Young Life celebrates success

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Establishing Davie County Young Life (DCYL) has been a “Great Adventure,” and that was the theme of the annual fundraiser Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Calvary Baptist Church West campus.

Justin Hepler, area director for Davie County, began the evening with an interactive game involving reversed charades, a few selected guests, audience participation, and plenty of laughter.

The light-hearted fun drew everyone in and prepared them to hear how Young Life changes lives. Attendance totaled 288 people who were moved to the point of giving $110,000. Thanks to nine sponsors of the banquet, 100 percent of funds raised will go directly to the annual budget.

A banquet committee transform ed Calvary Baptist Church West into an outdoor campsite complete with tents, a forest, campfires, and s’mores. Attending was a special guest, a stuffed beaver, named by the kids. What better name for this broad-tailed rodent other than “Justin” Beaver. Perhaps Davie’s Young Life has a mascot.

Young Life is an organization for adolescents. The staff and volunteers enter the world of kids, focusing on what matters to them — fun, adventure, friendship and a sense of significance. In doing so, they earn the privilege of talking to them about something that matters most of all — the truth about God and His love for them.

There are 5 C’s to the Young Life method: Contact work, Club, Campaigners, Camp and Committee. Contact work is what Hepler, his part-time staff, three leaders, and 17 high school/junior and senior leaders do in forming relationships with the kids.

Hepler regularly attends lunch and sporting events. Club  is a weekly “party with a purpose”  that welcomes everyone. Campaigners is a weekly Bible study for kids ready to dive deeper. Camp is a week in the summer where kids get away from the pressures of everyday life, having fun with friends and their Young Life leaders, and hear the message of God’s love in terms they can understand.

Fall Camp is a weekend long retreat. DCYL took 60 kids to Carolina Point in Brevard the weekend after the banquet. Committee is the adult involvement offering the foundation through financial, administrative and moral support to the ministry.    

DCYL Club meets Tuesdays at 7:32 p.m. at Miller’s Old Country Pizza Barn. More than 100 kids gather for this high-energy evening involving games, skits, songs and a simple message of how God loves them. DCYL Campaigners is held in the band room at Davie High School on Thursday mornings at 7:17. Hepler commented on his amazement that 20 kids wake up early to make it to these weekly Bible studies. Every high school aged teen is invited to all DCYL activities.

A few Davie High School students gave testimonies at the banquet to the impact Young Life has had on their lives. Jill Staley, George Haire, and  Micah Carroll  shared how Young Life welcomed them as they were and has helped them know Jesus for the first time or in a richer way. Several other students visited each banquet table sharing about friendships they have gained and their new understanding of God’s love for them.

Jonathan Murfee, a former Forsyth County Young Life area director for 17 years, explained to the 288 banquet guests how Young Life began in Davie County.

In 2010, he met with a few Davie residents to begin the process of bringing this ministry to Davie County. DCYL reaches more than 100  kids in the high school and has plans to begin the extension ministry of Wyldlife in the middle schools next year. Murfee defined the growth as a miracle and that watching God work in Davie County has been one of the highlights of his own Young Life career.

Brian Hancock, area director in Wayne County, spoke to the guests about Young Life being a place of refuge and guidance in his life while in high school. He spoke to the challenges that teens face today and how an adult coming alongside a lost teen can make a world of difference in their lives as it did in his. It made such a difference that he is passionate about building relationships with teens in order to show them that the true “Great Adventure” is pursuing a relationship with Jesus and living life out of the understanding of their loving Creator’s purpose in life for them.

If you would like to be involved with Young Life/Wyldlife, want to learn more, or to donate visit or contact Hepler at 828-713-8453.