Engage with Grand Canyon University's (GCU) vibrant Spiritual Life community and take a deeper look at the various ministries that are happening around the world, in your backyard and on our campus. From weekly devotionals to Chapel highlights and features that reflect God's work in the hearts of our students, staff and faculty, each article is presented by GCU's Spiritual Life team and our special guests. We hope that God will challenge and encourage you through His words and the stories about His people that inspire us all.
Let's get started on your degree

* Do you have a high school, college or university credits from outside the U.S.?
* Are you a U.S. Citizen?
* Are you a licensed, registered nurse in the U.S.?
(example: 777-777-7777)

* Required field

** Required field if international

Request More Information

Community Connection: Young Life

Billy Thrall with Chris Eaton

By Josh Sugata
Faculty Training and Development Specialist, General Editor

Looking for ways to get involved in the Phoenix community? Check out Community Connection with Billy Thrall. Each week, you’ll hear ways you can get involved with local charities and non-profits.

A few weeks ago, Billy spoke with Young Life Regional Director of Arizona Chris Eaton. Chris grew up attending Young Life, as his parents were heavily involved and hosted a Young Life club within their house. He has been a director with Young Life for just over two years, but has been employed by the organization for more than 20 years.

Within Arizona alone, Young Life has 140 clubs run by 1,000 volunteer leaders, and 85 staff who are impacting over 40,000 adolescents. Around the world, Young Life is home to 50,000 volunteer leaders in more than 90 countries, and more than 5,000 employees around the world.

Get to Know Young Life

Young Life is a world-wide mission that introduces adolescents to Jesus Christ and helps them grow in their faith. Young Life acknowledges that young kids are searching for God and looking for ultimate meaning, truth and purpose in life.

Chris explained that Young Life shares that Jesus Christ is the ultimate way and truth in life. This message would be impossible for youth to hear if it weren’t for the strategic relationship building that hinges on trust.

Young Life works in all cultures due to their approach of building relationships. Leaders serve as a consistent presence in the lives of youth—not as a parent or peer, but simply as a friend pointing another friend toward Jesus Christ.

Young Life’s target niches are middle-school-age students, teen moms, those with special needs and college campuses.

Chris attributes his love and devotion to the organization to personal experience. His high school experience was dramatically impacted by an effective Young Life leader who was willing to simply invest time in Chris’ life. Billy was quick to point out that it is much easier to write a check or run a program than it is to befriend an adolescent who is not family.

Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life stated that, “Young Life is in the business of presenting the Lord Jesus Christ to the high school gang. … We believe He will completely captivate the heart of any young person who hears about Him.”

Billy echoes this belief: “As long as there is a lost kid that isn’t in a church, somebody needs to go get them. … [But] Young Life is not in competition with the church.”

Please join us in praying for Young Life’s leaders to be encouraged, that they would remain persistent for God’s calling on their lives. Please pray that God continues to bless Young Life and that God would continue to use teenagers for the organization.

Get Involved

Within the organization, the highest calling is being a leader; however, there is a need for adult supporters to exist all across the Valley, and individual donors are also the main financial support for the organization.

Get more information by visiting the Young Life Arizona Region website or calling the regional phone number at 602-997-1808.

Community Connection with Billy Thrall airs on Sundays from 2-3 p.m. on 1360 KPXQ Faith Talk Radio. For more information about Lopes in the local community, check out these past blog posts.


About Josh Sugata
Josh Sugata GCU
Faculty Training and Development Specialist, General Editor

I met my beautiful bride through our old school district and we have two beautiful daughters together. Some would certainly argue that our daughters were our third and fourth children, considering our attachment to our two other four-legged miniature dachshunds.

Two of the best and busiest years of my family’s life occurred when we had the opportunity to move from our home to an apartment and minister the residents through day-to-day life. One of the greatest discoveries I made during our two-year stay is that I am a “Relational Evangelist,” which means I like to create relationships with others and then “earn the right” to share my personal faith with him/her.

Read more about Josh Sugata