YFC Juvenile Justice Ministry volunteer ‘didn’t have to do it, but he knew it’s what God wanted him to do’
January 17, 2022
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Youth For Christ’s (YFC, www.yfc.net) Juvenile Justice Ministry is passionate about reaching youth who feel overlooked in the justice system. They look for humble and authentic volunteers to be the hands and feet of Jesus so young people feel seen, heard and valued. In a situation where it can be easy to feel neglected or forgotten, having volunteers who are ready to come alongside youth and support them through this pivotal time makes all the difference in the world.
At YFC Serving Kansas City, one volunteer went above and beyond to reach youth in the justice system after a challenge from his local church. Bob, a retired police officer of 40 years, approached YFC Serving Kansas City Executive Director Alex Mathew and asked what a former police officer could do for the organization. Bob had a heart to serve and under YFC’s training, Bob began to connect with youth who are incarcerated in his own community of Kansas City.
Mathew remarked on Bob’s willingness to serve: “What’s really powerful about this is to see how God can use someone that was a former police officer to reach kids in the system. Kids care about how big your heart is, and Bob’s posture is in the right place. Bob is concerned about what the youth would think about his career, so when kids ask him what he did, he often says he was in social services, just because he doesn’t want to make his career a barrier. In the past, some youth figured out that he was a former police officer, and they actually respected him even more.”
Through his training with YFC, Bob received a prayer card of a student and felt the Lord calling him to minister to him. Bob began a mentoring relationship with the student and after he was transferred to a state facility, Bob drove over an hour each way to stay connected. At the student’s high school graduation in the state facility, Bob was there with family to celebrate. The student’s family does not speak much English, but at the graduation celebration, words were not needed to feel the love Bob had for his friend.
Mathew commented, “They can’t communicate many words to each other, but you can see God working despite that. Some people believe that there are too many barriers to fully love. I feel like we have to turn off the news, start loving our neighbors and stop thinking about the excuses because Bob didn’t— Bob never had an excuse, and look at the impact he’s had on this community.”
Bob is now the YFC Juvenile Justice Ministry Site Director at a county facility and continues to recruit more volunteers from his community and his church.
YFC chapters impact thousands of communities across the nation, seeking out and serving youth from all walks of life. Young people are silently struggling through a wide variety of challenging issues—and through the YFC ministry God empowers, they see the living power of a loving God. YFC trains its leaders in a proven, relational ministry model called 3Story®, which encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life to lead people to Christ.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has over 130 chapters that impact communities across America.