No one here has said that Young Life is a "cult."
Campus Crusade for Christ and Youth for Christ, are examples of evangelical religious organizations that have chosen to identify their religious agenda within their names.
"Young Life" has not.
I have interviewed both Young Life leaders and members.
I have received serious complaints from families about Young Life. The organization caused these families serious problems. The families would not have approved of their child's involvement if fully informed from the very beginning (initial contact with their child), but they were not informed. They only found out when their child was profoundly influenced by the group's religious indoctrination, which led to family conflict.
Young Life has chosen to target minor children in its proselytizing efforts. The organization has the responsibility to inform families from the point of initial contact, not families.
Attempting to place the responsibility and blame on families is wrong. They have no obligation to call you. It is you that are obligated to contact them to seek permission whenever you begin to initially work with a minor child.
You say, "The last thing I want to do is break up a family."
If this is true then you should require every minor child to take home a consent form after first contact with that child. This form should fully inform the parent
and/or legal guardian that Young Life is an evangelistic Christian organization with its religious creed specifically included. The form should provide space for the signed approval/permission of the parent. It should be required that the signed completed form be returned and kept on file at the Young Life office before any further contact with that child.
In my opinion if this is not done Young Life is not operating in an ethical manner regarding its contact with minor children.
Parents have the exclusive right to determine the religious involvement of their own minor children.
You say, "I personally would want my child to have all options available to them so that they could decide for themselves what they choose to believe."
However, you don't have the right to make that choice for the children of other families.
You say, "...we will not tell them they have to leave because we haven't asked their parents yet" and yet you admit that you are a "Christian outreach program..."
What you call "outreach" amounts to proselytizing minor children without parental consent.
Evangelical Christians support Young Life.
The National Association of Evangelicals defines an evangelical as someone:
* who believes that the Bible is authoritative
* who has had a born-again experience
* who shares this message of faith.
To evangelize means you explain your beliefs to others with the view that they might want to adopt your beliefs.
A Princeton University study listed the following denominations as being evangelical:
Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, black Protestants, African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Church of Christ, Churches of God in Christ, Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, National Baptist Church, National Progressive Baptist Church, Nondenominational, Pentecostal denominations, and the Presbyterian Church in America.
Perhaps those parents who support these churches would have no problem with Young Life.
But parents from other denominations and faiths may have serious problems with Young Life staffers sharing their message of faith with their children and in an effort to influence them to adopt those beliefs.