"Young Life" looking at Atmore
Arthur McLean Editor
Atmore may soon get a piece of the Young Life.
Representatives from Young Life, an interdenominational ministry to youths toured the town and met with civic leaders and church representatives Thursday, feeling out whether to bring the ministry to Atmore.
More than 20 church and civic representatives turned out for the first meeting, said Linda Parsons. "I'm very excited about the level of interest we had at the meeting," she said. "We're happy to have people who came and care about the youth of our town. It was very encouraging."
The first meeting was simply to get a feel for the town and a feel for the level of support the mission would have in Atmore, said First Prebyterian Minister Wesley Channell, First Prebyterian held the first meeting, but the Young Life program would be an alliance of many Atmore area churches if it comes to fruition.
Young Life was founded in 1941 as a way to reach youths with the Christian gospel. The organization has a rural outreach program, and, if it comes to Atmore, will station a couple in town to minister and help organize the Young Life programs for at least five years.
Young Life's founder Jim Rayburn said, "It's a sin to bore a kid with the Gospel." Exciting action, heart-pounding adventure and a caring community. That's what most young people want, and that's what Young Life delivers. Through weekly meetings, small groups, summer camps, weekend excursions, sports leagues and one-on-one time with an adult leader, Young Life leaders build relationships with teenagers who are in the midst of the most turbulent times of their lives.
For more than 60 years, Young Life has been a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization reaching out to teens with programs in more than 800 communities in the United States and Canada and more than 45 countries overseas. More than 100,000 kids are involved in Young Life weekly, with more than 1 million kids participating in Young Life throughout the year.
The following principles and goals are part of the Young Life program, according to the organization's Web site.
* Going where kids are.
* Building personal relationships with them.
* Winning the right to be heard.
* Providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing.
* Sharing our lives and the Good News of Jesus Christ with adolescents.
* Inviting them to personally respond to this Good News.
* Loving them regardless of their response.
* Nurturing kids so they might grow in their love for Christ and the knowledge of God's Word and become people who can share their faith with others.
* Helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential.
* Encouraging kids to live connected to the Body of Christ by being an active member of a local congregation.
* Working with a team of like-minded individuals – volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff.