Club brings Christ to students in Texas
A party with a purpose. That’s what the organization Young Life offers to high school and college students each week at a meeting they call Club.
The goal is to meet people where they are at and show them what it means to really love Christ.
Area director for Mid-TX Young Life Paul Walker was working in youth ministry in Wichita Falls, Texas, when he realized that he wanted to work with young people at UMHB.
“We’re trying to reach kids who are lost, are not believers, a lot of which have never been to church or don’t go to church on a regular basis. So they’re not in a place where they are ready to be discipled.They still need to hear the gospel,” he said.
Walker is passionate about reaching out to those types of students because he was one of them in high school and still remembers the difference that Young Life made for him.
He said, “I went to Club, realized a lot of my friends were there, had a lot of fun when I was there and I met my YL leader there. … Then I was involved in Young Life the rest of high school, my sophomore, junior and senior years in high school.”
Now the director for the Bell County branch of the organization, he oversees all ministry activities that happen during the year.
“Weekly we have campaigners, which is a small group Bible study, and each leader is assigned a grade and a gender. Our Monday Club would be like a mid week youth meeting for a regular church,” Walker said.
Young Life only meets during the school year, but they try to stay involved after the semester ends.
“We have what we call camp and that’s one week in the summer. We take kids to a camp and what we tell them is going to be the best week of their life. And for many of them, they come back and say it was,” he said.
Many of the leaders for the Mid-TX group are UMHB students. They participate in all the weekly activities, as well as do one-on-one contact work, where they invest time into building relationships with their students.
Sophomore sport management major Esther Gibbs is a leader for the Young Life college group. Like Walker, she decided to be involved with the organization because of the effect it had on her while she was in high school.
“I enjoy being part of it because Young Life has changed my life a lot, and I enjoy giving back what was given to me,” she said.
The college group meets every Sunday at 9 p.m. in Brindley Auditorium, and Gibbs is excited about investing in the campus this year.
She said, “We go out and meet people, build relationships with them. It’s not about just expecting people to show up to an event we put on.”
Vice President for Student Life Dr. Byron Weathersbee is appreciative of the Young Life program and the way it impacts students’ lives both on and off campus.
“They train volunteers well and having worked in the church for 10 years, it was incredible to have Young Life volunteer leaders on the high school campuses logging the many, many hours of contact work that they did,” he said.
Weathersbee believes that the format Young Life uses to minister to students is effective.
“There’s not a better way to connect with high school students than Young Life,” he said. “They do a better job than anybody in the nation going across the bridge, relating to high school students, being real, being honest and connecting with them.”