July 2023 | Edited by Steve Moberg
“Young Life is alive and well and we have been in a wonderful recovery from Pandemic Days that are thankfully somewhat behind us! And what a recovery it has been for staff, volunteers, and especially young souls!”
That’s the message from Brad Pearce, the regional development leader for YoungLife in the North Star Region, and son of our own Bill & Binny Pearce. “The thing I appreciate about YL is we work to keep the main thing the main thing – that is Christ and His love for all kinds of kids who we have the privilege to introduce to Christ.”
Brad said his favorite gospel story is the passage of a very hurting person who was paralyzed, as found in Mark 2:4-5. “And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’” Brad commented, “I love this, when Christ saw the faith of the faithful friends! We are all partners in this mission, providing hours of service, providing resources, and sometimes we have to get creative and tear off the roof to get our hurting friends to the feet of Jesus.”
According to the YoungLife leader, that’s when amazing things begin to happen! “When kids see the grace and the mercy of Christ, they experience unmerited favor. Kids feel, and many know for the first time, they are loved in a world of a lot of un-love! Their lives are changed forever. And with this grace comes a transformed life. Knowing they are loved, they in turn love those around them better and guess what it changes? Their friends, neighbors, families, and entire communities!”
Brad added that Young Life is truly in the outreach business in the kingdom of kids. “We do this by building unconditional relationships with young friends via contact work. We invite them to be heard and hear their stories and hear the story of the Gospel. We honor kids by ensuring their rights! That’s right, the rights of kids:
1. They have the right to make up their own mind about all that they are hearing.
2. They have the right to hear of God’s love for them, found in Jesus Christ.
“We invite them to a local YL club, ‘party with a purpose,’ with fun and adventure, with loving leaders creating a safe and fun environment. And then we culminate these relationships at camp where we get to share with them the Good News of Christ!”
And it apparently works, because this summer at their local camp, Castaway Club, the North Star region will have close to 3,000 souls participating in life transformational weeks. “I spoke at a camp in the last few weeks, and I was startled by the response of kids not only to God’s love but to me, being a bit older (just turned 60). After my talks, kids would line up to talk to me about life, faith, and how stirred they were to know how much God loved them. One young lady from a tougher community shared: ‘You would be someone I would normally be scared to talk to, and yet your message hit me so well within my soul. My life has been a bit of a train wreck, yet in all of that, I hear that I am beloved, favored by God, and marvelously made! That changes everything!’ She went on to say, ‘How can I get involved with YoungLife? How can I serve kids like me in our community or here at camp?’”
Brad said it is with pleasure that he gets to serve the kingdom of kids in this way. He extended his thanks to the GEPC family for making it possible to encourage thousands of kids through our ministry together. “It is simply an honor to reach out to you and this amazing collaboration we hold together in the Kingdom and Mission to adolescents here and everywhere!”