For Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a pillar in the youth ministry community in America for almost eight decades, part of their mission of reaching local youth and creating impactful relationships that connect young people with the truth of the Gospel is understanding the local community. For the South Texas YFC chapter, this means being aware of the prevalent Hispanic community.
God’s Presence In This Region
“This is a very unique area,” said Gilbert Hernandez, CEO of South Texas YFC. “67% of San Antonio is Hispanic, and by the year 2030, that population is projected to be as high as 87%, with the majority primarily speaking Spanish. Within that community, there is a huge discrepancy in economic status. We have some students who are couch surfing and come from low-income families while other students have extremely wealthy backgrounds. This does make for some unique challenges, but we have seen God’s hand move again and again.”
Hernandez has witnessed God’s presence in the region for years, most recently surrounding the heartbreaking Uvalde school shooting in May 2022. “Right before the tragedy in Uvalde, YFC was actually invited into the public schools to start a conversation about how we could impact the students in the district. When tragedy struck, we were already positioned to go out into the local schools and make an impact,” said Hernandez.
Even as South Texas YFC continues to grow, Hernandez and the team are already dreaming bigger. “Our aim over the next five years is to prepare 500 leaders to reach 5,000 kids with the message of Jesus as we actively expand to accommodate our remarkable growth,” said Hernandez. “Our young leader development program was birthed out of a realization that we were teaching the Gospel, but not empowering the students to continue their faith journey once they graduated. The Lord really started convicting us to disciple students in the ways of Christ and develop leaders that not only impact the Kingdom of God, but the city as a whole. Since this conviction, we have seen a huge change in our students. There are seven youth pastors in San Antonio who came through our program and were discipled, and six of our own staff members were once students.”