I have written number of posts in the last couple of years about the developing Young Life area in Burlington (Chittenden County), VT. Last week, I was 30 miles west of Burlington, across the pond (Lake Champlain) in Plattsburgh, NY. As a result of some contacts made by our local staff in Saranac Lake, there is now a group of people who are interested in establishing Young Life in Plattsburgh.
Plattsburgh is a city of about 20,000 people, and is situated in Clinton County, population 80,000. The county is the home to 8 public school districts, and one SUNY state college. Clinton county is in the northeast corner of New York State. It borders Canada to the north and the Adirondack mountains lie directly to the west.
If you are interested in what one of these trips looks like, here was my itinerary:
- 3pm–Left Burnt Hills for the 2.5 hour drive up I-87 to Plattsburgh.
- 5:30–Arrived at the home of Jose and Mary Beth, my hosts for the evening. Had dinner with them and their two sons, learned about their sheep and chickens.
- 6:30–People began arriving for the Young Life interest meeting. 9 in attendance. Showed a video explaining Young Life, answered questions, prayed, and made plans for our next meeting.
- 9pm–“Postgame” chat with Jose. Talked about the need for Young Life and shared parenting stories.
- 10pm–Called home to check in with Becky before bed.
- 7am–Breakfast with the whole family before the children left for school.
- 8am–Weekly conference call with our regional development team.
- 9am–Jose and I met with a young pastor at Starbucks. Listened to him talk about what he has learned about the area and the people in it since moving here recently.
- 10:30–Jose drove me around town. Tour and a prayer on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh, then prayed at Plattsburgh HS and at Beekmantown HS.
- 11:30–Brad, local YL staff from Saranac Lake joined us at the Ground Round for lunch with two more pastors. Good conversation about unity in Christ, and the needs of kids in the area.
- 1:30pm–One last meeting at a church with a pastor and a youth worker. Explained Young Life’s unique calling and approach to youth ministry. Prayed together and got a tour of the church building.
- 3pm–Left for home on a clear sunny day. Stopped to get a picture of the Plattsburgh sign for my blog update.
Our next meeting is scheduled for March 3rd. Over the spring, we hope to be able to be able to build a local committee and find some leaders either in the community or at the college. If all goes well, ministry could begin as early as this fall. Many of the lessons we learned “across the pond” in Burlington may very well help us develop the ministry here. I’m particularly excited about being able to leverage the support of Brad, our staff person in nearby Saranac Lake.
The work that I’m doing has to be fueled by prayer. I don’t spend enough time in these places to “manufacture” results. I’m learning that my role is to prayerfully initiate contacts and look for what God is already doing. I would be pleased if you would join me in prayer for the teenagers in Clinton County, that they would have an opportunity to see and know Jesus. Thank you!