Young Life Club Launch!
On Tuesday March 21st, we finally launched a Young Life Club in Ajax! And it’s about time. We’ve been looking forward to this moment for a while now.
About 2 years ago Caleb Evans, a Young Life regional director for parts of Ontario, visited City Gates and shared with us the vision and mission of Young Life, as well as what it would take to get things off the ground here in South Durham. Young Life is a very structured organization, and they really know what they’re doing. Shortly afterwards, a newly formed Ajax / Pickering Young Life Committee met for the first time to start the work of getting Young Life up and running in South Durham.
Since that meeting we’ve met many more times, have done lots of preparation, have sent a small group of students out to a Young Life summer camp in 2016, and twice as many kids out to their Winter camp earlier this year. We’ve taken some of our high-schoolers to other Young Life clubs to get a feel for what it would look like, and this week we finally launched our own!
What’s a club?
For those who have never been to a Young Life club, let me try to describe it. We always start at an unusual time – this week it was 7:37pm. It takes place in a residential home, and we let the kids enter a very loud and crowded basement, making sure to high five everyone as they come inside, often with much cheering and laughter.
We dance around and mingle for a bit, and after a few minutes we start the singing. There is a song leader, but they often aren’t very good. That doesn’t really matter though because you usually can’t hear them over the voices of all the kids singing as loud as they can. The songs are just popular radio tunes; classics like Brown Eyed Girl and newer hits like Adele’s Hello.
We take a break after a few songs for some “quality young life entertainment” – usually a ridiculously funny game that is often very embarrassing to the participants. We then sing a few more songs before everyone finally takes a seat on the floor.
At this stage, the once very loud room is suddenly very quiet as this big group of excited kids listens intently to a speaker telling stories(s) for 10 minutes. Stories from their own life, but also about this guy named Jesus and what he said about life and faith. It’s really quite a sight.
The speaker then gives some takeaway questions, and everyone goes to the nearest McDonald’s and hangs out while answering those. Yes, every time.
The amazing thing is that this really fun night allows for kids who may never set a foot in a church, to hear the message of Jesus – who He is and what He said – in an environment where they are loved, no matter where they are coming from or what they believe.
This week was the beginning of what I hope to be a long and amazing legacy of those early committee meetings, and it’s exciting to think about what God can do this next season through these kids.