Asbury’s YBL provides unique leadership training for high school students

Published 10:05 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

From staff reports

It’s no secret that Asbury University empowers college students to expand their knowledge of scripture and impact the world for Christ — but did you know that it also extends those opportunities to high school students every summer? Through Asbury’s Youth Becoming Leaders: High School Christian Leadership and Global Transformation Institute, students can experience once-in-a-lifetime theology and leadership training. This year’s YBL camp will take place June 3-14, 2019.

YBL is one of several camps offered during Asbury’s ImpactU Summer Academic Camps. Other camps include adventure leadership, creative writing, theatre and film acting and more. YBL provides a space for high school students to grow in faith and examine the ways in which they can become the leaders God has called them to be.

Email newsletter signup

Dr. Brian Hull, associate professor of Youth Ministry at Asbury, serves as director of YBL. His vision for the program is to see high school students rise up into Christ-like leadership.

“At Asbury University, we believe that high school students can be great, Christ-like leaders now… and in the future,” Hull said. “Youth Becoming Leaders Institute is a great place for leaders to come, be stretched, challenged and empowered to take their next step in leadership for the sake of Christ and the church. This is a very unique opportunity for students to come and learn from ministry leaders and world-class scholars.”

For just $425, students are able to spend two weeks immersed in Christian community and receive theological instruction from renowned professors from the university and Asbury Theological Seminary as well as incredible guest speakers. Students will also train with and observe local ministry leaders and develop a ministry project to launch in their home community. This year’s theme focuses on the life of David.

“At YBL, students will be encouraged to explore what God is dreaming in them for right now and the future,” Hull said. “Our theme this year is from David’s life and centers around this concept of ‘desiring God’s heart.’ Through classroom sessions, experiential learning and ministry projects, students will learn to listen for God’s direction, involve others and move to action. In addition, students learn the value of working together with others in community. As they work with other student leaders from around the country, they learn more about themselves, the world and God’s presence in our midst.”

Current high school senior Annabelle Brass completed the program in the summer of 2018 and plans to attend Asbury in the fall as a youth ministry major.

“The biggest lesson I learned from YBL is that God can and most definitely will use a normal person with a small idea to do incredible things,” Brass said.

During the two weeks she spent at YBL, Brass developed a plan to create a prayer team at her youth group. Since she participated in the program, Brass and her prayer team have arrived at their youth group early each Wednesday night to pray over the space, youth pastor, worship team, small group leaders and students. Additionally, Brass’ team prays over and responds to texted-in prayer requests that are received throughout each service.  

“To any high schooler considering YBL, I would say without hesitation to apply,” Brass said. “YBL changed my life through counselors, speakers, other students and my ministry project. I grew in my faith more in those two weeks than I had in years.”

YBL is open to high school students who are: committed to Christ, leaders in their local community, academically gifted, discerning a call to full-time ministry, finished with ninth grade by June 2019, carrying a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or higher.

According to Rev. James Hampton, professor of youth ministry and practical theology at ATS, students will learn how to think well about scripture, theology and the world in addition to learning how to respond to God in obedience.

“They will leave changed because they’ve experienced God, participated in authentic Christian community, practiced new spiritual disciplines and discovered new ways to think about their ministry to the world,” Hampton said.

Madison Lewis completed YBL as a high school student and notes that she still feels the impact of the program on her life today.

“Surrounding yourself with God-loving people who are more like family than friends is one of the most important things a leader or even a person can have in their life,” Lewis said. “I never found the same type of close-knit community as I did in YBL. The first ever YBL group still stays in contact today with prayer requests. I know anywhere I go there will always be a family that I can lean on in tough situations.”

A daily schedule for the program will be available beginning Jan. 1.

For more information visit