Young Life

The information on this page was last updated 1/6/2023. If you see errors or omissions, please email: [email protected]


Young Life is a world class organization for adolescents. Our staff and volunteers enter the world of kids, focusing on what matters to them -- fun, adventure, friendship and a sense of significance. In doing so, we earn the privilege of talking to them about the good news of Jesus and His love for them. Kids' lives are dramatically impacted when caring adults come alongside them, and they begin to see that their lives have great worth, meaning and purpose.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Young Life
PO Box 520
Colorado Springs, CO 80901-0520


Phone: 877-438-9572


Organization details

EIN: 840385934

CEO/President: Newton F. Crenshaw

Chairman: Michael Stain / Nanette Ballbach

Board size: 28

Founder: Jim Rayburn

Ruling year: 2004

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 09/30

Member of ECFA: Yes

Member of ECFA since: 1980


Young Life is a worldwide organization for middle, high school and college students. Our staff and volunteers enter the world of kids, focusing on what matters to me--fun, adventure and friendship. In doing so, we earn the privilege of talking to them about something that we think matters most of all--the truth about God and His love for us. Founded in 1941, Young Life has more than 6,000 staff and 80,000 volunteers and is active in more than 100 countries reaching more than two million kids annually. Young Life leaders bring more than 200,000 kids each year to one of our 34 camping properties worldwide.

Mission statement

Our Mission is Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. We accomplish our mission by...

Praying for young people.

Going where kids are and building personal relationships with them.

Earning the right to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Providing fun, adventurous, life-changing and skill-building experiences.

Inviting kids to personally respond to the Good News and walking in friendship with them regardless of their response.

Preparing kids for a life-long relationship with Christ and a love for His word, His mission and the local church.

Working in community alongside like-minded adults (volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff).

Statement of faith

Article I

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the final and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

Article II

In the Scriptures, God reveals Himself as the living and true God, Creator of all things. Perfect in love and righteous in all His ways, this one God exists eternally as a Trinity of persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Article III

God made man and woman in His image that He might have fellowship with us. Being estranged from God by our disobedience, we are, as sinful people, incapable of a right relationship to God apart from divine grace.

Article IV

The only Mediator between God and all human beings is Jesus Christ our Lord, God's eternal Son, who as man fully shared and fulfilled our humanity in a life of perfect obedience.

Article V

By His death in our place, Jesus revealed the divine love and upheld divine justice, removing our guilt and reconciling us to God. Having risen bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven, He rules as Lord over all and intercedes for us as our Great High Priest.

Article VI

The Holy Spirit, through the proclamation of the Gospel, renews our hearts, persuading us to repent of our sins and confess Jesus as Lord. By the same Spirit we are led to trust in divine mercy, whereby we are forgiven all our sins, justified by faith through the merit of Christ our Savior, adopted into God's family as His children and enabled so to live in the world that all people may see our good works and the Gospel of grace at work in our lives and glorify our Father who is in heaven.

Article VII

God, by His Word and Spirit, calls us as sinful people into the fellowship of Christ's body. Thus He creates the one holy, catholic and apostolic church, united in the bonds of love, endowed with the gifts of the Spirit and summoned by Christ to preach the Gospel and to administer the sacraments, to carry on the ministry of reconciliation, to relieve human need and to strive for social justice.

Article VIII

God's redemptive purpose will be consummated by the return of Christ to raise the dead, judge all people and establish His glorious kingdom. Those who are apart from Christ shall be eternally separated from God's presence, but the redeemed shall live and reign with Him forever.

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Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Fellowship Evangelism

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating393 of 109411 of 33
Fund acquisition rating451 of 109713 of 33
Resource allocation rating157 of 10974 of 33
Asset utilization rating795 of 109422 of 33

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$6,246,885$7,101,246$6,976,346$4,667,665$4,205,706
Short-term investments$403,279$38,480,411$20,558,832$20,651,047$284,531
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$98,981,133$66,602,107$78,021,013$87,314,395$70,545,110
Long-term investments$19,670,122$31,275,957$28,357,534$10,073,548$8,987,918
Fixed assets$287,190,338$282,657,777$296,731,732$283,443,619$254,801,473
Other long-term assets$168,272$128,071$472,236$287,573$334,454
Total long-term assets$307,028,732$314,061,805$325,561,502$293,804,740$264,123,845
Total assets$406,009,865$380,663,912$403,582,515$381,119,135$334,668,955
Payables and accrued expenses$21,053,378$17,380,753$34,419,824$27,911,237$21,996,590
Other current liabilities$11,289$14,671$15,667$19,383$0
Total current liabilities$21,064,667$17,395,424$34,435,491$27,930,620$21,996,590
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$34,950$37,105$41,040$5,840,442$3,669,240
Total long-term liabilities$1,054,630$1,272,962$1,480,185$7,495,577$5,509,104
Total liabilities$22,119,297$18,668,386$35,915,676$35,426,197$27,505,694
Net assets20212020201920182017
Without donor restrictions$344,316,500$345,863,919$345,848,199$317,457,355$291,036,322
With donor restrictions$39,574,068$16,131,607$21,818,640$28,235,583$16,126,939
Net assets$383,890,568$361,995,526$367,666,839$345,692,938$307,163,261
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$366,368,337$318,999,920$337,381,455$332,944,426$282,754,773
Program service revenue$39,011,816$30,697,269$81,759,184$68,791,079$66,783,965
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$503,260$1,307,535$2,248,762$843,560$1,325,004
Other revenue($2,676,717)($8,178,405)($18,317,908)($2,947,997)($1,844,287)
Total other revenue$36,838,359$23,826,399$65,690,038$66,686,642$66,264,682
Total revenue$403,206,696$342,826,319$403,071,493$399,631,068$349,019,455
Program services$307,257,240$297,245,321$321,882,783$308,543,980$283,375,874
Management and general$32,510,454$33,715,041$27,467,346$29,623,905$25,873,018
Total expenses$361,052,770$352,258,397$370,926,245$358,047,855$327,920,020
Change in net assets20212020201920182017
Surplus (deficit)$42,153,926($9,432,078)$32,145,248$41,583,213$21,099,435
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$42,153,926($9,432,078)$32,145,248$41,583,213$21,099,435


Newton CrenshawPresident/CEO$527,236
John WagnerSVP Global Cities Initiatives$347,103
Wiley ScottSenior Vice President$292,762
Brent CunninghamSenior Vice President$291,147
Michael J GaffneySenior Vice President$262,480
John M CaldwellChief Foundation Officer$260,471
Paul CotyVice President$243,622
Chad EdwardsGroup Senior Vice President$238,880
Steve ThompsonCOO$238,213
Scott BrillCFO$232,161
Paul SherrillVice President/Secretary$200,054
Dave BriggsTreasurer$179,725
Janis MortonAsst. Secretary$112,075

Compensation data as of: 9/30/2021

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.

The information below was provided to MinistryWatch by the ministry itself. It was last updated 1/6/2023. To update the information below, please email: [email protected]


Young Life is a group of caring adults who go where kids are, win the right to be heard and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

The vision began in the early 1930s when an elderly woman, Clara Frasher, recruited a group of her friends to pray for the teenagers attending Gainesville High School in Texas. Six years later, during the spring of 1939, a young seminarian, Jim Rayburn, started a chapter of the Miracle Book Club in Gainesville, Texas, a small town 75 miles to the north of Dallas. As he was developing the program in Gainesville, Rayburn also worked with a local pastor, Clyde Kennedy.

Like Clara Frasher and her prayer circle, Kennedy was concerned about the town's teenagers, who showed no interest in engaging with traditional church programs. Realizing something must be done, Kennedy hired Rayburn to fill a part-time position within the church in order to accomplish something vital beyond its walls.

After exploring several possibilities, Jim decided that the best setting for the proclamation of the Gospel was at a Young Life club, held in the home of one of the kids. Club involved lively singing, a skit and a short talk about Jesus Christ. Jim believed that every kid had the right to hear the message of Jesus Christ and decide how to respond to the Gospel.

Young people who made the decision to follow Christ became involved in "Campaigners," a discipleship group where they participated in Bible study, prayer and sharing.

By 1944, Add Sewell, one of the first five staff members, discovered the key to going deep with kids: spending time with them on their turf. Add spent hours each week with kids, developing a relational style of outreach. Convinced that he had to win the right to be heard, he simply made friends with them. This approach eventually became known as "contact work," and it's been at the heart of Young Life's mission ever since.

Camping has also been a significant part of the Young Life ministry. Jim's vision in those early years led to the acquisition of several Colorado ranches. Today, 33 picturesque properties continue to provide magnificent backdrops against which to present the Gospel, while giving kids the best week of their lives at the same time.

Over the years, Jim gathered a group of gifted men and women around him and sent them out to start Young Life ministries to kids all over the United States. This was the Young Life staff.

Volunteer leadership - the backbone of Young Life - emerged from Wheaton College in the late 1940s. Staff persons found that they could multiply their efforts many times over by the strategic use of volunteer leaders. Today, more than 39,000 volunteer leaders work alongside staff persons to touch the lives of kids.

In 1950, Portland staff person Bill Starr developed a novel concept: the Young Life committee. This group of men and women lent their support to the local ministry. Today, committee and ministry support team members around the country number more than 18,000.

In 1953, Young Life went international with an outreach in France. Since then, incarnational evangelism has proven successful worldwide; Young Life ministries are now active in over 100 countries.

Beginning in the mid-1950s, Young Life broadened its focus to become a nurturing and healing presence for kids of all races; our multiethnic ministries share Christ as well as meet the unique needs of these kids.

Recognizing the need for quality training programs for staff, Young Life joined with Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977 to establish the Institute of Youth Ministries. This association provided a unique blend of graduate-level theological education and practical field experience for many years. The institute has now been replaced by expanded partnerships with several seminaries around the country.

In the late 1980s Young Life expanded its focus to include kids with special needs. Young Life ministries with kids with disabilities are in place in many areas of the country, allowing these kids to find their boundaries expanded, their lives enriched and their hearts warmed by the love of Jesus. We call this ministry, "Young Life Capernaum."

Doors of ministry to yet another group of kids - teenage moms - opened with the beginning of the YoungLives program. Young moms are matched with older experienced moms who are committed to providing support and friendship as well as the opportunity to consider the possibility of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Today, the Young Life mission is still committed to incarnational witness: embodying and expressing the love of Christ through relationships with all kinds of kids: WyldLife is our outreach to middle school kids, Young Life for those in their high school years, and Young Life College is our program for college and university students. In addition to the ministries mentioned above, Young Life reaches military teens through a program called Club Beyond and the Small Towns/Rural initiative brings Young Life to communities of fewer than 25,000 people.

Young Life... our history is rich and our future is promising. We are a group of adults who continue to be committed to the historic Young Life mission: befriending kids and allowing them to take a good look at the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Program accomplishments