A Look at our Past, Present, and Future

Young Life Past

In 1939, Jim Rayburn, a young Presbyterian youth leader and seminary student in Gainesville, Texas, was given a challenge. A local minister invited him to consider the neighborhood high school as his parish and develop ways of contacting kids who had no interest in church. Rayburn started a weekly club for kids. There was singing, a skit or two and a simple message about Jesus Christ. Club attendance increased dramatically when they started meeting in the homes of the young people.

By 1946, Young Life had moved to a new headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the staff had grown to 20 men and women across several states. Volunteer leadership began at Wheaton College in Illinois in the late 1940s, and today Young Life clubs depend heavily on the mission’s 35,000 volunteer leaders.
Prior to the 1960s, Young Life had directed its ministry almost completely to suburban high school students. By 1972, it had begun ministries in approximately 25 multiethnic and urban areas. Today, Young Life has more than 750 multiethnic ministries reaching more than 150,000 inner-city, racially under-represented and poor young people.
Since 1967 (continuously since 1982), Young Life leaders have reached thousands of kids in the Wilmington area and offered them a message of hope through genuine friendship. Click here to watch a video about Young Life's "Big Dream". 



Young Life in the Present

Port City Young Life presently has 30 volunteer leaders, 2 full-time staff and 2 part time staff persons. There are 15 adults who serve on the Young Life Committee.

Last year, over 1,500 kids from the Port City area were actively involved in some facet of Young Life and our leaders spent over 8,000 hours investing in the lives of kids through contact work, club, campaigners, and camp.
This year, we hope to involve over 120 kids in a weekly basis at club and take 100 kids to Young Life camp. We have active clubs at Laney HS, New Hanover HS, Ashley HS, and Hoggard HS, as well as Young Life College.
The Future of Young Life
As much as we celebrate all that God has done in 40-plus years of Young Life in Wilmington, we know that there is still work to do!  We have a strong desire and plan to start WyldLife, Young Life's ministry to middle schoolers, in the near future. We are hoping to grow and expand out college ministry, and are excited for the restart of Young Life at New Hanover High School.
If you were "Made for This" and interested in partnering with Port City Young Life to reach adolescents in our community with a message of hope in Christ, please contact us.

Young Life Port City | PO Box 12574 Wilmington, NC 28405-0130

Phone: (803) 646-4458

Connect With Us: