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Welcome! Young Life celebrates 11th year in area, organization seeking donations for mission

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The Shelby-Tipton County Young Life chapter has some new faces in leadership roles.

On Oct. 30, staff associate Wes Wagner reintroduced himself to the area after help start up the Arlington High School Young Life about a year ago. Wagner opened up the 2018 Young Life Banquet: A Legacy Worth Sharing at the Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington.

After the departure of Luke Sadler to Jackson to kickoff the Young Life program there, Wagner stepped up in the leadership roles for other area schools like Millington Central High School.

Wagner reflected on the guidance of Sadler for Millington. Now Wagner and student staff member Chance Taylor have taken over in Flag City bringing the message of Jesus Christ to the students. Taylor is a recent graduate of MCHS and is currently a sophomore at The University of Memphis.

He came back to his alma mater to continue the purpose of Young Life. The Young Life legacy began in 1943 when founder Jim Rayburn brought the traveling tent campaign to Shelby Forest.

Young Life tries to impact local teenagers throughout the Memphis area. Back in 2007, Young Life and volunteering parents came together to establish the first Young Life Club at MCHS.

The past 11 years has seen the programs and organization grow to Shelby-Tipton County Young Life with Arlington and Tipton-Rosemark Academy on board.

Young Life uses contact work with leaders going out into the world of the teenagers building relationships with them. The next method is Club held at for the teens at a regularly scheduled time.

The children then have a chance to attend a camp to share their testimonies, experience adventure and hear the message of the Gospel. The final way Young Life reaches the teenagers is through campaigners.

Wagner addressed the full house of supporters about the success of Young Life throughout this transition period. Many of the students acknowledged they miss Sadler but they are enjoying the time with Wagner and Taylor.

Taylor came to the stage and reflected on how he was introduced to Young Life. Now he is a mentor to teenagers like Kaleb Macklin. Macklin, an MCHS senior, shared how tragedy motivated him to cling to a Higher Power. Now he is thriving in Young Life.

With the audience seeing first hand the purpose of Young Life, Chairperson Lynn Tillman came to the stage to breakdown the 2018-19 budget of $190,000. Staff compensation is $49,000 and the direct ministry is a total $90,000. And the campership is $51,000.

About 87 percent of Young Life’s funding come from individual families. Then 10 percent comes from local foundations and grants. The final 3 percent is donated by local churches.

The local committee members for Young Life are Lynn Tillman, Joe & Tina Baltensperger, Melia Garey, Jessica Carfield, Jon Mark & Katie Shirley, Heather Kee, Dick & Nancy Barnhart and Bob & Dianne Baker. The banquet sponsors were Homer Skelton Millington Ford, Reed Family Dentistry, Patriot Bank, An IV LLC, Bethany Huffman CPA, Boatwright Pharmacy.

For the future, Young Life is expanding with WyldLife targeting middle school children with Arlington and TRA middles. Young Life is trying to expand to Bartlett, Munford and Brighton high schools.

Young Life is thriving at MCHS, TRA and Arlington. Volunteers and staff are investing in the lives of more than 500 children each week all over Shelby County and Tipton County. For more information, call 215-4481 or visit or e-mail

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November 2018
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