Rainier Young Life taps fountain of youth for leader

By John Leggett-The Courier Herald

By John Leggett-The Courier Herald

It is the general contention among the adult masses that the “Internet generation” cares about little else but who is on their cell phone’s “favorites” list or what their Myspace account looks like. Is it cool enough? Maybe it’s because they think that no one really cares about them or what is going on in their lives that they appear to be so absorbed in such pursuits.

If this really is the case, these kids are sadly mistaken, because there really are a lot of people who have a shoulder to cry on and a ear to hear the problems of today’s youth.

Many such people work as volunteers for Rainier Hills Young Life, whose mission it is to introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them to grow spiritually. The new man at the helm steering the Young Life ship, to make sure it doesn’t run aground, is Mike Iversen. His ambition is to make sure that the Plateau’s youth are served and he appears ready for the challenge.

Iversen, who recently earned his youth ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., has been married to his wife Kate for seven years and is helping raise three children Brennan, 5, Benjamin, 3, and Lexie, 2, so he knows what challenges are all about.

Iversen’s paramount aspiration is to evaluate where the current ministry sits and what he and his army of volunteers can do to make it even better.

Kids today swim in a fast-moving stream. They are facing the normal rapids of adolescence and the current of a culture that sometimes moves too fast and threatens to pull them under.

Kids find a safe haven in Young Life, though, and as Iversen submits, “The way I see it, we are here to serve kids through building relationships with every kid, not just a chosen few. Sure, ideally, we would like to see kids walk through life having established a relationship with Christ, but whether they do or not isn’t going to change the way we interact with them,” Iversen explained.

The new shepherd of the Plateau’s young flock maintained that it was essential to go to where the kids are and to be there as a voice they can not only trust, but accept them for who and what they are, loving them regardless of their response to the message.

Young Life already serves students at both Enumclaw and White River high schools as well as Glacier Middle School and Enumclaw Middle School. Plans are in the works to branch out to Thunder Mountain Middle School.

Reach John Leggett at jleggett@courierherald.com or 360-802-8207.