The Diaries of Jim Rayburn, Founder of Young Life
Selected and Edited by Kit Sublett
541 pages
6 x 9
Published 2009 by Whitecaps Media and Morningstar Press
ISBN 978-0-9758577-7-9
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Read an interview with Kit Sublett.

Download the Preface!

Have you read the book and you’d like to make a comment? Have a question for Kit Sublett or want him to speak to your group?

“This is like no other Christian book I've ever read. For over thirty-five years it puts you alongside and inside a man with a passion for God, a passion for the lost, and a passion for his family. What a life! What suprised me was how much the life of Jim Rayburn showed me about my Savior, His faithfulness. and my own need for a greater intimacy with Him. Buy this book!” -- Mark Goodson

For all of his adult life Jim Rayburn kept a journal -- and now, for the first time, you are invited to experience it for yourself.

Rayburn (1909 - 1970) was one of the most influential Christians of the twentieth century. His journals cover the years from 1935 through his death in 1970. His life was one of tremendous consequence, unbelievable devotion to Christ, incredible highs, and soul-crushing lows.

You’ll not only experience first-hand the development of Young Life, the international ministry Rayburn founded, but you’ll also be witness to some of the key moments in modern Christianity and get to know some of the spiritual giants of the era.

The Rayburn family generously agreed to share Jim’s personal reflections so that a new generation of Christians could get to know this great man “in his own words and in his own voice.” Jim’s story is an incredible adventure -- you will be encouraged, challenged, and brought closer to Christ as you journey through each day with Jim.

2009 marks the 100th anniversary of Jim Rayburn’s birth in July 1909. What better way to mark his centenary than to experience for yourself Jim’s personal journals!

The entries were selected and edited by Kit Sublett. The book includes over 50 photographs.


“This book is the DNA of Young Life.” -- an early reader

“I loved the ‘Rayburn Diaries,’ As a man whose life was changed by Jesus through Young Life, getting to know the heart and humanity of Jim Rayburn was inspiring. It greatly confirmed the idea that God works through faithful sinners to change the world just like me. It’s a fun and interesting read.”
-- Dave Gonzales

“We really need a sense of history in the mission of Young Life, and
The Diaries of Jim Rayburn delivers. This book is a gift from God!”
-- Ted Johnson, Vice President of Young Life, former interim president of Young Life

“Kit did a masterful job of writing up Jim’s diary and prayer life. As someone who walked alongside Jim for more than thirty years, I encourage people to buy this book.”
-- Bill Starr, who followed Rayburn as president of Young Life

“I just finished reading The Diaries of Jim Rayburn. It allows those of us who are making an effort to carry on Jim's vision to know exactly what it was. I have loved getting to know Jim and getting a glimpse into this mighty warrior's daily life. How special to get an opportunity to share in his celebrations and in his sufferings. My heart just broke while reading his last years. What a faithful and humble man. It has inspired me to be more extravagant in my walk with Christ and I absolutely cannot wait to meet Jim one day.”
-- Misti Gil

“I am amazed and inspired by Jim’s depth of faith, intimacy with the Lord, and dependence on His Word. I highly recommend this book. It’s terrific!”
-- Christy Thompson

“If you want to get an insight into the foundational spirit and heart of the mission of Young Life, this book is for you! Kit Sublett chronicles the early and formative years of the YL mission as not only a story of one man (Jim Rayburn), or a group of Young Life staff, but rather it is a story God's movement through His people into a local, national and world communities. I celebrate this honest and real look at a small idea as it grew into a worldwide mission charged with putting Christ and kids together!“
-- Ken Tankersley, Regional Director, Young Life Front Range Region

“Reading this book I felt like I was reading a bit of my ‘family history’ that I was not aware of. I was greatly encouraged reading of Jim’s love of Scripture and dedication to prayer. It drove me back to God’s Word and to my knees personally, where Young Life was born.”
-- Joe Walters, Vice President of Young Life for Latin America

“I loved this book! I loved reading about Jim’s ups and downs, passions, and visions, etc. I’ve just finished reading it a second time -- it was even better than the first.”
-- John Haddad, Regional Director, Young Life Greater Houston Region

“This is an awesome book! I felt like I could look inside Jim’s heart as God used him to start something that would eventually result in me following Christ. I love how much he prayed and read Scripture and still felt like he could do more and get closer to Christ. Jim’s pursuit of Christ was relentless. Kit Sublett has produced a work of art and was incredibly thorough. So many times I would read a name and think, ‘Who is that?’ only to look down and see that Kit answered my question in a footnote. Get this book! It will encourage and inspire you.”
-- Pete Hardesty

The Diaries of Jim Rayburn are a must read. I’m on my third time through. I knew Jim as a high school kid, work crew kid, Summer Staff leader, a seminary student and an area director. His diaries inspired me, informed me, challenged me and revealed to me so much that I didn’t know (after six summers at Frontier with Jim I thought I knew ALL). After reading the diaries (I’ve read all the books about Jim and Young Life) I admire Jim more than ever and thank the Lord for his life, his courage, and for being true to the vision the Lord progressively gave him from the earliest days. Not only every staff person, but anyone interested in the Spirit’s working on the Kingdom of God through His servants should read this book.
-- Mal McSwain

"I have recently finished The Diaries of Jim Rayburn and it was absolutely wonderful. I couldn't wait each night to finally get to read a little bit, and would find myself reading far too long. It was so fun to read names and places that I had heard of over the years, and now to find out about them. I feel like I really know Jim Rayburn -- his faith was amazing."
-- Jeanine Carthey

“This book is great!!”
-- Rebecca Johns

"I have been extremely blessed by this book. I highly recommend it to all who will listen. I'll be ordering more to give away."
-- Kenny Waldt

“I enjoyed The Diaires of Jim Rayburn greatly. What a man -- flawed and fantastic.”
-- R. Scott Harris

"What an amazing book! I was impressed with the detail -- I took in every dot and tittle. It is obvious this book was a labor of love to the Lord and His continued expression in history. I am drawn to the fact that the Lord uses us in all our weakness."
-- Sharon Smith

“This book is fascinating. Kit Sublett has done a wonderful job. I can tell this took an amazing amount of research and interviewing over the years. The Diaries of Jim Rayburn is going to be an enormous blessing to many and a second chance for others to know the impact Jim Rayburn had on this earth. It has certainly been a blessing to me.”
-- Jeff Persyn

“Talk about a page turner! I could not put it down. I got halfway through in about three hours!”
-- Jane Lumbard

Read more about Jim Rayburn.