END OF SUMMER UPDATE

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The Tri-States group at the horse stables at Rockbridge!

Thank you all so much for praying for our camp trip. We saw kids come to know Jesus in a personal way for the first time in their lives, and now as leaders we have the opportunity to follow up with kids as they take their first steps as disciples of Jesus. What I mean by camp followup is basically continuing relationships in an intentional manner with kids who went to camp.

Camp follow-up is one of the great privileges of a Young Life leader. It is also, in my experiences, one of the great struggles.

First of all, many leaders can fall into the thinking that they only need to follow up with the kids that accepted Christ at camp. We as leaders spend a lot of time praying for and investing in kids, so when we have the opportunity to walk them through their first devotional or first prayer time, we get very excited! I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but what I love about the mission of Young Life is that Christ calls us to build relationships with lost kids. There are quite a few kids who come back to camp having rejected the Gospel, or with more questions. These kids, in my opinion, need just as much care and focus as our new Christian friends. As leaders, we need to ask ourselves if we are really making sure we are investing equal energy and prayer into relationships with kids who don’t yet know Jesus.

Secondly, camp follow-up is hard for newer leaders because they feel like they may not “know” enough to walk a kid through discipleship. This is also a dangerous path, as it puts a great burden on our shoulders. If a kid knowing Jesus for this life and beyond is up to our abilities as a Young Life leader, the kids are all in trouble! We have to step back and remember that it is not up to US for a kid to follow Jesus… all we can do is pray and obey what the Lord is asking us to do. I am so grateful that we serve a God who only really uses us when we are completely empty of ourselves and our own abilities!

So please, pray for our leaders as we follow up with the kids who went to camp! That for the new Christians we will pray for them and let Jesus lead them through their first discipleship steps. For kids still seeking or who said “no” to the Gospel, that we will continue to love them where they are at spiritually, and to continue to spend time with them and spend time praying for them as well.

Also, school in the Tri-States area begins in just a few short weeks, so please pray for us as we begin YL stuff all over again! Praise God for another year!

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Prayer for camp, please!

 

We wrapped up our Club season with a bang! At our senior club, we asked the kids to share what YL has meant to them in high school, and a senior boy shared how he just started coming a few months ago to Club, but how much he’s learned about Jesus and how much he wants to pursue his faith. His only regret was not coming to Young Life sooner!

Headed into the summer, we are focused on CAMP! Right now, our camp trip is full! We are excited to bring our first-timer friends to show them what camp (and Jesus) are all about! Here are some prayer requests for our camp trips:

  1. Signups- we still have a few kids we’re pursuing, so hopefully they will sign up soon!
  2. Scholarships- We are looking for about $1,000 in camp scholarships to help fund kids to get this opportunity. Please pray that this will be provided so our kids can go!
  3. For our leaders, that they’ll have great conversations with kids the week of camp, and for them to be bold in sharing the Gospel.

 

Thank you for the prayers! We are headed to Rockbridge in July, and I will send more details beforehand.

SPRING IS HERE (I HOPE!)

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Our Capernaum Team Leader, Lynne, doing a run-on at Club with her friend Mickey

The past few months in our area have been fairly difficult. In the first six weeks of scheduled Clubs, we were only able to hold three because of weather. Our area got hit pretty hard by a blizzard in early March, our family was without power for five days and many others in our area were without power for much longer. Needless to say, it’s been a long (six months) winter.

I am feeling hopeful today. Not only is the weather warming up (FINALLY) but despite our late start we are just four clubs away from wrapping up club season! It has been a fun semester. We have new leaders that are doing a great job jumping in and getting to know kids, and my favorite thing ever started a few weeks ago… SPRING CONTACT WORK!

I. LOVE. CONTACT WORK. Especially in the Spring. Softball, Lacrosse, spring concerts, musicals, track meets… all of my favorite contact work things happen this semester. What I love specifically about contact work in the spring is 1. we get to be outside and not freeze and 2. all of the best sports are happening! Track meets, in particular, are my favorite contact work activity. In between events, kids are milling around, sometimes sitting up in the stands and sometimes sitting at the fence. They can talk to you in between events, and while they are warming up you can be RIGHT THERE. You can help move hurdles, set blocks, etc. It is AWESOME. Plus, a lot of kids usually are on the track team, so you can get to know a lot of kids as opposed to smaller teams.

Can you tell I’m just excited? Spring contact work has been especially fun for me, since I am trying to get to know a girl in the school who plays a spring sport. I went to her game last week, and she gave me a hug after! It made my night.

Please, as you pray for us, pray for our leaders who are taking their free time to go cheer on JV softball. Pray for our leaders as they take a Saturday night when other people their age are out with friends and they are attending a high school play and hanging out with kids after until midnight. Pray for our leaders as they begin the “descent” of club talks, Cross, Resurrection, and Relationship. Please pray for leaders as they get kids signed up for the best week of their lives, summer camp!

THE BEST THINGS

I love this time of year in ministry. Weekly club is on hiatus (UNTIL TOMORROW!), winter sports are going on (I love basketball games), and the things I enjoy the most in ministry are happening.

First of all, we are in the middle of work crew training. This is a course that is required for all high school students who want to or are at least interested in doing work crew this summer. There are so many things I love about this training! For the course itself, over the course of 14 years I have designed a servant leadership class, in which we incorporate the practicals of summer work crew. In fact, the first week we barely even talk about work crew itself, it is spent mostly on going over the requirements for the course and looking at the gospels and how Jesus was a servant leader.

Over the next three weeks, the kids will get up early on Saturdays and learn more about servant leadership, memorize verses, prepare their testimonies, attend church and take notes, do a chore challenge, a quiet time challenge, and a prayer journal…. WHEW! What I love about this is my passion for training really lives here. I get to design a teaching session that focuses on what I love most: kids and Jesus.

Not to mention that the kids who attend this class are hand-selected by their leaders, for being the most faithful, hard-working, and servant minded of their campaigner group. It’s just fun to be in a smaller group with really sharp, amazing high school students and listen to them grow into an understanding of servant leadership. THE. BEST.

Another thing that I LOVE that I get to work on right now is staff associate training. A few years ago, I was asked to help lead the training for our regional staff associates (new staff… we were interns in my day!). Since our region is so spread out, we meet in an overnight setting five times a year. What I enjoy about this time is very similar to what I love about work crew training. First of all, the course has been honed by the trainer Glenn over the course of many years. But, I get to tweak and add things, which is a huge privilege. Currently, I am working on our next time together (in a few weeks), which focuses on gospel proclamation. I get to break down how the gospel is a person, and we get to together figure out how to train our volunteers to give excellent proclamations of who He is.

As with work crew, the people in the class are just the best. Most of them are in their twenties, and their excitement for the calling of Young Life staff is contagious. They make me laugh, and they challenge me every single time to not be complacent, but to do everything I’m called to with excellence and enthusiasm. My favorite times, besides the actual teaching, is when I get to sit down with them and just talk to them about their lives, especially the young staff women. I remember being a new staff in my early twenties, and it was really one of the most difficult times in my entire life. I get to help walk them through this time, plus the life changes that happen along the way (marriages, kids, moving, etc). It’s so life-giving, and I am completely grateful I get to do this.

So, please pray as Club starts up, that more and more kids will come each week that need Jesus. Please also pray for staff associate training and work crew training.

Thank you! And as a bonus, here are some of my girls on work crew weekend with a knife they dropped to the floor… thankfully no toes were involved. Sorry, Lake Champion!

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WHOOPS!

Update: Fall 2017

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Me and my Bible study girls at Fall Weekend 🙂

What an eventful Fall semester we have had! Instead of writing a post about one aspect of ministry, I am going to give you a bullet point update so you can see all the ways in which the Lord has moved this semester!

*5 new leaders! That’s right, 5! Including Wyldlife, Capernaum, DVHS, and Eldred! Praise the Lord for these amazingly gifted folks who decided to run hard after kids in this way!

*A successful fundraising banquet! We raised enough to see ourselves through the winter. An exciting statistic about our banquet is that almost half of the people in the room were NEW faces! We are still doing followup meetings, and it has been so fun to get to know some new partners in ministry. Another sweet aspect of the banquet is when one of our Capernaum students gave her testimony, and then her leader also shared about how working in Capernaum has impacted her… what an amazing story.

*Fall Weekend (see above) was so much fun. Our kids got to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a safe setting, and our leaders have been doing a great job of following up with their folks.

*Club for high school and Wyldlife have been growing all semester! It has been a joy to have so many new faces to meet and get to know, and our leaders have been relentlessly pursuing kids all year.

 

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Jude and I took a lot of hikes! Here is his first attempt at a selfie…

These are just a few of the ways in which the Lord has been providing for our area, and I am so grateful every day that He calls me to this. Here are some prayer requests for our family and area moving into the winter months:

  • For new committee members
  • For more people to come on board financially
  • For Wyldlife leaders for Eldred
  • For a coordinator for Young Lives
  • Our family is taking off the week of Christmas, so please pray for rest, renewal, and the chance to focus on our family relationship during this most precious season.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

What a summer!

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Our high school camp trip!

 

Thank you all for your prayers for our camp trips this summer. I shared with my committee last night that it was one of the most phenomenal summers of ministry I have experienced for a long time.

Our Wyldlife trip went really well, to start things off. The kids had fun and there were new kids there that are now excited about getting plugged into Wyldlife in the fall. Our leaders did a great job loving them well (and patiently!) that week.

On our Young Lives trip, the girls that went all came to know the Lord. They were led by our new coordinator, who was also “flying solo” leader-wise for the week! She did an amazing job, and one of the girls is now interested in becoming a junior leader for the ministry.

Our high school trip was especially close to my heart. We brought all but one first-time campers, which was a blast! They had a great time, and we had a large majority of kids who did not know Jesus beforehand begin life-changing relationships with Him that week. They were such a fun group, always running to the VERY front for Club and generally causing a (not-so-bad) ruckus around camp. It was so beautiful to see camp through the eyes of these new freshman and sophomores, who are now excited about ministry for the fall.

A particularly sweet moment for me was that our Capernaum team brought two of their Capernaum friends (for the first time!). The students both had a blast, and that week BOTH of them decided to follow Jesus. They’ve been pursuing Him since they’ve been home, and have been growing a lot in their faith.

I am humbled by what a gift my job is. Every year (and not just in the summer!) I get to watch teenagers that I love and adore cross over from death to life. Then, I get to help train and equip their leaders to run hard after Christ with them, and to help them all reach out to the lost kids at their school that need Jesus desperately.

THANK YOU. For your prayers, support, and encouragement. We are SO excited to start things up this fall, and look out for more frequent updates!

Things to pray for:

  • Our fiscal year end is quickly approaching. It looks like we will be about $4,000 behind budget, so please pray for this gap to close so that we can start the year in a healthy place, financially. This way, our focus can be on recruiting committee and leaders, and not on finances. If you feel moved to give, please click on the “give” tab.
  • Leader Weekend is in about ten days, so please pray for a good time for our leaders and for growth  for them.
  • We start Clubs back in the next few weeks, so pray for new kids to come out and for our campaigner friends to reach out.
  • Pray for new leaders for our Eldred, Young Lives, and Capernaum ministries.

The best.

Thank you all for your prayers and support for my assignment last month! It went really well, and here are a few highlights!

First of all, the girls who were chosen to do summer staff in June were a PHENOMENAL group of young women. They were hard workers, easy to get along with, and best of all they pursued Jesus with everything they had. I just got to really love them, encourage them, listen to them, and pray with them and for them. I was so impressed by this group of summer staff. There was NO drama, NO gossip, and no other potentially divisive issues. From the beginning, we asked them what they wanted their month to “be about”, and we wrote down these values and hung them in the lobby all month. They chose: Honor (each other and the Lord), Service, Prayer, and Adventure. How cool is that? They really honored and served the Lord and each other with all they had, they pursued the discipline of prayer with zeal. We also went on a wild adventure as we navigated camp together! I am so completely blessed to know and love these young women, and I am forever changed by each one of them.

I also got to serve on a team that I adored. I not only got to serve on an amazing assignment team, but I also got to serve alongside my camp friends. It really was an answered prayer to be part of such a loving mission community.

I also learned a lot about the character of Christ. The theme of my year has really been to explore who He is, not just what He does for us. Assignment showed me some of his depth of character in a way I may not have experienced at home. It’s difficult to describe in words what I mean, but basically I fell more in love with who He really is every day.

It was a month of joy. Of course, we dealt with some difficult issues. However, these issues were redeemed into beauty in a way that my wildest prayers couldn’t imagine.

Thank you all for praying. Thank all of you sweet summer staff girls for serving. Thank you, all of summer staff, for making it the best month. Thank you, assignment and camp team, for your friendship, laughter, and encouragement.

Now, we are preparing for our HS camp trip at the end of the month. We appreciate your prayers in this as well!

Here We Go!

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Lake Champion

Tomorrow, I leave for my month-long assignment! I will be a Summer Staff Coordinator at Lake Champion.

I am excited about this for a lot of reasons! One is that I get to be at a camp close to my house, which also means it’s close to my family. Also, My camp director is my friend Stefan, who I worked with in Montgomery County.

In case you’re not familiar, summer staff are college-aged young adults who volunteer a month of their summer to help camp run for our precious high school friends. They bake, drive boats, help on ropes, lifeguard, run the craft shack, store, and snack bar… they’re everywhere! As summer staff coordinator, my job is to manage and encourage these young folks, focusing on the young women in our group. I’m excited for this opportunity to pour into the next generation of young female leaders.

Our prayer requests are as follows:

-For Jude, he will still be finishing up school the first half of assignment, so I won’t see him much. Pray for a good end of the year with him and for his grandparents (both sets!) who will be helping care for him

-For Joe, as he inevitably will be driving back and forth a lot! Especially as he manages end-of-the-year craziness that seems to escalate for elementary school, and preparing for his Wyldlife trip leaving on the 29th.

-For myself, I always love assignments as I feel like it’s where I get to use my gifts more tangibly. However, as an introverted person they can also be difficult so please pray for energy, intentional community, and most of all that I will continue to grow to be more like Him.

Thank you so much! Talk to you all next month!

Junior Leaders

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Delaware Valley High School Leadership Team 🙂

First of all, I apologize for the exorbitant amount of time between posts. My goal is to do one a month, I just let life get in the way of these last few months. Thank you to all of those who support Team Dorrough, and our efforts to reach kids with the gospel in the Tri-States Area!

Ministry continues to go well, especially at our “flagship” Delaware Valley Young Life and Wyldlife Clubs. A challenge we are currently facing is leader recruitment. We live in a rural Northeast setting, with no large college nearby nor a good amount of young adults in the area. Since these groups are typically who YL has looked to in the past to become volunteers, it’s easy to get discouraged in this effort.

Last year, I was praying through this challenge and reading the New Testament, hoping to glean some wisdom from the strategies of Jesus and Paul. I came to the conclusion that in order to grow our leadership numbers, we need to spend time investing in who IS here, instead of wishing on who is not. Jesus recruited people to be his disciples that were representative of the population at the time: fishermen, tax collectors etc (Matthew 4). Paul spent a significant portion of his time investing into indigenous leaders, so that he wouldn’t have to run EVERY church that he started. I came to the conclusion that the same strategy can work for Tri-States Young Life.

Who is here? Students. Lots of them. There are approximately 1,600 students at Delaware Valley High School. Of the students we meet, a good number of them stay around and go into the work force or attend a nearby community college. This means that of the kids we meet and invest in, a decent amount of them will still be here after high school. It came to me, that if we spent time discipling, training, and investing in kids while they’re here, we’d not only increase our local leadership numbers, but we’d be sending fully trained and “ready to go” YL leaders to whatever college they decide to attend.

Hence, the birth of the junior leader program. This is not an idea that is uniquely mine, nor is it new to me. I can’t remember exactly where the original idea came from (we have a joke in YL that every idea is stolen from someone else), but it was something I put into place when I started Club at Blake HS back in 2008. The idea is simple: take high school students and train them to do ministry.

Now, we don’t just choose any student that comes to Club. Like any volunteer with us, we have high standards. We choose students who have a growing personal relationship with Christ, have a heart to reach lost kids at their school, and who agree to the same leadership requirements we give our adult leaders.

Here are a few things I have learned from doing this over the years:

-Be careful and PRAYERFUL about which students you select. This is not a program open to all of them, as we want to make sure they’re spiritually ready first.

-REMEMBER that they are still students! Though they have the same requirements as our adults leaders as far as faith and conduct, the time commitment is slightly different. We ask them to come to area leadership meetings and team meetings (which they faithfully do), on top of helping to run Club and Campaigners. However, they are a student first and if there’s a project due, or they have to miss Club because they play sports, it’s perfectly alright!

-Along the lines above, we need to make sure that we are caring for them FIRST as our YL kids and then SECOND as junior leaders. This means that we don’t give them too many extra responsibilities (unless they ask for them), and we make sure they are in a discipleship relationship with a leader outside of leadership meetings. We don’t want students to burn out ministry BEFORE they get to college (or ever!). I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, and is one we really try to implement in our program.

-We let them lead campaigners if they want to and feel ready! We have done a “group” lesson, with all of our junior leaders participating in the planning and implementation of the time. We’ve also let those that ask do Campaigners on their own, if we feel like they are ready.

-Remember that they are doing “contact work” 8 hours a day at school! They can come with us to games, etc but we understand that simply by being at school they’re fulfilling this requirement.

-They are ready and eager for this! Teenagers today get a bad rap. People assume that they’re entitled, lazy, and apathetic. What I’ve seen, however, is that they are ready and waiting for someone to come along and say “I choose you”. They are passionate about causes, and they are just ready and waiting for someone to give them leadership responsibilities. They can handle it! Some of the OT Testament prophets and NT church leaders were teenagers!

I’ve seen nothing but good benefits for our area because of this program. In the picture above, half of the team are junior leaders! Of our graduating seniors, one is heading off to lead YL in college and one is staying here to continue leading next year.

I’ll close with this. One of the people in this picture is a recent graduate of our program and is a first year leader. When I sat down with him over the summer to explain what it would look like for him to lead YL with us after being in the program, he said “Oh, so it’s what I’ve been doing! Cool, I’m ready!”

It takes time, but I believe that investing in and giving students leadership responsibilities is a great way to grow leadership numbers. If you have any questions or want more insight into the program we run, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Thank you for your support of God’s work in Tri-States!

 

Exceeding Expectations

The Adoration of the Magi, Leonardo Da Vinci

The Adoration of the Magi, Leonardo Da Vinci

 

After almost two decades in ministry, it still surprises me when God teaches me as I prepare to teach others. Almost every time I sit down to prepare a Club talk, Campaigner lesson, Leadership plan, Staff Associate Training, Committee devotional, team meeting, etc, He points the lesson right back at me.

I shared in my last post about how this works at Camp, when the Gospel that I hear “for” the kids each time continues to penetrate and change my heart as well. This week, as I prepare the lesson for our final Campaigners of the year, God once again used ministry as a mirror in my own spiritual journey.

The lesson I’m preparing pertains to the Messiah. We are talking about what people expected the Messiah to do in Biblical times, and how Jesus didn’t seem to meet those expectations. To simplify the concept, the Jewish people expected a Messiah to come and re-establish David’s line on a kingdom throne, therefore damaging and eventually eradicating Roman rule. Even Jesus’ disciples were expecting this, as they fought over who would be “first” in the Kingdom (Matthew 20).

Jesus, however, did not necessarily fulfill those expectations. First of all, He was born to a poor, unwed, teenage (according to most historians) virgin. Then, He lived most of His life as a “normal” person, a carpenter in Galilee. It was only when He turned 30 that He began to formally establish His kingdom. But again, the Pharisees and religious leaders were grossly disappointed with Him. He spent equal time (if not more!) with them and with the poor and helpless (Mark 2:17). He went out of His way to love those that were outcast (John 4:1-26, Luke 19:10, the list goes on) and considered “undesirable” in an earthly king’s eyes. He chose 12 rough, mostly uneducated, simple, men to help establish His kingdom. Then, He died. He let the government execute Him. What a disappointment that must be to those who were expecting an earthly king to come in and destroy the Roman empire, to sit on the throne and let “God’s chosen people” rule once more.

Ah, but then. But then. Three days later, the tomb was opened. Three days later, Hope was restored. Three days later, HE. CAME. BACK. And now, we can have a personal relationship with the God who made us.

Jesus abundantly fulfills expectations. As I was praying about this concept in preparation for Campaigners, the Spirit kept whispering “Yes, Kristina, even yours”. This hit me. Hard. I realize that my wrestling with God over the summer and long road to rebuilding my relationship with Him has everything to do with my expectations. To be brutally honest, since I’m in ministry I expect that I’ll be on “God’s right in the Kingdom”, just like James and John. I expect special treatment, since I “give so much away” for His kingdom. I expect financial security since I tithe more than the expected 10%. I expect ministry to grow in numbers and quickly, because I work so hard to make that happen. I expect other people to “get it” the way I do.

I know, this all sounds so terrible. But it’s true. I realized that I expect God to move in a certain way, since I’m one of his “chosen ones”. Ugh I make myself sick even typing that.

In reading the Gospel account of Jesus’ birth I am reminded that Jesus doesn’t meet my expectations. I expect a God who will do my bidding and bless me in a way that is tangible. However, Jesus Incarnate was a baby. The most helpless, humble being on the planet. Jesus didn’t meet expectations… He exceeded them. He established a kingdom that will last forever, through the humble beginnings of a baby born to a seemingly insignificant working class family.

The challenge I am giving my Campaigners and myself is this: when you see a picture or sculpture, etc. of the Nativity, remember this. Remember that God does not meet our expectations like He would like. Remember that He exceeds them. Him coming as a baby was a step in the process to Him dying for our sin and saving us. So, even though it may seem like God isn’t meeting my expectations, I think of tiny, baby, human Jesus and how He continues to transcend our expectations.

 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9