When We Drive by McSweeney’s Red Hots


On Friday, June 10, something big happened in the lives of teenagers in Plattsburgh, NY.

As you may know, one of the projects I have been working on this year is the development of a Young Life area in Plattsburgh NY.  You can read about the beginning stages of this effort in this post from January of this year: http://wp.me/p3vLYl-xr.

Any Young Life area, new or established, needs an engaged local committee of adults who pray for, support, and “own” the local work.  It follows, then, that building such a team of adults is a priority for building a proper foundation in a new area.  After holding a series of smaller monthly meetings, the core group of adults I was meeting with in Plattsburgh felt like the best strategy going forward would be to invite everyone they had talked to about Young Life to one big “launch meeting” in June.  They planned it for June 10, and the owner of McSweeney’s Red Hots opened up his restaurant for us and for the sake of kids.

On a sunny Friday evening last week, about 30 people gathered at McSweeney’s for desserts and a presentation on Young Life.  Several of the local adults shared their passion for the ministry and a teenager from nearby Burlington, VT shared about her experience with Young Life this year.  As the night went on, I had a chance to lay out our vision and our needs as we move forward.  Below is a summary of the response we received that night:

In addition to our core group of 9 or so people who had already made a commitment to serve on the committee, we had:

  • 6 people join the committee
  • 5 more indicate “maybe” for joining the committee, after taking some time to get more information
  • 9 couples indicate interest in supporting the ministry financially, including a $3,000 match challenge
  • one person indicate interest in becoming a leader
  • 13 other people who want to help with special needs we have along the way.

This response provides us with exactly the kind of foundation that we need to move forward.  From here, we will be working on orienting the committee members in their new roles, recruiting a team of volunteer leaders, raising the funds we need for operating costs, and praying for guidance as to where in this area to begin our first ministry.

Someday in Plattsburgh, NY, God willing, we will see:

  • the first volunteer leader show up in a community to do contact work
  • the first kids from Plattsburgh leave for a week at a Yong Life camp
  • the first young person decide to follow Jesus after a conversation with their leader
  • the first Campaigner group start to help kids grow in their faith
  • the first-ever Young Life or WyldLife club meeting.

Something big happened in the lives of teenagers in Plattsburgh on Friday, and years from now, if you ever drive by McSweeney’s Red Hots on Route 9 in Plattsburgh, you will know where it all started.

Dear Lord, give us the teenagers.  –Jim Rayburn



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2 thoughts on “When We Drive by McSweeney’s Red Hots

  1. Love it! Fun to know all the places you start. In the words of Tony Campolo as he described the “preach off” in his urban church – Keep goin’ Keep goin’