Plans to Invest in YFC’s Leaders and Culture to Reach 1 Million Kids for Christ Every Year; Through the Holy Spirit, Strategic Action and a Multitude of Diverse Volunteers Who Care Deeply About Young People
June 7, 2021
DENVER, Colo.—Jacob Bland,the newPresident and CEO of Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), shared that his 100-day leadership plan at YFC includes “integrated spiritual rhythms.” Daily prayer, Bible studies, communion and devotions are the focus as he brings key leadership teams together with key field staff to plan and implement core YFC activities.
One of Bland’s main goals is teambuilding—listening to and honoring all levels of leadership and staff during “Coffee with the President” gatherings. Bland knows that Kingdom Diversity at YFC thrives when those who are on the frontlines participate and lend input into creative methods of reaching today’s youth.
His primary areas of focus for his first 100 days includes plans to be a listening leader, to invest in leaders and culture, and to implement a data-driven component, especially important as he unveils his five-year strategic plan.
“In order to be a listening leader, I’m conducting a listening tour and creating some ongoing channels to support that listening moving forward. As someone who knows YFC and has been a part of this culture for almost a quarter of a century, of course there are things that I am aware of, but there’s a lot of things that I don’t know, and a lot of things that I don’t see. So that’s where listening in these first hundred days is so important. My goal is to be transparent in communications.”
That transparency will dovetail later this year with his data-driven focus, using key performance indicators to help identify YFC’s strengths, challenges and opportunities. Bland plans to first invest in developing YFC’s leaders and culture, and then after the first year, to focus on growth.
“The five-year strategic plan will have a growth focus component to it, but the rallying cry – at least for the year ahead – is about developing faithful leaders in a Christ-centered culture. Then we will pray for, and work towards, growth.
“We are developing the kind of culture where chapters can thrive and grow because it’s our YFC team members who are leading the mission. It’s the volunteer who sits face-to-face with a kid and who unpacks the truth of the Gospel with a kid who’s never heard the Gospel before. At the end of the day, all that matters in our movement is that that conversation is taking place, and that the Holy Spirit is at work through that conversation.
“I pray that our YFC leaders will first keep falling in love with Jesus as our Savior and King—faithfully following Him in every aspect of our lives. As a result, I hope we become the kind of leaders through whom God will reach a million kids every year. To reach one million kids annually, it will take over 200,000 volunteers who care deeply about the spiritual condition of youth, so youth know that they’re never alone.”
Reflecting on his hope and plan for the future of YFC, Bland stated, “Youth For Christ is a family that I care deeply about, and I really do believe there are bright days ahead.
“There are youth who 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. I believe YFC has a unique place to play in this culture and that God has appointed us–anointed us–for this moment, for this culture.”
Following an extensive national search resulting in 230 highly qualified applicants, YFC’s National Board of Trustees appointed Jake Bland as the youth ministry’s 10th president and CEO by unanimous decision following Dan Wolgemuth’s announcement of his retirement as YFC president and CEO, after 16 years of dedicated service.
Bland, who formerly served as YFC Chief of Staff to the CEO, has been involved with YFC for 23 years – first serving as a high school student in a YFC music group, then as a volunteer. Bland was promoted through the YFC ministry over the past 18 years, serving in many leadership positions. In addition to his current role, Bland was also the President/CEO for the YFC Foundation (2018-present); Vice President, Development and Marketing YFC USA (2014-2020); Associate Vice President, Marketing, YFC USA (2012-2014); National Director, Digital Innovation, YFC USA (2010-2012) and Ministry Site Director, YFC Chapter in Peoria, Illinois (2004-2010).
YFC haschapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
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 more than 160 chapters that impact communities across America.
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.