely focused on the experience of the kids you are taking to Young Life Camp.
  4. Ask Questions. The are no dumb questions. The only dumb questions are the one you don’t ask. Almost every part of Young Life Camping is done on purpose and has a reason behind it. If you don’t know why we are doing something at Young Life Camp, ask someone. This will help create a bigger picture for the week of camp for you and your kids.
  5. Bring extras. Bring extra clothes, extra food, extra bug spray, extra gum, extra medicine, etc. There is a huge chance kids will ask for it. If you bring extra stuff, when kids ask for it and they will, you will have it on hand and won’t have to go hunt it down.
  6. Go hard at camp. Don’t miss the opportunity God has presented to you for being a leader at camp. You or another leader, spent countless hours getting kids in your cabin to camp. We owe it to them to spend as much time with kids at camp as you can. You should be exhausted by the end of the week. Free time is free for kids, but not for you. Use free time with your kids to build relationship.
  7. Know and articulate your own testimony with excellence. One of the most powerful tools for the Gospel is our own testimony. Why is it so powerful? Because, Jesus has captured our hearts and transformed our lives. Jesus wants us to share our own story. If kids ask about your own testimony, don’t you want to be able to share it with excellence? If you can excellently articulate your own testimony in 2-3 minutes, with joy and excitement, you have created a powerful tool.
  8. Have a plan for what happens after Camp, before you get home. When you get off the bus you will be greeted by friends and family that miss you. You can let days or even weeks go by without interacting with the kids you spent so much time and energy building relationships with at camp. If you have a plan for follow up and interaction before you leave for camp, you have accountability for after camp. Also, make sure to communicate your plan to your family & friends.

Jesus is proclaimed in ALL we do in Young Life Camping.

Young Life Camping is laser focused on one outcome, to present Jesus to the best of our ability to lost or disinterested kids. From the camp staff & volunteers to the camp program & speaker to other kids and/or leaders in your cabin, we are proclaiming the love of Jesus Christ during a week of Young Life Camp to kids.

As leaders at Young Life camp, kids will respond to what we do as much as what we say. Kids are watching you at summer camp. Jesus will use you to speak the love He has for them into kid’s lives. It maters on what we do and how we portray Jesus with our actions at summer camp.

What advice would you give to first time Young Life leaders at camp?  Leave a comment!

Young Life Hollywood Game Night Club.

YL Hollywood Game Night Logo

Our Young Life area recently did a version of Hollywood Game Night for Club.  If you have not seen the TV show Hollywood Game Night, there are two teams, each team has a common person and three celebrities.  They play games to earn points.  At the end, someone wins big money.  The games are great for Young Life Club and are easy to use.

Club outline for the night:

  • Pre Club
  • Mixer – Celebrity Couple Mixer (Game Description – Everyone gets a piece of paper with a celebrity on it.  Put tape on them before Club.  They put it on their forehead.  When the music starts they have to go to other people, ask yes and no questions, to try to find who their celebrity is.  When they do, then they have to go and find the other part of their celebrity couple.  Prizes for the first few teams.)
  • 2 Fast Songs
  • Minute – Timeline (Game Description – Bring two teams of four up, four guys and four girls.  Have the celebrities turned around and not in the right order.  Flip them around.  They have 100 seconds to try to put them in the correct order from youngest to oldest.)
    • Guys – NBA stars
    • Girls – Actresses
  • Video – Hasgtags #2
  • Minute – One Word Clues in Slides (Game Description – Bring two teams of four up, mixed guys and girls.  Split them into two teams.  One person will guess as the three other people on their team can only share one word at a time to have the person guessing.  Make sure to that the guesser has their back to the screen.)
  • Video – History of Hip Hop dancing
  • Minute – Guess the Song in Slides (Game Description – Bring two teams of four up, mixed guys and girls. Split them into two teams.  Have one person put from each team, put in earbuds with white noise playing, and noise canceling head phones over the ear buds.  A song will play and the person will have to guess the song title as their team acts out the song title in charades.)
  • Video – Summer Camp Promo Video 
  • 2 Slow Songs/Content Songs 
  • Club Talk 


Here are things that are pre made for you to download to make Club great!

If you decide to do this for Club, leave a comment and let me know how it goes.  Or share what you want to see!


Check your Young Life social media stats and adjust.


What is the best response of your social media posts?  When was the best time you posted content on a social media platform over the last week or month?  What had the biggest social media impressions of the content you posted?  Is it text, a link, a photo, a video, etc?  These are a few of the questions you should be asking on a monthly basis around social media for your Young Life ministry.  It is good to monthly take a few minutes and see what is working.

I know that our Young Life area gets the most likes on our Young Life Instagram account right now, more than any other social media platforms.  So it is key that we post often on Instagram for our Young Life area.  We have 679 Facebook likes on our Young Life Quad Cities Facebook Page.  If I post text on your Young Life Facebook page, we will get between 60-100 views.  If I post a video on your Young Life Facebook page we will get 100-200 views.  If I post a picture on your Young Life Facebook page we will get between 100-400 views, with most pictures lately getting between 200-400 views.

As I have said before, sometimes it is more important on when you post than what you post.  Check when you get the biggest response and what content gets the biggest response.  Also, know what audience you are trying to reach and when is the best time to reach them.

Facebook Page Stats – Facebook recently updated their Facebook page insights area.  It is much improved.  A couple of my favorite places to view on the “See Insights” panel (on the top of your Facebook page) are Reach, Posts & People.  These will give you a good vision of where you are and what gets the best response on your Young Life area’s Facebook page.

Twitter Stats –  Here are a couple of services you can use to get a good picture of your Twitter stats: TweetStats, Tweetails and/or Followerwonk.  These will help you to see what type of tweets get the most response.

I try to use a 1:1 ratio of my own tweets and retweets of other people.  This will help build your audience on your Young Life area’s Twitter account and show your interest in the community around your Young Life ministry.  You can use a program like Buffer to help spread out your tweets.  Also, follow important people and organizations in your community.

Make sure most of your tweets have picture or a link with them.  This will help create a better response on our Young Life area Twitter account.  You are giving your followers something more than just text.

Instagram Stats –  Use services like Statigram and/or Statigram to know what your stats are on Instagram.  This will help you know your reach on Instagram beyond your followers.  You will also know and see what types of pictures and/or videos get the most response.

You will want to see if videos or photos get the best response on Instagram.  My guess is that it is photos, but what type of photos and who are in the photos that get the best response.  Make sure to link people in your post.

What social media stat tools do you use?  What are some tips & tricks that you use to create an audience around the social media platforms for your Young Life area?  Leave a comment.

Don’t over theologize Young Life kids.


As Young Life leaders there is a fine line between under theologizing kids and over theologizing kids.  We don’t want to over simplify theology for kids, but we do want to present theology to kids in a way they can understand or they are not spiritually ready for, yet.  We don’t ask babies to go from crawling to running.  Then, why would we ask young believers or kids who are exploring what faith to go way deep theologically, really fast.  Kids who are in these stages need to learn how to stand theologically, walk theologically, then run theologically before you enter into the deep theological conversations you want.

Back to the basics.  This is not only an excellent book by John Miller about Young Life, but is also what we do with theology in Young Life with kids.  Think about what theology we are presenting to kids.  What is our mission in Young Life?  Make sure your mission as a Young Life leader in theology is the same of the overall mission of Young Life.

Know your audience.  I have seen t0o many Young Life leaders have theological conversations with kids that were not ready to have such conversations.  When this happens, kids can either walk away from their faith or they become a pharisee.  Neither are great for kids.

Have in-depth theological conversations, but not first with Young Life kids.  We need to talk about deep theological issues with other Young Life leaders and people from your church.  This is the right audience to have these conversations.  Have these conversations with these groups of people first.  It helps us as Young Life leaders and followers of Jesus to get our heads around our own theology, then enter in with kids.

What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The Gospel is NOT simple. Why do we try to make it simple?


It drives me crazy when Young Life leaders say things like, “the Gospel is simple” or “we have a simple Gospel”.  When we say statements like that we devalue the Gospel.  When I read Scripture, nowhere do I see the Gospel being simple.  Nowhere did Jesus say come and follow me, it will be easy.  We need to tell the Gospel as the Gospel, nothing more and nothing less.

The Gospel will divide families.  Jesus is clear that families will be divided over Him.  Those that believe and those that don’t believe.  Kids in your ministry might hear about Jesus, become a follower of Jesus and their parents or friends might disown them.  That is not simple.

Matthew 10:34 – “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

The Gospel will make you give up things.  Think of the story of the rich young ruler.  Jesus asks him to give up everything sell it to the poor to come and follow Him.  The rich young ruler’s stuff is more important to him some things than Jesus.  Jesus might not ask us to give up everything to follow Him, but He will ask us to give up somethings.  You can’t say giving up things to follow Jesus is easy or simple, can you?

Mark 10:17-31 – 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

The Cost of Following Jesus.  There is a cost to follow Jesus.  A man comes to Jesus.  Jesus tells the man to “follow Him”.  The man says he needs to go and bury his father.  Jesus tells the man to leave his dead father, for the dead can bury the dead.  Jesus wants us to be living things, not dead things.  For the sake of the Gospel, people around you might not understand why you are doing what you are doing.  But are you doing these things for the approval of man or for Jesus?

Luke 9:57-62 – 57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him,“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said,“Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Do you think the Gospel is simple?  Why or why not?  Leave a comment.