Words have power: A blunt message to Young Life leaders (and others)

When I read in a Young Life announcement, “Bring your friends” it is like nails on a chalkboard for me

I know this is done with good intentions but I have significant fear that we are communicating to kids that we care more about them bringing their friends to Young Life than we do about them. Or at the very least that they will be more appreciated if they don’t arrive alone.

It is not effective to tell people to bring their friends. They are either going to or not, but telling them to do so won’t change it.

Instead create an atmosphere that is irresistible, refreshing, inviting, transformative.

If we do that kids will be dying for their friends to experience it too.

May we never even flirt with making a person feel like their value to us is based on whether they bring their friends along with them.

Even better, may we always communicate to people  that they themselves are worth it.

*To be clear I have done all of these things, but wouldn’t do it again.

** This is all true for  things beyond YL – Churches, schools, fundraising events, awareness events, etc.

*** I understand that at times we need to inform people that all are welcome and you don’t have to belong to the club. But that can be done in a way that is clearly informative rather than a request.

**** I also understand that there are people who can and should be empowered to be an inviter, but that should not be done to mass audiences.


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