Young Life of Radford and Pulaski County recently held a banquet in the Omni Center, Fairlawn, celebrating what God has done in Pulaski County and Radford, VA. Approximately 200 people attended the event.
Over the past few years, Radford and Pulaski County Young Life clubs have experienced a huge demand in outreach presence in our local high schools as well as Radford University. The Radford and Pulaski County Young Life clubs began in 2002 with a handful of individuals who had been praying for direction in how to reach the young people in our community.
According to the NRV Young Life Area Director, Isaac Nagle, the vision of Young Life is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. “We often find kids who may not feel comfortable in a church setting, so we are a bridge to those kids who want to learn more about Jesus. We provide a place where a student can go to take in information (about Jesus) and make their own decision. We don’t discuss theological details but encourage the students to talk with their parents or church leaders about those details. We give them the Gospel that is agreed upon by all denominations.”
“Although adults make up a large portion of Young Life leadership, in Radford and Pulaski County we are fortunate to have university students uniquely qualified to be in leadership positions. They are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship with patience and consistency,” adds Nagle.
Reaching adolescents is accomplished by working in community alongside like-minded adults, such as volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff; praying for the young people; going where kids are and building personal relationships with them…thus earning the right to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Additionally, Young Life provides the students with fun, adventurous, life-changing and skill-building experiences while preparing them for a life-long relationship with Christ and a love for His word, His mission and the local church.
Long-time Young Life volunteer and committee member, Lynn Loftus, loves the fact that it is relational evangelism. “Strong relationships are built between the students and leaders. The leaders come in a non-judgmental way, tell the students about the love of God for them, direct them to a local church and advise them in their faith journey.”
All Young Life events take place outside the school setting but the Young Life leaders build relationships with the students by being there for them, going to football games, school plays, and other local events, and helping them to grow in their faith and dive deeper into the Bible.
Nagel says they want to expand local Young Life clubs in numbers and ministry but the ability to build takes funding and leaders. Several of their college leaders graduated in 2019, so they are recruiting to find qualified replacements. “We just recently placed people in their 50’s as leaders. It is all about finding people who will genuinely invest in kids’ lives and consistently show up. Volunteer and leadership positions are open to all ages. The perfect mix is seasoned and young volunteers working together. The young leaders can connect quickly with the kids; and the adults, who are more mature in their faith, can offer counsel and stability.
“Leadership training is a 12-week process before meeting with the Young Life Committee Members. But here are lots of other ways people can help: donating their time and talents, praying and financially supporting Young Life. If someone is interested, we can find a way that is significant and meaningful for them to volunteer,” says Nagle.
Loftus concurs. “We have had some wonderful leaders but we are in great need of committee members and others to help lead.
The most basic qualification is for individuals to have a heart for young people. Loftus adds, “You gotta love Jesus and you gotta love kids!”
For information about Young Life, to donate or voulunteer contact Isaacnagle@gmail.com.
Additional information can be found at: www.radski.younglife.org
By DANIELLE REID,The Patriot