Kyle Wolf, a graduating college-aged WyldLife leader for Greater Lafayette WyldLife (Indiana) wrote this letter to himself as though he were still 18. He recently shared it with his full college-aged leadership team as a way to encourage and challenge them in the coming months and years.
With his permission, we’re printing it here, confident that it will help many others stay committed, excited, and passionate about being Young Life and WyldLife leaders.
To the 18-year-old Kyle,
What an amazing adventure you are about to begin. YoungLife and WyldLife will consume much of your time throughout college. Understand that by choosing to be a leader, you are sacrificing certain things– joining other organizations/clubs, relaxing during free time between classes, or maybe getting a job during the semester. But what I can tell you is that these sacrifices will be worth it. You will meet lifelong friends, grow closer to God, and feel a sense of accomplishment that is seldom found in worldly endeavors.
However, times will not always be easy as a leader. You’ll grow close to kids who will share heart-breaking stories of struggle and disappointment. You WILL feel their pain, because that’s what it means to be a minister. Caring for, loving, and struggling alongside individuals who have allowed you into their lives means giving all of yourself in a way that you have never experienced before. Young men will look up to you and trust you as you walk beside them. This is simultaneously a beautiful and a horrifying reality. As a young college student, that can be a lot of pressure in your life. Luckily, I have some good news – the BEST news. You are never alone in caring for those kids. God will walk beside you and help shoulder that weight every single step of the way. He will bless these four years in unimaginable ways. You will make lifelong friends who challenge you to become a better person and to grow closer to God. You will meet kids who change your life in unexpected ways. You will begin to realize the type of man that you are capable of being—the man that God created you to be.
Over the next four years, you will learn how to set up games/skits to make kids happy; that “Banana Club” is messy business that adds hours of cleanup to a long day; and that middle school track meets are great places to connect with middle school guys. But you will also learn how to have meaningful and non-threatening conversations about faith with teenagers; how to read the Bible purposefully; and how to grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus. Always remember which of these are your priority.
Four years…one thousand four hundred sixty-one days of your life will be dedicated to Greater Lafayette YoungLife and WyldLife. It will fly by faster than you can possibly imagine, so promise me that you won’t take it for granted. Step back from the frenzy and look around every once in a while, so that you’ll remember the faces and the moments; embrace both the good times and the hard times, and, most importantly, LOVE what you do. You were made for this!
Good Luck & God Bless,
Tecumseh WyldLife Leader 2013-2017