Christian ministry welcomes new members

Laurel Deppen

The Young Life Club, a Christian ministry that is always open to people regardless of religious beliefs, begins the year by welcoming new leaders and club attendees. Their mission, says leader Joey Badinger, is to build a Christ-centered community.

“We’re just trying to meet students of all walks of life on campus and just try to invite them out here and just talk about Christ. Honestly, [we want to] just go through life with them,” Badinger said.

To strengthen the foundations of their faith and their relationships with one another, each year the group plans a trip for spring break.

“We want many students to go because it’s just a really awesome way to enjoy spring break,” Badinger emphasized. “It’s just really cool to be with students who share the same beliefs [as you] and are looking out for the best in you and to go on spring break with them and just have a great experience.”

Young Life groups from other colleges such as the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville will also attend. To keep their members in suspense and to build intrigue, the destination will not be announced until the next meeting.

The club’s outreach is not only limited to WKU’s campus. Young Life leaders work in both middle and high schools as religious mentors and as a support system to younger students. They build relationships with middle and high school students by engaging with them on their interests, attending their events and by being a presence in their life as a confidant.

“The relationship is pretty much a friendship,” Riley Greif, an aspiring Young Life leader said. “Most leaders are college age or a few years out of college because they are able to understand what the kids are going through, and it can be hard for kids to connect to some one 30 years older than them.”

Young Life leaders see their role as a crucial one in the students’ lives. They believe it is less of a club and more of a responsibility to younger people.

Greif shared her own experience with Young Life leaders and how they inspired her to become one.

“I have found them to be pretty honest about where they are at currently and how they were when they were in high school,” she said. “They don’t sugarcoat it. Leaders are always open to any questions the students might have about anything. They listen. I know for me, whenever I was really struggling with something I would text my leader and say, ‘Hey do you want to go to Starbucks? I need someone to talk to,’ and she would drop whatever she was doing and be there for me.”

This kind of passion is something common amongst Young Life leaders and members alike. Leaders emphasize how important they feel their mission is and how their reach is not only limited to Christians. Badinger stressed the importance of this accepting nature.

“[This is] not like an exclusive club, but one that accepts everyone, just as Jesus accepted everyone…All are welcome,” Badinger said.

Laurel Deppen can be reached at (270)745-2655 and [email protected].