Young Life at Baylor ministers to students, Waco community

Baylor Young Life at Lonehollow Ranch in Vanderpool. Photo courtesy of Jordan Moceck

By Rachel Chiang | Reporter

Young Life is a non-denominational Bible-based ministry that acts as a bridge between churches and Baylor students who do not go to church, according to director of Baylor Young Life John Mackin.

“Young Life, in general, is a nonprofit organization, and our mission is to introduce adolescents to Jesus and walk with them in their faith,” fellow director of Baylor Young Life Jordan Moceck said.

Mackin said they are a twofold ministry that works first to introduce disinterested, unchurched or curious students to Jesus, and second to help those students grow in their faith. In addition to ministering to Baylor students on campus, Young Life has hundreds of chapters across the country and world, and it also works to minister to middle and high schoolers.

Mackin said they have around 60 Baylor students they send out into the Waco community to go into high schools, middle schools and even special needs centers.

“It is nice that we’re not just our own entity at Baylor,” Mackin said. “We’re a part of Waco Young Life, because there’s a lot of teenagers throughout all of Waco who need good role models and good mentors to come alongside them and love on them.”

Mackin said he and Moceck try to hang out around campus as often as possible to meet and support students.

“I would be a very naive person to say, ‘Oh, it’s Baylor; all the students love Jesus,’” Mackin said. “There are a lot of students that are hurting. There are a lot of students that are searching. There’s a lot of students that are really opposed to Jesus and, for sure, Christianity. We believe at Young Life that we need to earn the right to be heard, and so we really want to build relationships with students more than anything else.”

Because Young Life tries to cater to unchurched students, its large- and small-group meetings are structured slightly differently than those of other campus ministries, Moceck said.

“‘Earning the right to be heard’ — that statement might set us apart a little bit from other ministries, just because our first focus is really just meeting students, getting to know them on that friendship level,” Moceck said. “And our goal always is of course to share the gospel, but more importantly is to just walk with students in their faith, whether they are a believer or not.”

Moceck said discovering Young Life when she was in college changed her life, and she hopes to have the same impact on Baylor students.

“Our hope is to get Baylor students connected to churches,” Mackin said. “If they stop coming to Young Life because they’re getting involved with a local church, then we celebrate that.”