K-Life – Impacting kids for Christ

by Sonja J. Keith

For nearly 20 years, a Christian ministry has worked to impact young people and their faith – one small group at a time.

Aimed at middle and high school students, K-Life is a Christian ministry that equips college students and young professionals to lead small groups. The program networks young people from different churches and those without a church affiliation to build positive, Godly relationships that can withstand negative peer pressure.

Anderson Wilkins, area director for K-Life, said the program is built on the idea that ministry works well when it is focused on relationships. Small group leaders – someone who can be looked up to and respected – conduct Bible study and spend time with their group. “They also have fun and experience life together,” he said, explaining that small groups are the “heartbeat” of K-Life.

The program is divided based on the participant’s school grade:

Fifth and sixth grade – Super K introduces students to the program. They attend a “high energy” club meeting each week that includes a time of music, worship and scripture.

Seventh through 12th grade – Regular K-Life with a weekly club meeting and small groups (eight to 10 young people of the same age/gender). There are also special activities, events and retreats to give small group leaders more opportunities to interact with those in their group.

Wilkins points out that K-LIFE isn’t meant to “entertain” kids, but “to impact kids for Christ.”

Currently, there are about 250 young people involved in K-Life small groups. In the last 20 years, Wilkins estimates that K-Life leaders have spent more than 200,000 hours with young people in the program.

The Conway K-Life has three paid staff members and 36 small group leaders who volunteer 10 hours a week. Wilkins points out that each small group leader completes an extensive application and goes through a rigorous screening process.

Funding for the Conway program comes from community donations. “K-Life is funded solely by families in the community that see what it is doing in the lives of kids,” Wilkins said. “The more money, the more staff and more leaders we have and the more kids we’re able to impact.”

A K-Life fundraiser is typically held each fall, with a 5K in February and a golf tournament in the spring.

This year, the K-Life Family Comedy Fundraiser will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30. A special anniversary event is in the works for October 2012 to celebrate the 20 years that K-Life has been making an impact on Conway youth.

Wilkins commented that he and others associated with the program “stand on the shoulders of giants,” individuals who have been involved but who now minister at large churches. He hopes that many will make plans to attend next year’s anniversary event as well as families who have been touched by the program.

“We’ve been heading in the same direction for 20 years.”