In the fall of 2019, Kayla began her journey at Oakland University. She was excited to start college and take her first step towards her dream job, becoming a physician’s assistant. As her first semester started Kayla was interested in getting involved in a campus ministry and found Younglife on Oaklands website. Kayla went to an outreach event sponsored by Younglife and fell in love with the community. Kayla became a regular at their large groups, joined a small group, and developed strong relationships with Younglife’s leadership. Kayla’s maturity, biblical knowledge, and charismatic personality quickly put her on Younglife’s radar for a new leader. As the second semester began Younglife leadership jumped on the opportunity and asked Kayla to become co-president. Kayla accepted the offer and was ready to get to work. Just as Kayla was getting ready to step into her new role at Younglife the world took a major turn. A month before Kayla’s second semester ended Covid entered the United States. Oakland University went virtual and all extracurriculars were banned from meeting in person.
With Younglife at a standstill, Kayla did not waste any time and started planning for the future. A few of the other leaders in Younglife recommended that she get connected to Cultivate. Kayla and I met to chat and hear her plans for Younglife in the future. As Kayla and I met I was impressed with her humility. She was quick to admit she did not know everything and that she needed help. Kayla and I began brainstorming and came up with a plan for her own personal growth and for Younglife’s future.
Kayla began meeting with a mentor, Pam Foor, who provided Kayla the space to process life and grow in her spiritual maturity. Pam helped Kayla to see the world through the lens of scripture and greatly aided in her spiritual development. Kayla also began attending classes by Cultivate. Kayla attended a class titled “how to run a campus ministry” where she learned the fundamentals of leadership and began to assemble a leadership team for Younglife. Additionally, Kayla attended a class on discipleship where she learned the fundamentals of discipleship. Kayla has utilized her training in discipleship and started mentoring three women in her small group.
As Kayla entered her sophomore year at Oakland, she was excited, but nervous, for the year ahead. She had spent countless hours preparing for Younglife, finding leaders, and creating a plan, but was unsure what the year would bring. Due to Covid restrictions, Kayla and Younglife struggled to get their footing as they were unable to meet on campus. Kayla’s semester year leading Younglife was full of ups and downs, but she remained faithful to her calling. Kayla began planning for the next year and started intentionally investing in the leadership at Younglife. She developed strong relationships with leaders, began mentoring other students, and committed herself to growing as a leader. Kayla and I met frequently to talk about Younglife. During our time together I watched the way she thought about ministry change. As time went on Kayla’s mentality changed, she spent less time focusing on numbers and more time focusing on development. Kayla began to understand that her success, and Younglife’s success, was going to be a group effort. She realized the importance of building a strong team and stopped trying to do everything on her own.
With high hopes of Oakland reopening in the 2021-2022 school year Kayla and I developed and launched a plan to restart Younglife! Our plan began in the summer before the school year and focused on outreach. As the summer started Younglife had fifteen members. After leading biweekly events throughout the summer Younglife entered the year with momentum and thirty members. This was just the beginning, after a strong string of welcome week events Younglife was on the path to growing bigger than they ever had. To date, Younglife is averaging over fifty members and growing every week!
Since September 2021, Kayla has grown tremendously. She has truly become a servant leader. Kayla is intentional about meeting with other leaders, checking on their spiritual health, and putting her leaders in positions to succeed. Kayla has learned to prioritize the team’s success over her own. In addition to being a servant leader, Kayla has become a strong speaker. Through hard work, trial and error, and meeting with Cultivate she has learned how to faithfully message prep, deliver clear points, and keep an audience engaged.
Younglife is in good hands as they continue to grow this year. Kayla has truly become an effective kingdom worker. As Kayla thinks about the future, she is not sure where the Lord is leaning her. She is wrestling between becoming a physician assistant or going into ministry. No matter what career path she chooses it is clear that Christ will be at the center!
Below is a quote by Kayla on how Cultivate has impacted her leadership
“Kyle and Cultivate has had a significant impact on my time leading in ministry. He taught me so much about what it means to be a servant leader. He’s always been available to answer questions, prep messages with me, and help me navigate tricky situations. He’s is committed to my success as a leader and pushes me to be my best. The ministry I serve in is much better off because of him."