For 80 years Youth For Christ has been ministering to young people with the life-changing hope and healing found in Christ. While the ministry is built around the unchanging truth of the Gospel, the organization continues to refine its approach to sharing this truth with new generations.
This year YFC is focused on addressing a cultural sea change in spirituality: Christianity is in decline in America. A recent report revealed the number of religiously unaffiliated people is hypothesized to approach or exceed the number of Christians by 2070, with the trend accelerating for Gen Z — those born from 1997 to 2012.
Different Approaches For Unique Challenges
According to YFC President and CEO Jake Bland, “A growing field of research is pointing to a generation in crisis around acceptance of the Christian faith, mental health issues, anxiety and the inability to trust traditional organizational structures and models. As a result, both millennials and Generation Z are leaving the traditional church at over one million per year. The reality is that both Gen Z and Gen Alpha are the first generation in our nation’s history that are growing up in an almost entirely unbelieving and unchurched ‘post-Christian’ society. Essentially, they are an unreached people group. Considering this sobering reality, we believe that new and innovative approaches for reaching this generation are needed.”
In response to this concerning trend, YFC has unveiled its missional strategy for this year: Multiplying Ministry in 2024. This strategy is built around three key goals:
- Simplify: Help leaders live out what Jesus modeled so that every leader in YFC will know, experience and share the gospel with lost young people who desperately need hope.
- Multiply: Support growth through helping chapters and sites own their local multiplying efforts.
- Exemplify: Support thousands of local churches through strategic Kingdom partnerships.
The strategy incorporates four drivers. First, to continue reaching kids in tough places.
Bland observed, “The challenges faced by kids today are vast and complex, especially if this is compounded by poverty, physical challenges, raising children, or facing time in the juvenile system. Vulnerable youth can often fall through the cracks and lose their way. At YFC, we recognize their challenges and understand that the future of our communities hinges on the well-being and success of our young people. We firmly believe that investing in these kids will uncover the bright, strong and compassionate nature that God created in them to bring fully to their family, friends and neighbors.
Next, YFC will invest in the next generation of leaders.
Bland noted, “Young leaders are our future and an essential part of our growth strategy. Adult volunteerism is on the decline, and yet ‘the Harvest is ripe.’ We love when kids who have recently come to Christ ultimately catch a vision for relationally sharing their faith with their lost friends and their community.”
Third, the organization will nurture high-level leaders.
Bland said, “In today’s complex and rapidly evolving ministry landscape, the need for exceptional executive leadership has never been more critical. Effective executive leadership sets the tone for an organization’s vision, strategy and culture, guiding teams toward achieving goals and adapting to change.”
Finally, YFC will continue building strategic Kingdom partnerships.
Bland said, “We can reach more youth together. YFC is a bold ally of the local church and partner to like-minded organizations. We come alongside other Kingdom builders and create Christ-centered, biblical communities on behalf of young people. We are openhanded in sharing our work and resources with missional partners who are driven by advancing the Gospel. Multiplying our efforts with these key partners will change cities across our nation through faithfulness to God’s word, Kingdom outreach, and young leader education opportunities.”
YFC Remains A Constant
Yet no matter the strategy — and no matter the generation — YFC’s central goal will always remain the same: to introduce young people to a Savior who offers hope, redemption and unconditional love.
Bland stated, “Today’s young people are facing crises like never before. I believe God has uniquely positioned YFC to help uncover God’s story of hope in the next generation. The Gospel of Christ is as powerful and as effective as ever. Kids need to know that the God of the universe loves them, that He Cares for them, and that He wants to offer them eternal and abundant life through His son Jesus.”