The Vision Was Simple, the Message Was Strong
February 1, 2021
Denver— It was 1944. Young people were returning from World War II, a bit aimless in their own lives. Torrey Johnson, along with several other leaders, hatched a dream of an event in a stadium – Soldier Field in Chicago. The dream focused on giving young people an opportunity to respond to the message of the Gospel. On Memorial Day, 1945, that dream was acquired: in a packed stadium that held 74,260 people, young people were given a seat to listen.
“The vision was simple, and the message was strong,” Dan Wolgemuth, president and CEO of Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) explained. “In May of 1945, the Holy Spirit filled that stadium. There were over 74,000 young people in attendance, dressed in their best attire. They came out of respect and curiosity to hear a message that was timeless and ageless. To this day, we continue 76 years after that event at Soldier Field in Chicago to connect with young people.”
The event, promoted as Youth For Christ, was all-inclusive within the youth community. Johnson organized some of the brightest young communicators in the country. Among them was a young Billy Graham, who possessed the ability to speak to a vast audience while also connecting one-on-one.
Looking back over the last five years in YFC history, Wolgemuth pointed out that 74,600 young people have said yes to Jesus. “That number would fill Soldier Field and create a standing room only opportunity for young people. In the mission of Youth For Christ, we make sure that there is room for every single young person who wants to know about a relationship with Jesus.”
“As we celebrate our 76th year in Youth For Christ, we celebrate it with you,” Wolgemuth exclaimed. “We celebrate it because of you. Most importantly, we celebrate it for our King.
“To say that YFC has a vision to see 1 million lost young people, every single year in a relationship with a Youth For Christ leader is not correct,” Wolgemuth concluded. “That is not our vision. That is God’s vision. That is who we were then. And that is who we are today.”
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.
Youth For Christ staff and volunteers are encouraged by the YFC 3Story® concept, which is based on the belief that kids will be reached for Christ when met at their point of need—and as workers connect their stories with Jesus’s story. The ministry efforts of Youth For Christ are changing lives, one young person at a time.
Youth For Christ 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 in order to lead people to Christ. For more information, visit yfc.net.
Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories through#YFCBeTheStory, an initiative to help spread the word across the nation about how YFC chapters are making a difference in their communities.
Youth For Christ 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.