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Regional Young Life director takes on new role

With a strong desire to spread the Gospel and meet people where they are, local resident Jim Slinker and the area's Young Life program were a perfect fit.

"Through my 'career' as a minister of the Gospel over the past 40 years, I've been a student, a soldier, truck driver, warehouse worker, teacher, janitor, interpreter, pastor, co-pastor, church planter, directed a small Bible institute and most recently, an area director for Young Life," says Slinker.

The Young Life Club is a meeting of primarily high school students; it serves both as an opportunity to have fun with friends while learning about Christianity. The Lower Valley Young Life group currently has group meetings in Sunnyside and Mabton, but is seeking to expand to additional schools in the Lower Yakima Valley.

Club meetings consist of students playing games, watching skits and hearing a Bible message about who God is.

"The point is to inform kids of who God and Jesus Christ is," said Felicia Abbott, a member of the Young Life Regional Board of Directors.

Young Life's central mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.

For the last five years Slinker has served as the area's Young Life director. His duties included handling finances, recruiting, training, paperwork and leading and visiting area clubs.

But the realization that all he wanted to do was minister to the students resulted in his resignation as director.

Slinker, however, has elected to stay with Young Life as a volunteer, leading a high school club meeting and an after-school Bible study group.

While his heart's desire was to primarily be around the students, he felt his strengths were limited concerning the administrative work that came along with the director's title.

"I'm more gifted with outreach than administration," he added.

Slinker says now, with more time to focus on what he loves - serving and being with people to bring God's message to them - he feels more at home.

In addition, he does contact work with students, "meeting them on their turf."

"Young Life meets kids where they are," he added. "I also volunteer in classrooms, substitute teach and I go where (the students) go."

In addition, he says the previous title as "director" was a hefty work load with little additional volunteer help. Slinker and others on staff at Young Life encourage and welcome volunteers to help in any way they would like to. He says with limited volunteer help, he gets creative with resources and finds the inspiration to do so through Jackie Chan movies.

"If you've ever seen a Jackie Chan movie you'll know he uses everything and anything he can get his hands on to accomplish his task of (whatever) in each situation he is in," he said. "I really admire that he uses whatever object or tool, animate or inanimate, to get the job done."

For now, the director's position is still open, says Abbott. But the team is actively searching for a new candidate. Additionally, they are always looking for more volunteers.

For more information on the director's position or to volunteer, contact Scott Abbott at (509) 839-6535.

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