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Young Life wants to get established in Brooke, Hancock

WEIRTON — Young Life, a Christian ministry that reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged students in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries, wants to have a presence in Brooke and Hancock counties.

An initial one-hour startup board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 1 at Eat ‘n Park on Three Springs Drive, Weirton, beginning at noon. It will be led by Scott Berg, regional director for West Virginia, and also attended by Sean McCartney, area director in Wheeling.

Young Life is a nonprofit organization, funded through the donations of individuals, foundations and businesses.

It lists its mission as “introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.” Young Life is ecumenical and has been since its beginnings in 1941.

The web site is www.younglife.com.

Before the Oct. 1 meeting, however, representatives of Young Life will be in the area Thursday and Friday, including four representatives from Wheeling; Berg from Mount Nebo; and Don Stuber, national director of jumpstarts, from Yakima, Wash.

“We will have 15-20 meetings on Wednesday and Thursday to share our vision and talk about the needs of students in Hancock and Brooke counties,” noted Stuber in an e-mail communication.

Anyone interested can call Stuber at (360) 789-6676.

“Our first step is to find a startup board of 10-12 families who will take ownership of the ministry, support it, pray for the leaders who work with students and raise the budget.”

The visits are hoped “to build a strong infrastructure for our ministry and take the ministry to the next level. We are meeting with civic and Christian leaders to cast a vision for the needs of students in this area,” Stuber noted.

In a late August e-mail, Stuber explained, “We are in the middle of the calling to set up meetings with business owners and community-minded people. The purpose is to launch our ministry in Hancock and Brooke counties. Young Life has been successfully mentoring teenagers since 1941, and we now minister in 105 countries of the world. Our method is to train adults to enter the world of students by serving the school as tutors, coaches or lunch room monitors. This allows us to meet students and build the foundation for a mentoring relationship. The ultimate purpose is to build their faith in God.”

Stuber explained the jumpstart this week:

¯ Pulls together adults who are the support team for a Christian non-denominational outreach;

¯ Finds more people to pray for this effort;

¯ Is geared to find teachers who already have a ministry with their students;

¯ Educates people about the mission to reach disinterested teens, in a relational style, that starts and ends with “entering their world;”

¯ Will have 15-20 meetings with between 30 and 40 people during the jumpstart;

¯ Is aimed at people of influence who will consider a short-term commitment of 12 months to take Young Life to the next level; and

¯ Has as its end result to have eight to 12 people who will pray about joining the team.

“We will ask anyone who is interested to pray about being on the startup board, a 12-month commitment to bring YL to Hancock and Brooke counties. These folks have made no commitment, but are just willing to talk — often they will suggest others for us to network with. We are happy if we have six to eight at the first startup board meeting, and it grows from there,” Stuber noted.

Young Life usually goes to an area that has interest, according to Stuber. “We look for a ‘red hot vision carrier,’ someone who is calling the regional office often, and saying when are you coming here, and we say, gather 20 people together in your living room, and we will be there. In the case of Hancock and Brooke counties, it’s been different. There is interest, but not the one red hot vision carrier. Young Life was here four years ago, and there was a board, but the key person left, and we were forced to shut down,” he explained, noting Young Life is in nine of the 10 top population centers of West Virginia. “Hancock and Brooke counties are the last one that they have targeted.”

Stuber added, “… We have done this enough times to know that the Lord runs before us and sets up the right people to be in place.” Having Young Life requires a startup board and volunteer leaders.

“We see ourselves not as a youth group, but missionaries reaching out to teens who won’t darken the door of any church,” Stuber noted.

“We do this by training our volunteers to enter the world of teens at schools by being tutors, coaches, chaperones at the dances, or being the lunchroom volunteers at middle schools. We build bridges of trust, then walk across that bridge to talk about Jesus. Educators are the best Young Life leaders because they already have a ministry with their students, and the vehicle of Young Life adds proclamation. Sometimes high school students need to hear the Gospel in a different venue.”


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