Youth for Christ

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Youth for Christ
Founded 1944; 70 years ago (1944)
  • Worldwide
Motto "Give life to your story"

Youth for Christ (YFC) is an evangelical Protestant Christian ministry based in Englewood, Colorado. This Christian movement is defined by their mission to bring the message of Jesus to young people across the world.

History of Youth for Christ[edit]

In the early 1940s, during World War II, many young men, mostly ministers and evangelists, were holding large rallies in Canada, England and the United States. They began ministering to the youth of America and especially the younger members of the U.S. Armed Forces when they returned back to the states. These formerly unaffiliated activities became collectively known as "Youth for Christ" campaigns and were inspired by the work of Jack Wyrtzen in New York during 1940. Wyrtzen was a young ex-insurance salesman who had also played the trombone in a cavalry band. The Youth for Christ campaign idea spread to Washington, D.C., Detroit, Indianapolis and St. Louis. In 1944 Torrey Johnson, a Baptist minister and pastor of Chicago's Midwest Bible Church staged "Chicagoland for Christ" and became the most successful advocate of this type of campaign. YFC quickly organized into a national movement. Billy Graham became YFC's first full-time staff member.

YFC Goes Global[edit]

YFC's ministry methodology turned to Bible Clubs in the late 50s and 60s. It was during this period of ministry when their focus shifted from rallies that emphasized proclamation evangelism to relevant, relational evangelism to un-churched youth. 1962, YFC changed its organizational structure to become a chartered program of Youth for Christ International. Musical & preaching “Teen Teams” were very important to the development of this International movement. As a part of the YFC/USA’s commitment to serve the world, several ministries were created to provide overseas mission opportunities, including Project Serve, a service project program, World Outreach, sending missionaries to other nations and establish Youth for Christ in other countries, and YFC Military, a partnership with Young Life to reach out to American teens on military bases both international and domestic.

YFC Develops Campus Life[edit]

In the middle 60’s and early 70‘s Campus Life and Campus Life [M] ministries to senior and junior high youth began to be the thrust of YFC ministry. Youth Guidance, now called Juvenile Justice Ministries, became an avenue to reach institutionalized young people. In addition, the YFC sponsored DCLA Student Evangelism SuperConferences have challenged and equipped over 100,000 young people from hundreds of youth groups to effectively impact their schools for Christ.

Moving Into Niche Ministry models[edit]

Since the 90s, YFC’s continues to develop effective relational ministry with different types of unchurched youth. Parent Life mentors and equips young mothers and fathers with parenting skills as well as the love of Jesus Christ. City Life reaches out to the millions of young people in our major urban communities, partnering with the church and other organizations. YFC Core helps school-based adults lead teams of Christian students to reach out to their lost friends. DeafTeen Quest ministers to the unique needs of hearing-impared teens. And the theme of the YFC Camp program is “Where Everything Changes,’ intentionally targeting lost teens through the proclamation and the demonstration of the gospel message in an outdoor experience.[1]

YFC/USA National Ministries[edit]

Since YFC has come to be in the 1940s, they have developed from independent rallies across America into a global organization made up of national ministries to reach various teenagers in a variety of life contexts.

Youth for Christ National Ministries
Name Purpose
Campus Life High & Middle School A ministry to grade school students between sixth and twelfth grade. These groups are centered around individual school systems.
City Life An urban ministry to reach high-risk youth, their families, & communities. The focus is to develop a ministry model that works with young people in urban communities before they might become incarcerated. (Formerly known as Youth Guidance.)
Parent Life Reaching expectant and parenting teens and their children. (Formerly known as Teen Parents.)
YFC Core YFC Core is a ministry model for teaching teenagers to be committed to living and coaching 3story with their peers and community. (Formerly known as Friend2Friend.)
Juvenile Justice Ministry A ministry to those in and around the juvenile justice system, including detention centers, probation, correctional facilities, group homes, residential treatment centers and emergency shelters.
Deaf Teen Quest Youth ministry designed to reach deaf and hard of hearing students.
YFC Military - Club Beyond U.S. citizens ministering to teenagers of parents who serve in the United States Military.
Project Serve Provides high-quality, relevant, short-term mission trip opportunities.
World Outreach A ministry to recruit, train, and send U.S. citizens to other nations to do youth ministry to the native populations.
YFC Camp A ministry to prepare and serve the other national ministries that send teenagers to camp.

Youth for Christ International[edit]

Youth for Christ/USA is part of a world-wide movement – Youth for Christ International (YFCI). YFC International is present in over 100 countries across the world, including the United States of America, Canada, Germany, South Africa, South Korea, and Brazil. There are 35,000 staff and volunteers of Youth for Christ around the world. In any given calendar year, roughly 125,000 young people make a first-time decision to trust Christ as their personal Savior through the ministry of Youth for Christ.

Youth for Christ General Assembly[edit]

Over 600 Youth for Christ National Directors, board representatitives and YFC young leaders from across the world come together every three years to receive special advanced leadership training. The 2014 YFC General Assembly is being hosted in Bangkok, Thailand.

Leadership of Youth for Christ[edit]

Past Presidents of YFC/USA[edit]

1991 - Roger Cross took over YFC with the number one mission of fixing YFC/USA's $4.5 million debt.

Current President of YFC/USA[edit]

2005 - Daniel S. Wolgemuth, a 1977 Taylor University graduate and the ninth president of Youth for Christ/USA. He was elected to the Board of Trustees of Taylor University in 2006. Dan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Huntington University on May 12, 2012. He is also a published author with his first book Friday Fragments, based off his blog, and his second book Give Life that was published in coordination with the 2014 complete rebranding of Youth for Christ.

Current International President[edit]

Geordon Rendle, is the current International President of Youth for Christ.

External links[edit]


Book references[edit]

  • Billy Graham, a biography, by Roger Bruns. Greenwood Press, Connecticut. 2004. ISBN 0-313-32718-1 (See pages 23–34 for details of Billy Graham's involvement with YFCI.)
  • Charles Templeton, Farewell to God, by Charles Templeton. McClelland & Stewart, Toronto. 1996. ISBN 0-7710-8508-7 See page 4: "Youth for Christ was a North American phenomenon in the 1940s. The atmosphere was informal and upbeat - more like show business than church - and young people flocked to the meetings in their thousands in various American cities. ... When a few months later a group of us formed Youth for Christ International, I was named as one of three vice-presidents and, at our first meeting, moved that we appoint Graham our evangelist-at-large."
  • Young Man on Fire: The Story of Torrey Johnson and Youth for Christ, by Mel Larson. Youth Publications, Chicago. 1943. Reprinted by Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 143670738
  • Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer. Bethany House Publishers, Michigan. 2014. ISBN 0-764-21101-3