Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944. YFC is dedicated to building Christ-centered communities for young people across the country by bringing adult mentors alongside students during pivotal moments in their lives through different ministry efforts such as Juvenile Justice Ministry, Parent Life, Campus Life, and many others.
According to a YFC Omaha Campus Life Director, the Omaha chapter is comprised of a unique mix of students.
The director observed, “Based on our experience, we feel there’s really no middle class here. Economically speaking, we have wealthy families and then disadvantaged families. There’s not much in between. Which means one minute you can be talking to a student who just back from a fancy vacation, and the next minute to a student who’s never left the state. So, it’s an interesting environment for us to navigate.”
Welcomed With Open Arms
The YFC Omaha campus life director stepped into his director role at YFC Omaha following an 18-month vacancy in the position and pandemic-era restrictions that drastically reduced the ministry’s presence on campus. Despite these challenges, YFC Omaha was warmly welcomed back by school administrators and educators.
The director noted, “The previous director built a good relationship with school administrators, and those people are still there. So, we were able to get back on campus right away. We’re now able to meet students during open gym sessions, club times and twice a week while serving on lunch duty. The administrators want us there, which is a huge blessing.”
Many of the disadvantaged students also come from a disproportionate number of single-parent households, leaving many young people fatherless or without many positive adult role models in their lives.
“Our students face a lot of challenges,” the director shared. “Many of them don’t have the greatest support system in place. We offer students the opportunity to feel welcome and seen. And then we provide opportunities for young people to nurture their faith and step into leadership opportunities. I get the privilege of seeing these students grow, develop and learn more about Jesus.”
Unique Ways To Engage Students
One key way students can learn about God, and honestly share their questions, is the Alpha Youth Series, a meet-up designed to engage students in conversations about life, faith and Jesus.
The director said, “One student recently moved here from out of state. He’s had a pretty tough family life, with a lot of challenging dynamics with his mom and dad. We met on the high school campus and started talking and meeting up regularly. I invited him to some of our programs. He eventually came to an Alpha group and engaged with some questions around faith. At the same time, I’ve been able to help him with food and provide a job reference. He’s one of the students I’m praying for regularly that he would come to know Jesus.”
No matter a student’s reality — and no matter the obstacles involved — the director and his team are living out YFC’s mission to reach every student with the love of God.
The director said, “Our mission is to show students that we genuinely love and care about them. Campus Life is something for students to be involved in that they wouldn’t otherwise normally get to do. We get the incredible opportunity to tell them about Jesus and show them what it means to follow Jesus and begin a relationship with Him.”