Young Life Changes Lives
By: Steve Bilger
The House interviewed Steve Bilger, a member of East Hills Alliance, who is also involved in the student ministry called Young Life. Following is the interview.
Steve: Young Life is a missionary organization—its primary aim is for young people who do not yet know Jesus. In the same way that other missionary organizations mobilize, train, support and send teams to people groups in order to build relationships and share the Gospel—Young Life does too. However, Young Life doesn’t call them missionaries, they call them Young Life Leaders and they don’t send them across the world to immerse in another country’s culture—they send them across town to immerse in a middle school or high school culture. These Young Life Leaders seek to serve, love and pray for the kids and adults at that school- building authentic, trusting, unconditional relationships. This often leads to kids becoming involved with other facets of Young Life such as Club (weekly large group) Campaigners (regular small groups) and Summer Camp. Each of these facets is a platform to take kids a step further in knowing about and ultimately knowing Jesus. In all of this, one key principle that Young Life upholds is to continue to love kids regardless of their response. In so doing, we maintain a loving purpose with them while avoiding personal agendas.
House: How long have you been involved in Young Life?
I have been involved with Young Life since 1987 when I attended my first Young Life Club as a junior in high school in Euless, TX and I was hooked. I met Jesus through Young Life in 1988. In college I was a Young Life Leader so that I may continue to grow in my faith as well as participate in sharing Christ with teens. In 1996 I responded to an unexpected call from the Lord to go on staff with Young Life and was an Area Director in Grapevine, Texas. We moved here to Longview/Kelso in 2001 to help establish Young Life here in the local area.
House: What do you do in Young Life locally?
For the past 3 years I have served as a volunteer Young Life Leader on the team focused on Mark Morris High School Students. Together with the other YL teams we work to plan and put on weekly YL Club (at The Grove) and I also lead a small group of Junior guys in weekly Bible study. Additionally, I serve on the local Young Life Committee (Board) as the fundraising chair. My wife, Amy also serves on Committee as well as a WyldLife Leader along with our daughter Sophie for Mt Solo Middle School. WyldLife is Young Life for middle-schoolers.
House: How has it changed your life?
In more ways than I can list. Throughout however it has really been the Lord saving and transforming me through the mission of Young Life. I know Jesus because of a group of adults that responded to God’s call to be sent to Trinity High School where they got to know us, loved us, served us and ultimately led us to Jesus. Everything since then has been paying it forward.
House: Who attends Young Life?
Since YL is focused on reaching unchurched kids the majority of students who attend Young Life do not yet have a church home or youth group that they attend.
Our local Area Director, Ryan Moats, is the contact for anyone that may want to find out more about getting involved.