Thursday, August 29, 2013


“People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.” 

–Simon Sinek

HEADS UP: in order for this post to make the most sense, it will be best to watch the video below! (It’s about six and half minutes, but I’ve found it very meaningful)

In my previous post you met the Who: it’s me! But it’s not just me, it’s 60 other young adults serving all over the world for the next year and the communities they come from and will go to.

I’d like to communicate more about what YAGM is through the framework Simon Sinek talks about in this TED Talk. And, I’ll attempt to speak a little bit about why I am being a servant this year.   Please watch it and then continue reading!  (Thanks to Matt, Geoff, and Elise at Lutherhill Staff Training for introducing me to this video!)

Quick overview of the What, How and Why:

“Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100%.  Some know how they do it...  But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do.  And by “why” I don’t mean “to make a profit” That’s a result.  It’s always a result.  By “why” I mean:  What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

Here’s the “what” and “how” of YAGM, and my initial understanding of the “why”.


Young Adults in Global Mission (YAGM) is a program through the Global Missions office of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  The program develops servant-leaders through a one year mission of service and learning opportunity in eight different placement sites around the world- Argentina/Uruguay, Central Europe, Jerusalem/West Bank, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.  The volunteers commit to being a servant in their placement for an entire year, to live as simply as the people in their community, and to walk beside every person in accompaniment (more on that word later!)


Volunteers apply to YAGM and after acceptance attend a Discernment Interview Placement (DIP) weekend.  The DIP weekend consists of country presentations and country interviews.  YAGM staff and country coordinators, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then match each volunteer’s gifts and interests with the needs of each program to give country placements. This highlights the “call” aspect of YAGM, the notion that God is specifically calling each volunteer to be a servant in a particular place.  Volunteers are required to raise at least $4,000 of the $11,000 cost to the ELCA to send each volunteer and begin service in August.  After a week of orientation in Chicago, volunteers are sent out into the world to their placement site.  Country coordinators oversee country programs and site coordinators oversee the specific sites volunteers serve in, and awesome YAGM staff constantly provide support from the States.


I am serving through YAGM this year because I feel called and equipped to live in a new community completely foreign to me.  I am willing to be uncomfortable, to experience new things, to be lonely, and to wonder in my understanding of God.  But I am mostly doing YAGM to take the “I” out of everything, and instead live in community and relationship with others.  YAGM places volunteers all over the world to think, reflect, and learn how each culture and diverse community can live in relationship with one another.  Together we walk along side new people and new communities to experience the Gospel as they do.  We enter into conversation about what it means to live as people in one common identity, the identity that each person is a Child of God.   This is my current understanding of “why” I’m doing YAGM.

More later.


Want to read more about YAGM? Check out this link

Want to support YAGM? Check out this letter:

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