After several busy months of planning, strategizing, and praying, I am very pleased to announce our newest initiative at Lutherans For Life—Y4Life! Formerly known as Generations For Life, Y4Life is an initiative designed to reach out to the youth and young adults of our church and equip them, in their own unique context, to be Gospel-motivated voices For Life. Through educational materials, programs, and service training, Y4Life will help these students and young adults, part of Generation Y, answer the question that the name implies: Why should we be “For Life,” what does that look like in our lives, and how can we help others believe and act the same way?
Y4Life will seek to impact our youth and young adults through a combination of education, service learning, and relationship building. Lutherans For Life is already a leader in life-affirming and Gospel-centered educational materials for the church. Y4Life will help focus some of these new materials specifically to the younger generation. This includes the use of online media, like our Facebook page and Twitter accounts, downloadable materials, and other items on our website. It will also mean print and media materials that are specifically created to address the issues facing youth and young adults. Visit the Y4Life section of lutheransforlife.org in December for more information.
Another aspect of the education component of Y4Life will be training students, young adults, and their leaders on the different Life issues, how to defend their beliefs, and how to counsel those struggling with difficult decisions and past mistakes. We want to help them be as prepared as possible to face these challenges. More often than not, it is no longer a question of if these types of challenges will come up, but when they will come up. Y4Life is currently developing programs to equip youth and their leaders to answer these tough questions.
Generation Y is known for responding to actions more than words. That is why Y4Life will also be putting an emphasis on service learning in our programs. Starting in April, Y4Life will begin working with local churches and Lutherans For Life volunteers to host servant events for high school and college students. During these weekend-long “mini-mission trips,” students will have the opportunity to learn about how to defend their beliefs and how to put those beliefs in action in their own community. They will volunteer at local pregnancy centers, senior centers, and other life-affirming ministries, so that they can identify their personal gifts and passions and learn how to use them within the Life arena.
In all of the Y4Life programs, there will be an emphasis on relationship and team building. I hope that the experiences the students have at a training workshop or on a servant event will inspire them to continue their work through an active and ongoing Life team. Just as Renewal For Life® works to equip Life teams in congregations, Y4Life will be there to help start youth and student Life teams and continue to mentor them as they do work within their community. If you know of a student or young adult in your congregation who is passionate about Life, encourage them to start a Life team for their age group.
Although most of its programs and initiatives are new, Y4Life is a part of the ongoing strategic and future vision of Lutherans For Life. Renee Gibbs, a member of the National Board of Directors and the chairperson for the Y4Life board committee expressed that, through Y4Life, “our organization is better able to reach younger people who are so vital in the life arena. They give LFL the boost in energy, motivation, and enthusiasm we need. And we can better serve them, especially during their critical young adulthood when they hear lies from our culture and face challenges. Our Y4Life committee and LFL look with hope towards the future as we more fully embrace this wonderful age group.”
There are already ways in which you can help Y4Life achieve its mission and reach out to this critical generation. One of the first Y4Life programs in the new year will be a trip to Washington D.C. for the 2013 March for Life and Students for Life of American Conference with a group of students from Lutheran High School of St. Charles County, in St. Peters, Missouri. Lutherans For Life is providing seven individuals, including three high school students and two college students, with $250 scholarships to travel to Washington for a full life-affirming weekend of education and encouragement. If you are interested in sponsoring one of these scholarships or a partial scholarship, please contact me at email@example.com for more information.
I am very excited to see what God has in plan for Y4Life and am blessed and honored to be a part of it. I look forward to working with all of you in the future to equip the younger generation of leaders in this Life-saving ministry!