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Teen ministry’s funds quickly depleting, future in jeopardy

By By Adam Prestridge
The fate of Atmore Area Young Life is in the hands of the community it calls home.
According to area director Chad Green, funds that support the ministry are quickly depleting and several of the foundations that support Young Life will no longer be able to give monetarily.
The current funds will ensure the organization will operate in the black until November. Should no other funds be received before then, Young Life could then be placed on probation and evaluated for shutdown, which recently happened to two Alabama Young Life branches.
Young Life began in 1941 when Jim Rayburn, an assistant youth pastor in Gainesville, Texas, was commissioned to reach the high school students who weren’t attending church, according to program literature. Not knowing how to reach the teenagers, Rayburn went to the local high school to meet the students where he learned that going where they were and “loving them first” was the way to “earn the right to be heard” sharing the message of Christ.
The community in which it operates solely supports Young Life, Green said. The Young Life national organization does not provide funds at the local level.
Green is asking for more people to take a stand for Christ like Atmore native and Alpharetta, Ga. attorney Carl Johnson did earlier this year when he wrote a check for $15,000 to the ministry.
Young Life has already begun cost cutting in hopes of staying afloat, Green said.
With no facility to call home, Green said weekly “Club” meetings would be held in the homes of area youth involved in Young Life.
According to Green, the 2009 budget is $99,740, which includes staffing expenses, office expenses, 17 percent service fee to Young Life (low based on similar organizations), programming expenses (games, skits), regional training and regional meetings.
In its three years in Atmore, Young Life has been involved with more than 200 of Atmore’s youth, taken more than 60 kids to camp with 13 brand new commitments to Christ and numerous recommitments to the Lord and has held numerous fundraisers including its annual banquet held each February; an annual yard sale; Crud Fest, which is held each October and is scheduled for Oct. 9 this year; a Golf Ball Drop and a Pumpkin Patch. Green said Young Life’s weekly “Club,” which he refers to as “organized chaos” is a fun time for the youth to get together and share the ministry that has an average attendance of 25. Campaigners Ministry is also held weekly and is Bible study group for teenagers in a “laid back” atmosphere.