Youth For Christ is committed to reaching young people with God’s love by walking alongside teens through pivotal moments in their lives. One key way YFC connects with teens is through Campus Life, a weekly program that builds unconditional relationships with high school and middle school students.
The Lansing, Michigan chapter of Campus Life is celebrating a remarkable 75 years of student ministry. The chapter’s executive director, Trent Bushnell, has been serving full-time with YFC for 47 years. Bushnell’s remarkable run with the ministry offers him a unique perspective on the modern issues facing today’s students. The primary challenge, he says, is culture’s prioritization of subjective ideas over objective truths.
Bushnell said, “The struggle that we see among teens with social media and phones is that they are getting bombarded with quote-on-quote truth from all these different directions. It’s discouraging to think where this truth is coming from. Is it even reliable? Is it credible?”
The remedy, says Bushnell, is to direct students back to the ultimate source of truth, God’s word.
Bushnell shared, “Teens don’t have control of all the messages that they’re hearing which can become overwhelming for them. Our goal is to help teens think differently about a more reliable truth, which comes from the Bible.”
To that end, Bushnell’s team places a priority on discipleship. At the same time, the team continually strives to raise the next generation of ministry leaders.
On The Pathway To Leadership
According to Ministry Coordinator Kelsey Bushong, “We always say that what we do with students is 80% discipleship, 20% leadership training. We want to grow students into leaders, where they catch YFC’s vision and want to help Campus Life grow in their school.”
Bushong recalls one student in particular who experienced incredible life change through Campus Life.
“We had a student who came to us during a dark moment in her life. She was contemplating suicide. Her dad had just passed away. Her sister was at college. Her mom was working full time. So that summer before her freshman year was a very lonely time for her. She began attending Campus Life that fall and has barely missed a meeting in the last three years. The program has provided her a safe space to not only meet God, but to be herself and heal from her traumatic past.”
This student’s story reflects a common theme among the young people impacted by YFC: Campus Life offers teens a much-needed environment to process whatever they’re going through and hear about a God who loves them.
Bushnell said, “Teens today are in a constant mode of being stressed and overwhelmed and a lot of the world assumes that they’re a mess. Campus Life provides a space where we see the positives and the potential in these teens. We see them as Jesus would see them, and we let them know that we are there to help them work through their problems while leading them to Christ.”