On September 1, 1994 I became an official employee of Young Life. If you don't know what Young Life is then I'm not entirely sure how you ended up on this blog post, but you can watch this video and it will give you a pretty decent idea of what we're all about.
I've had an amazing 20 years on YL staff and have often said that it is incredibly great to have had my dream job for 20 years. I'm not saying that there aren't difficult days (or even years) on YL staff, because there are, but over the 7,300 days that I have been on YL staff there have been considerably more "good" days than "bad" ones.
Young Life is a great organization that is filled with some of the most incredibly talented and compelling people you will ever meet. There are plenty of characters and nearly everyone is an extreme extrovert. This makes for lots of interesting and hysterical gathering whenever YL staff and volunteer leaders get together.
In twenty years I've had a chance to meet and get to know several thousand high school kids, and another few thousand parents. Getting to share with people about the most amazing person who ever lived, Jesus, is an incredibly treat. In telling people who don't have a relationship with Christ about who He is I have had the chance to look very closely at Jesus life, death and resurrection. I'm convinced the story (and the results of the good news) are even more life changing the more it is investigated, analyzed, explored, meditated on and discussed. I've been constantly surprised by how much I've learned about following Jesus from other staff, volunteer leaders, committee members and maybe most of all high school and college students. It's a real gift to get paid to learn, teach, discuss, and explore God's interaction with us through the Bible with so many people.
The world has changed quite a bit since 1994 and how I do my job has changed drastically. Technology has been a huge part of this change. In fact, things have changed so much that I often sit back and think "What did I do all day before the internet was really a thing? How did I do my job?"
So here are some brief observations about what the world was like when I started with Young Life....
I did not own a computer.
I did not have an email address, no one in my office did either.
No one I knew owned a cell phone, although my boss and my dad both had "car phones". For the younger readers, car phones were phones that were installed in a car. They were not removable, in most cases.
There was no such thing as text messaging.
No Facebook, No Twitter, No MySpace, No Instagram, Nothing.
We used the telephone....... a lot.
I had literally hundreds of phone numbers memorized, I still know a few of them.
Bill Clinton was the President, it was his first term.
My dad had a mustache (left over from the 80's Burt Reynolds era)
Our YL area had one computer that three of us shared. We didn't need it a lot.
Windows 3.1 was the operating system on that computer.
We let kids know where club was going to be by phone, or via postcards.
Reagan, Ford and Nixon were all still alive.
Sadaam Huessein ruled Iraq.
George W. Bush was part owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
Gasoline was $1.11 per gallon.
Boyz II Men, Sheryl Crow and R. Kelly were extremely popular musicians
The Shawshank Redemption had never played on cable, because it was still in theaters.
Seinfeld was still on in Prime Time.
The Houston Rockets were NBA Champs
The World Series was cancelled for the first time in history that fall.
OJ Simpson had just been arrested a few months before and hadn't faced trial yet.
Lady Diana was still alive.
The Power Rangers were brand new.
We had to use the Yellow Pages to find phone numbers (remember, no internet)
Maps were a thing, we used them and made them.
Apple's stock was only worth $1.45, now they are the most valuable company in the world. Stock is worth 70 times what it was worth then. $1,000 investment would be worth $70,000 now. If I had a time machine.....
Those are just a few quirky observations about how the world has changed in the past 20 years. Obviously, the internet, microchips, affordable RAM, etc. has changed things so drastically that it is difficult to even imagine going back to functioning in the 1994 world, although I'd like to think I'd thrive in that "prehistoric" atmosphere.
Anyhow, it's been a great 20 years, and who knows, maybe I'll make it another 20 years and write a post about how antiquated the year 2014 feels in the year 2034.