What is Young Life?

Young Life is a volunteer-driven, domestic and international missionary organization. Young Life was founded in 1941 by Jim Rayburn, and it now reaches over 1 million students every year in the U.S. and internationally.

Young Life doesn’t start with a program. It starts with adults who are concerned enough about kids to go to them, on their turf and in their culture, building bridges of authentic friendship. Just as we might imagine missionaries traveling to distant lands to share the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know Him, we travel to the distant lands of teen culture to share the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ!

What is YoungLives?

YoungLives is Young Life for teen moms and dads!

  • In 1991, two Young Life areas saw a need for a special ministry to serve teen moms in their areas. Mentor Moms was launched in the fall of 1991 with the goals of providing Young Life club specifically for teen moms and matching the young moms with mentors.
  • In December 2001, the ministry was renamed YoungLives.
  • YoungLives camping ministry began in 2002 with an exclusive teen mom camp week at Lost Canyon.
  • In 2014, there were over 240 YoungLives ministries, seven camp weeks exclusively for teen moms, and 14,000 teenage moms impacted within one year.

Why is YoungLives Needed?

The need for YoungLives is great. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, one out of every 10 babies in the United States is born to a teenager. This makes the YoungLives mission field one that is ripe for harvest. Young Life’s founder, Jim Rayburn, said, “All kids have the right to know the truth about Jesus Christ. YoungLives reaches vulnerable families with hope that transforms generations.”

Children of teen moms are at significantly increased risk for a number of economic, social and health problems, compared to those born to adult mothers, including:

  • Premature birth and low birth weight
  • Higher rates of abuse and neglect
  • Development and emotional disturbances including hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, anxiety, loneliness and low self-esteem

And these children are at a lifetime risk of experiencing the following:

  • 50% more likely to fail a grade level in school and/or drop out of high school
  • twice as likely to go to prison
  • three times as likely of becoming a teen parent

In YoungLives, we have the opportunity to build relationships that become friendships, which become a living platform for the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ! As 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 says, “As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” YoungLives is at the intersection of a great need and a great desire to serve, bringing the two together with an effective strategy that brings hope and healing.