Dear High School WyldLife leaders –
First off: THANK YOU for caring about middle school students and wanting to pour into their lives. Do you remember what it was like when you were in middle school? Do you remember what a big deal it was when someone older noticed you, took time to get to know you, paid attention to your thoughts and words and interests, took you seriously, showed up at your band concerts, joined you at the lunch table, and invested in your life?
That’s what you’re doing as a WyldLife leader.
If you’re a WyldLife leader just because you want to have fun, hang out with Young Life and WyldLife people, spend more time with your friends, or find your identity in WyldLife leadership, you need to take a step back. Those things will probably happen, but they are not the right reasons to be a WyldLife leader.
Three good reasons to be a WyldLife leader are:
- You want to be mentored and discipled by a senior leader or a staff person.
- You want to invest in the lives of middle schoolers.
- You want to be part of telling middle schoolers about Jesus.
All of those reasons should flow out of your own relationship with Jesus – so if you are not actively following Him, it’s probably not the right time for you to be a WyldLife leader.
Here are a few reasons we are especially thankful that you’re a WyldLife leader:
- You have energy and enthusiasm that makes WyldLife AWESOME!
- Middle schoolers LOVE IT when high schoolers hang out with them and sincerely care for them.
You bring something unique to WyldLife leadership. You help create an atmosphere that draws in middle schoolers. Way to go!
But there are also some important challenges to being a high school WyldLife leader. We want to talk about them here so you can think about your role and be the best WyldLife leader possible.
COMMITMENT: You’re probably a busy person. Most high school students are. Before you commit to being a WyldLife leader, be absolutely sure that you can follow through on what’s expected of you. You must be committed to your leadership team – attending all the scheduled meetings and clubs. And you must be committed to the WyldLife kids – attending not just the clubs but also whatever school events or contact work times you’re responsible for. Middle school students will notice if you’re not at club regularly. They’ll notice if you say, “See you at your concert,” and then don’t show up. They’ll notice if you say, “Let’s hang out sometime,” but then never make it happen.
It would be better for you to not be a WyldLife leader at all than to be a WyldLife leader who isn’t committed.
CONSISTENCY: It’s very important that the life you live outside of WyldLife club is the same as the life you live at WyldLife club where Jesus’ love is the focus and purpose for everything. That means Jesus should be the center of your words, actions, and decisions at home, with your friends, at school, at your jobs, and wherever else you may be. That’s a very high calling – but it really is that big of a deal. This also applies to all of your online communication and social media posting. Never post a picture or words that could jeopardize your influence as a WyldLife leader. If you’re ever unsure about whether something is okay or not, be on the safe side: wait and ask your leader what they think.
It would be better for you to not be a WyldLife leader at all than to be a WyldLife leader who lives a double life.
CULTIVATION: Even if you’re in high school, WyldLife leaders are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean you have everything about God figured out. You will still have questions. You’ll still have times when you struggle to understand God and life. You’ll still make mistakes and need God’s forgiveness. WyldLife leaders are not perfect people. No one is. But WyldLife leaders must be actively cultivating their own walk with Jesus and growing in their faith. If that’s not true of you, then the best thing might be for you to step back from WyldLife leadership for the time being.
It would be better for you to not be a WyldLife leader at all than to be a WyldLife leader who isn’t spending regular time with Jesus and growing closer to God.
ONE LAST THING: Your role as a high school WyldLife leader is a very big deal. You are not part of a JV squad. You are doing real ministry with real people who can understand real things about Jesus and can make real decisions about God. In other words, you are part of something that could be life-changing. Of course, you aren’t the one who will change someone’s life. Only God can do that. But you can make a difference in someone’s life by being committed, being consistent, and cultivating your own life with Jesus.
Middle school kids are The Best. They are worth the very best we can give them. When you invest in middle schoolers, you are doing God’s work, so do it the best you can!
THANK YOU FOR BEING A WYLDLIFE LEADER!
P.S. If you’re a high school WyldLife leader, we’d love to hear from you. What do you love about being a WyldLife leader? What have you learned about yourself? What have you learned about God? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts – we’d love to post them here to encourage other high school leaders.