Greenwood, SC – When Greenwood Young Life resumes its Monday night events next week, both high school and college students will be in attendance. Michael Sauer, the Area Director of Greenwood Young Life, described Greenwood Young Life as a ministry serving local high school students through fun, adventure and friendship. “Our mission is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with high school kids in the community,” said Sauer. The Monday night events, called “Club,” are for high school students in Greenwood and include games, singing of pop songs as well as contemporary Christian songs, and conclude with a leader delivering a message called a “Club Talk,” which typically includes a personal story and a Scripture passage. While Young Life is for high schoolers, college students participate by serving as the volunteer leaders. The college leaders help set up on Monday nights and lead the games, with a leader delivering the Club Talk at the end. After Monday night Club, the college leaders join the high school students at Cookout or Sonic for additional fellowship.
In his second year as the Greenwood Area Director, Sauer noted the importance of volunteer leaders, saying,
“Young Life would not be possible without volunteers.”
He said that with several college leaders graduating last year, Greenwood Young Life is looking for new leaders. Prior to coming to Greenwood, Sauer was a volunteer leader for Greenville Young Life while attending Furman University. He described the role of a college volunteer as being a serious commitment in order to be successful in reaching out to high school students.
Regarding the commitment from leaders, Sauer said that in addition to Monday Club, college leaders also attend lunches at the high schools at least once a week, hang out with high schoolers at sporting events, and lead small group Bible studies, called “Campaigners.” He added that while leading is a commitment, leaders will grow significantly in their faith through leading and become closer in their relationship with God. According to Sauer, a program called College Life is offered to college students considering leading. He added that College Life meets during the week and consists of hanging out and getting to know one another, and includes a devotion.
One of the volunteer leaders for Greenwood Young Life, Jenna Reese, was also involved as a high school student while she attended Greenwood High School. Reese, now a sophomore at Lander University, said that Young Life had a significant impact on her faith throughout high school. “Young Life showed me that following Jesus can be fun,” said Reese. She said that remaining involved with Greenwood Young Life as a college leader was a factor in her decision to attend Lander, adding that Greenwood Young Life feels like family and noted the friendships she has made through Young Life in high school and while leading in college.
Another current college leader that was involved in Greenwood Young Life while in high school is Jeremiah Grooms, who is a junior at Lander and transitioned from high school student to college leader his freshman year. Megan Odell, a senior, was involved in Young Life while at Dorman High School and became a volunteer leader in Greenwood during her sophomore year. Stuart Park, a junior, was new to Young Life when he began leading as a freshman. Park is now in his third year as a volunteer leader and said that leading Young Life has been an important part of his college experience. Reese, Grooms, Odell, and Park, along with several students from Presbyterian College and Erskine have developed into a team which Reese again described as feeling like family. Reese mentioned that the team of college leaders has bonded closely in part because of the unity in its mission, echoing Sauer in saying that the mission is to share the Gospel with high schoolers. She noted that knowing the love of Jesus and developing a relationship with Him will be life changing.
During his involvement with Young Life, Sauer mentioned that he has seen lives of high schoolers change through Monday Club, Campaigners Bible studies, and summer camp trips, including Greenwood’s trip this past summer to the Frontier Ranch summer camp in Colorado. He said that the summer camp trips build authentic friendships and break down barriers between the students. To Sauer, the most rewarding aspect of leading has been seeing these students’ lives changing, saying “My favorite part of leading is watching a kid lost in life experience the love of Jesus for the first time.”