I’ve discovered my passion. I think. As I’ve been working through the loss of a job, and then starting work again two months later at a different company, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what my “true passion” really is.
When I was much younger, I would have told you my passion was for golf. I distinctly remember having a conversation with my wife within the first year or two of marriage (20th anniversary coming up in December) that I could make it in professional golf if I had the opportunity to spend the majority of my day practicing and playing. Uh huh. Right. Thankfully she took the position of the wise person in our new marriage. While I know even now that I can be a much better golfer, I also know that I do not (never did) have the game of a pro.
So almost two decades later, what is my passion? Very simple. The para-church organization Young Life.
If you don’t know about Young Life, who they are and what they do, here’s a quote and a link to the “About” page on their website.
“Young Life brings the good news of Jesus Christ into the lives of adolescents with an approach that is respectful of who kids are and hopeful about who they can be.”
I have been involved with Young Life since I was in the 10th grade in 1986-87. I was a club kid and camper (Castaway and Wilderness Ranch) in high school. Since then I have been involved through fundraising committees (golf outings), personal financial giving, volunteering, and most importantly as the proud supporter of my twin brother.
My twin brother, Chris Theule-VanDam, is currently the Regional Director for Young Life’s Western Great Lakes Region. Where I was a participant in Young Life, Chris became fully engaged. He discovered his passion for life in Young Life. He caught the vision of what it truly meant to be involved in a “relational ministry”. Chris went to college with the intent of entering youth ministry. He was a leader in local Young Life groups near his college. He became a Young Life Church Partner when he graduated. He was instrumental in growing a specific geographic area from having a small Young Life presence, to having a huge presence. What began as a small ministry in a few schools, turned into a large enough ministry that it needed a full time Area Director. The local organizing committees (kind of like a board of trustees) asked him to take the position. He was perfect for it. He is also a perfect fit, as well as uniquely prepared and called, to be the current Regional Director for the Western Great Lakes Region.
How does this relate to my passion for Young Life?
I knew early on in college that I did not have the gift for relational ministry that God blessed my brother with. Once I graduated from college, and was working, I told people that while Chris was in ministry, I was working to be the financial support for him and his colleagues. I had a talent for asking people for money. For selling. Selling people on the mission of Young Life and encouraging them to donate money was my plan.
For the past 18-20 years that has been my plan. And while I’ve always held to the plan, I don’t believe I’ve been very successful at it. I allowed “life” to get in the way. The time has come for this to change. Young Life is still my passion. I wholeheartedly believe in the mission of Young Life. I also believe that people like my brother should not have to spend so much time drumming up financial support for themselves. Young Life Staff is responsible for raising their own support. It is time for me to step up and remove that burden from some of them. I don’t have the personal resources to fully fund even one staff member. I do however have the God given talent to find the right people to join together in fully funding many staff members.
God woke me up to my passion a week or so ago. My new job has returned to me 20-25 hours a week of time to spend with my family and on my passion for Young Life. Over the next few weeks I will continue to write about Young Life. I will spend time directing my planning towards new and creative ways to help fund Young Life Staff.
I look forward to sharing this new (renewed) passion with you.
**If you’d like to give to Young Life RIGHT NOW, click this link: http://www.younglife.org/Giving/