Youth and Leader

West Michigan Youth for Christ

March 27, 2023


YFC West Michigan

Youth for Christ (YFC) serves young people from every country around the world. Youth from different religions, different backgrounds and different languages. Meaningful relationships are a key component of YFC, a leader in missional youth outreach for over 78 years. YFC meets youth at pivotal moments to build lasting relationships in which God can work in their lives. By partnering with local churches and like-minded organizations, YFC moves into communities and comes alongside youth to provide support, encouragement, and friendship.

Leaders from West Michigan YFC share their own life experiences of how the Lord led them to help youth navigate through the battles, the realities of what is happening. The stakes that are getting increasingly more challenging for young people. A priority is to connect with teen parents to empower them to thrive in every aspect of life. We want to encourage them to become life-long followers of Jesus Christ.

Knowing Christ

Lisa Kelley is the Parent Life Director for West Michigan YFC. Kelley said, “My first challenge was finding where teen parents hang out. These young parents are between 14 and 16 and housing is a big issue for them. They either do not live with their parents, they live with their grandparents or they are staying in toxic environments. I do what I do because I was also a teen parent. Now as an adult I recognize that most teenagers don’t have the support I had from my parents. I know that God has given me this passion, a voice and the love for these young people. I love these girls and the dads too, and then I fall in love with their babies. And so, I’m called to be a disciple and that’s what I’m doing.”

West Michigan YFC and YFC chapters across the nation and around the globe, provide multiple outreaches to help young people come to know Christ.  Parent Life works with teen parents. Campus Life helps young people navigate the pivotal years of middle and high school. Campus Life Military works with military-connected youth. City Life serves under-resourced neighborhoods. Deaf Teen Quest enters the world of deaf teenagers as they face pivotal moments in life. The Juvenile Justice Ministry is involved as young people navigate the different pillars encompassing the juvenile justice system: Community, Courts, and Corrections.

Campus Life

Jon Blahnik is West Michigan YFC’s Campus Life Director at Union High School in Grand Rapids. Blahnik said “So many of our kids don’t have any meaningful relationships with friends, family, or teachers. When they are invited into a safe place, they come alive and they open up and they receive Jesus. We get to watch them grow and it is such a joy. One of my first students is now a youth leader for my children. He was not a believer and I watched him grow and become one of the most godly men I know. I can tell you 30 stories like that. The more we can have a net that can catch them anywhere they go, the more ministry YFC can continue long-term with students.”

“All of us are burdened to find that one, to leave the 99 and find the one that needs to be pursued. Their story needs to be heard,” added Shelby Nyboer, Jenison Campus Life Director.

Karly Wymer is the Community Ministry Director and Juvenile Justice Ministry Director. Wymer said, “I just keep remembering that I was once one of those kids who needed somebody. I was someone who had somebody to walk alongside me.”

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.