Asbury’s YBL Offers Leadership Training to High School Students – Asbury University
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Asbury’s YBL Offers Leadership Training to High School Students

February 19, 2024

The world needs strong leaders, and Youth Becoming Leaders: High School Christian Leadership and Global Transformation Institute (YBL) aims to help fill the gap with godly leaders. Through God’s direction and provision, high schoolers nationwide are stepping up through YBL and the year-round programming offers, including summer camps at Asbury University.

Last summer, 16-year-old Amelia walked into YBL unsure of how God could use her, a small-town girl from Indiana, to impact God’s Kingdom for the better. YBL provided a solid Christian community, classroom sessions, service projects, experiential learning, and mentor relationships. All these experiences strengthened her spiritual formation as a leader, and Amelia learned that God can use small opportunities to make big impacts in her local community and beyond.

“God calls us to do even small things in this world,” she said. “It could be as small as being willing to be interrupted in your daily life for the chance to introduce someone to the Kingdom of God.”

High school students like Amelia exist in churches worldwide. At Asbury, we believe they can be great leaders now and in the future, and students are challenged to stand out as incredible leaders and innovative thinkers who long to walk with God. YBL at Asbury exists to equip those students through interaction with University and Asbury Theological Seminary (ATS) faculty that can guide them in studying complex topics and issues surrounding church life.

YBL alumnus Thomas learned the power behind prayer. “Perhaps prayer is powerful because of how relational it is,” Thomas said. “I believe that God is sovereign over all things, yet he listens to our pleas because he cares for us. And when I know that someone else is actively praying to Almighty God for me, it fills me with a unique hope and confidence.”

Last summer’s YBL participants heard from Asbury faculty Dr. Brian Hull (Christian Ministries), Dr. Joy Vaughan (Bible), Dr. Suzanne Nicholson (New Testament), Dr. Brian Shelton ’89 (Theology), and ATS faculty, Dr. James Hampton (Practical Theology) and Dr. Jay Moon (Intercultural Studies). Keynote speakers included author Teesha Hadra and ATS professor Rev. Dr. Chris Bounds ’88, exposing YBL students to graduate-level connections through the seminary.

Alongside these transformative academic teachings and excellent keynote speakers, participants served with the Providence School, the local alternative high school in Jessamine County. It further guided them to become leaders in their communities and churches.

Also, YBL boosted the students’ confidence in themselves as God’s creation when they returned home.

“I have faith in this generation, because at YBL I saw their incredible gifts, knowledge, and most importantly, love for God,” YBL counselor Hope Odubena ’22 said.

After YBL, students created and implemented a ministry project for their community in partnership with their local churches. These projects included student-led Bible studies, childcare for teen moms, clothing and food drives, abortion awareness, and other community outreaches.

However, they also learned that they cannot lead ministries alone. Each student selected a mentor from their community to help them implement their ministry projects. The mentors came to campus for training during the final 24 hours of the program, after which students continued growing with their chosen mentor for the next three months through the help of a YBL-provided curriculum. 

This combination of theology, practicality, and spiritual formation has led more than 50 percent of YBL students to attend Asbury for their college education. The University has officially taken YBL under its umbrella for this school year, after the successful completion of YBL’s eight-year run with a Lilly Foundation grant. YBL and Asbury together create a community of growth and support for these young leaders, and we are humbled to have such creative and Spirit-led hearts and minds on our campus.

For 2024, the theme, “Who is my Neighbor?” comes from the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 and commences with the June 3-12 session. Applications are due March 15, 2024. Interested high school students, parents, youth leaders, and pastors can visit to learn more, recommend a student, and apply. If you are interested in supporting YBL and its mission to engage young leaders, please visit the YBL webpage for more information on how to give through prayer and donations.