April is the Month of the Military Child

April 23, 2024


YFC Military encourages children whose parents serve our country here and abroad

Maddie Spencer, YFC Military Ministry Director: ‘Our vision is that all military-connected youth can be engaged in authentic Christ-sharing relationships’

April is the Month of the Military Child, a moment when the nation recognizes children whose parents are in the armed forces. Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) is honored to serve these young people through their military ministry over the last four decades.

Founded in 1980, YFC Military was created at the request of U.S. Army Chaplains, and as part of a collaboration between YFC and YoungLife to reach military youth.

According to YFC Military Ministry Director Maddie Spencer, “At the time, Army chaplains recognized that they were equipped to minister to service members, and by extension their spouses, but not well equipped to reach military youth.”

Today, YFC Military is a thriving ministry of Youth For Christ, whose team is dedicated to supporting military-connected youth from all branches of service at installations all over the world.

Spencer remarked, “Typically, these young people would be looking ahead to prom, sports and graduation. Unfortunately, military-connected youth are often bracing to send off loved ones for long periods of time.”

YFC Military partners with local chaplains, churches, schools and other like-minded organizations to reach these young people. While the ministry utilizes YFC’s time-tested mentor approach to cultivating unconditional, authentic Christ-sharing relationships, Spencer notes the inherent challenges in ministering to a community that’s continually changing.

Spencer shared, “As a mentor, I’ve had to learn the normal rhythms of Permanent Change of Station season. We make our best efforts to say goodbye to those moving, but it’s never easy. With that said, it’s a great joy when we are able to connect students to YFC at their new base. We get to know that there will be a welcoming and familiar ministry to make their transition easier.”

Spencer points out that the recent conflicts in Ukraine and Israel have also contributed to an already unpredictable environment.

Spencer observed, “For military families across the world, these international conflicts are more than the news and it jump-starts the waiting game of being called to serve. For military-connected youth, conflict not only means the departure of a parent, but a change of life plans. When these situations happen, military families proudly serve. With that said, this is often done with great sacrifice such as missed graduations, extended deployments and delayed moves that might involve moving mid-school year.”

Yet no matter the situation, no matter the parent’s station, YFC Military remains committed to meeting the unique needs of service members’ children.

Spencer said, “YFC Military understands the challenges of military life, and we meet military-connected youth where they are to help them give life to their story. Our vision is that all military-connected youth can be engaged in authentic Christ-sharing Relationships, regardless of where their families serve!”