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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: April 26, 2011 03:28AM


Thank you for the admissions you have made here as a Young Life leader.

According to your statements Young Life routinely works with minor children without parental notification and consent.

You have admitted that other than sleepover situations Young Life has no set rules of procedure requiring each child to take home a written notification and return with a signed consent form is "not required." You state, "It is illogical to believe that Young Life would have to require parental consent in order for a child to show up..."

This means children can potentially be proselytized through Young Life without a family being fully informed and without their explicit written consent.

I wonder if you would appreciate Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses working with your minor child without your knowledge and consent?

"Young Life" as an organizational name, is "very vague" and doesn't really clearly identify the nature and purpose of the group. It isn't simply a kids "camp" or social club.

Young Life is essentially a very specific type of religious organization, i.e. a fundamentalist Christian religious outreach/missionary organization, which targets minor children for religious indoctrination.

Families that are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist or secular should be aware of this, otherwise their children may be indoctrinated in another faith.

Families that are Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox or from a more liberal mainline Protestant denomination, may also wish to keep their children out of Young Life.

I have received many complaints from families about Young Life. And in each of these situations the family did not learn precisely what what Young Life was all about in meaningful detail, until their child had been directly affected by the preaching/proselytizing involved.

At times teachers in public schools have promoted Young Life. Typically the teacher is an evangelical Christian and therefore sympathetic to the group and its agenda. It is very questionable ethically and in certain cases legally, for a public school teacher to use his or her position of authority to promote a particular religious point of view.

If a family is evangelical Protestant and therefore appreciates the tenets of fundamentalist Christianity they may have no problem with Young Life influencing their children. However, if the family is not affiliated with an evangelical denomination (e.g. Southern Baptist, Evangelical Free Church, Church of the Nazarene, American Baptist Convention, Assemblies of God, Missouri Synod Lutheran, etc.) Young Life can potentially become a serious problem. That is, if a child is converted to a religious belief that the family does not endorse and/or support. Subsequently, this could potentially cause family arguments and even estrangement.

I have received complains from parents who said, "My child told me that I was going to hell, if I didn't accept what Young Life taught them."

Sadly, according to your admissions on this message board, a parent may not learn about ongoing religious indoctrination that is taking place until it is pretty far along.

As you say, kids are "more willing to listen to what you have to say if they know more about you...we have discussions with kids to help them find out what a relationship with Christ looks like for them if they choose to follow that path."

Plainly put Young Life uses its a friendship approach through social gatherings, camps and other activities to promote a specific religious point of view to minor children. You get to know kids with the hope that you can use that personal social connection as part of a proselytizing plan.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2011 03:30AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: biggun223 ()
Date: April 26, 2011 04:58AM

You bring up a point that could be brought to any belief at all whether it be Christian or any other. 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. If a child shows up to Young Life, we will not tell them they have to leave because we haven't asked their parents yet. At the same time that you are accusing me of proselytizing, you are doing the same yourself by trying to change my mind and my thinking about an organization. Just because you believe you are right or because I believe I am right doesn't make it so. I am sorry if someone told a kid he would go to hell if he didn't believe what they told him at Young Life, but I will say that as a Christian, I believe in the Bible, and there are certain situations when someone will be sent to hell according to the Bible. Young Life the name is a name that I feel is open, and that's what I feel Young Life is, open. That's why I am on here. We do not encourage kids to not talk to their parents, but rather the opposite, and would hope that more parents would call the Young Life office to find out what it is about and what their kids are doing while at club, campaigners, camp, and any other Young Life event, but that simply does not happen due to people having things to do in their own lives. I am open to discussion about any questions you may have. It is a parent's responsibility to be involved in their lives enough to realize what's going on. Putting the blame on an organization with certain beliefs is misguided. On the other side of things, if a kid were not allowed to come to Young Life because of a religious belief or same other discrepancy, there would be legal implications. Evangelical is a relative term. An opinionated person, whether Christian or not, is evangelical, because he believes his opinion is right and chooses to express that. So, in those terms, this forum is evangelical, because it expresses opinions contrary to the organizations that are on it. Whether you choose to believe in something or not, their is still belief involved. You just choose to believe in something different.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: Alex718 ()
Date: April 26, 2011 09:58AM

>It is a parent's responsibility to be involved in their lives enough to realize what's going on. Putting the blame on an >organization with certain beliefs is misguided. On the other side of things, if a kid were not allowed to come to Young >Life because of a religious belief or same other discrepancy, there would be legal implications.

That statement is simply wrong. You are talking about minor children; the blame would go squarely on the organization if it were up to a court whether or not it was that organization's responsibility to inform the guardians of a child. And likewise, no court is going to create "legal implications" if a child were not to attend Young Life for whatever reason.

If we used the phrases satanic worship, illegal drug use, or car theft in place of Christianity in terms of what your group promotes, there would be no question that people would have a problem with your lack of parental communication. The fact that Young Life appears at first glance to be a fun youth group that just talks about Jesus gets it a pass for a lot of people.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: biggun223 ()
Date: April 26, 2011 11:53AM

What do you honestly think it is? You are making inferences about an organization that you know nothing about from what other people have told you. Have you been to a Young Life meeting? Have you talked to a leader? Have you talked to your son who is becoming a leader? We don't push a belief on anyone. I never felt pressured as a kid in Young Life nor do I try to pressure the guys I hang out with. I'm trying to meet them on their level. The last thing I want to do is break up a family. I have seen a number families becoming stronger through Young Life. Our "group" (it's an non-profit Christian organization and makes no effort to hide that fact. It's on the website.) promotes nothing more than what the Bible says. Pure and simple. I understand if you disagree, but if your child were to show up to my club, he would hear the same message that I will say to any other kid and that is what I personally have learned from reading the Bible. He is required to do nothing. As a minor (up to age 17) children are under the supervision of their parents or legal guardians. Young Life has never hidden what kind of an organization it is. It is a Christian outreach program for high school students. Our goal is to tell kids about Jesus through forming relationships with them. That is the position of all Christian organizations as far as I know. I don't claim to know all of the answers, but I would say that just because something makes you uncomfortable, doesn't mean you should go around bashing it. Young Life has changed my life tremendously. I am moving on from Young Life after this year and my faith in God is stronger because of it. It's a personal journey that I am on with God. Just because it's not the way you want things done does not mean that it is a cult.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: April 26, 2011 10:31PM


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.

See []

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.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: Sparky ()
Date: April 26, 2011 11:28PM

If a minor child of mine came home and told me he/she went to a "club" with their new adult "friends" without my, or my spouse's, consent I would rain Holy Hell down upon your org.

I would do everything within legal means to punish your org harshly; everything from filing police reports, reporting your org to State officials, to contacting news organizations and dropping hints of "improper contact with my child", (which would be child was improperly contacted and removed from my authority without my knowledge)...who knows if touching was involved? That just helps sell newspapers and advertising on TV and I am sure the reporters would run with that in a heartbeat to please their boss.

After doing all these things, I would finally end by contacting a vicious and money-hungry lawfirm (more than one lawyer, bub) and help them burn your organization to the ground.

You have NO authority to have ANY type of contact with a minor child without the authority of the parents. Minors CANNOT enter into legal contracts until age 18 in the USA. Learning your version of Christianity is, in my opinion, SELLING something to a Minor when the minor can't enter a contract legally


I would add, I know nothing personally about you or your group. Maybe you are all saints. I am showing how I would (and WILL) react if you put me in this situation. You know nothing of my belief system and I would be offended and angered like apparently many families are. I would just make it my duty to go to war with you and yours.

Rethink consent forms or something like I have stated WILL eventually happen to you and your org.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/26/2011 11:39PM by Sparky.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: biggun223 ()
Date: April 27, 2011 02:49AM

Look, this is a forum for discussion. Attitude is not needed. We don't force these kids to come, but if they are interested I'm going to tell them about Jesus. I am not denying the fact that we are an evangelical organization, and some parents may not like that, but you have to realize that we have a lesson planned (like at any function) and we are going to teach that lesson regardless of who does or doesn't show up. You pass judgment without knowing what the organization is doing. It may be skewed in other places, but in my experience there is nothing shady going on. There are 20-100 kids at every club, usually with their friends there. This isn't a shady thing. Parents can check it out and usually the clubs are held at another kids house, not at one of the leader's houses. And as far as your burn your organization to the ground talk won't happen. This is a worldwide organization that exists in 27 different countries and all over the US. Chances are any law firm you find has some sort of tie to Young Life. Threatening is no way to get your point across.

Also, you keep saying minors. We don't minister to 10 year olds. Most kids we minister to are 15-18 years old more commonly known as adolescents. They get there through their own means. We don't pick them up or bring them home. These kids want to come. If there parents don't want them to come and they care so much about their kids, then why don't they know what their kids are doing or where they are going? You are placing the blame on an organization because you don't have the time or make the effort to realize what your kids are doing. @ rrmoderator Also, do you think that these parents may be placing the blame on Young Life for problems that happen usually during adolescence? Typically, teenagers rebel during their adolescent stages. Kids may form opinions about certain things having nothing to do with Young Life, but yet the parents blame this rebellion on Young Life, because they attend Young Life meetings when it may have happened regardless. Young Life is supported by parents in the community financially. It wouldn't be smart to tell kids to rebel from their parents. My questions to the parents is why aren't you asking your teenagers what they are doing when they're not at home. If you don't like them playing football, then ask them if they are playing football. If you don't want them playing on the chess team, then tell them to not play on the chess team. If you don't want them to go to Young Life, then tell them to not go to Young Life.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: April 27, 2011 04:19AM


Your response is arrogant and condescending to say the least.

Attempting to blame parents for the problems your organization has caused isn't a meaningful response.

Working with adolescent minors without parental notification and consent is unethical.

If Young Life wants to work with minors then the responsibility lies with Young Life to notify the parents in writing and obtain their written consent, unless the parents specifically first requested and then approved of such religious indoctrination for their children.

No parent deserves having their child come home indoctrinated in beliefs that they don't share and did not approve of beforehand.

Basic respect for parental rights and the family should preclude this type of unsolicited and unapproved of evangelism.

A parent could potentially file a lawsuit against Young Life over the issue of abrogating parental authority with a minor. And I think it's unlikely that the defense you have outlined here would prevail in court.

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: jims ()
Date: April 27, 2011 10:45AM

Wow... I need to check the email more often, I guess. I've missed alot! I agree with multiple points on both sides of the discussion. Let's just acknowledge the fact that we are all clever enough to manipulate key phrases and sentence fragments to make each other sound absurd... Maybe, from here, we can reach some kind of better understanding?
So, I understand the written consent issue, but I'm also slightly confused about some things. If a high schooler decides to join an after school club (maybe a glee club, or a debate team) parental consent isn't required.. Is it? No sarcasm here, I'm honestly asking. I don't recall that being the case. Permission slips and things of that nature are only produced when there is travel or some sort of risk of injury involved, right?
Also, I just got off the phone with one of my YoungLife high schoolers. He is 17 years old and just started working at his first job three weeks ago. His parents know he has a job because he told them, but there was nothing throughout the entire hiring process that required a parent/guardian signature.
Is this any different from a kid attending YoungLife? It's just another thing kids are involved in, outside of school. They don't even sign up saying they are "doing YoungLife". They come or they don't...
I stick to my original statment, that parents need to know who their kids are spending time with. I can't argue the fact that some families would not agree with what YoungLife teaches/stands for. But that is exactly why you talk with your kids and find out what they are up to! If you're racist, you might not want your kid to have friends of other ethnicities, but if your kid doesn't believe that, it'll happen, whether you're aware of it or not.
Rrmoderator, you are correct in stating that I wouldn't want Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses working with my minor child without my knowledge and consent. I wouldn't! I have different beliefs. That's why you talk with your kids, though! If you care, you ask! Right?
If you're kid is involved in something you don't like or agree with, talk to your kid.. If that doesn't work, confront the organization... If you still aren't satisfied, seek whatever legal action you feel entitled to! But, Sparky, settle down... Anyone can make up lies about people... But, in the end, the truth will set you free.. ;-)

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Re: Young Life?
Posted by: Chris Morris ()
Date: April 27, 2011 12:23PM

Biggun 223:

As I look back on my childhood (a small part of it involving Young Life which I found to be shoved down my throat by my step-mother and father), I can remember my step mom and dad were planning a family trip for us, and a friend of my choice (ended up being my best friend Drew, we were sophomores in high school).

I invited him, it was to go to Lake Champion in NY state. I told him about it and we both thought it sounded cool and my parents paid for him to go so of course his parents were cool with it. It was a vacation with my family. His parents were told by mine that we were going to Lake Champion in NY that's it.

We got there and soon found out what it was really about. We couldn't believe it...longest weekend of my life. I don't know if I was more angry about being there and made to sing rediculous songs and watch stupid skits, or because I was "dooped" or fooled into going when i was told it was one thing when it was really another.

As I was reading these posts I realized just now how angry Drews parents must have been upon his return. That my parents took their son out of state to an evangelical camp and tried to convince him that if he didn't go to church and join his organization that he would go to hell.

For them to try to brainwash me is one thing.

For them to try to brainwash another's child without parental consent is another.

By the way, I don't speak to my dad or step-mom anymore. Their very heavily involved in Young Life and I feel as though anyone this wrapped up in an organization such as this one are trying to hide behind something. I feel that way about all the people I've met from Young Life as most are fairly creepy (anytime adults hang out with 15 year olds is pretty creepy).

Bottom line is that YL should have gotten a consent form signed. I can't believe that this is allowed to go on. I'd flip if if I found out this was going on behind my back. It's maliciously deceptive on several fronts.

I would so recommend a consent form get signed before teenagers can go to these "club" meetings, or expect lawsuits.

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