‘They Are Trying to Survive’
Youth for Christ Teaches Financial Management to Economically Devastated While Encouraging Independence and Relationship with Jesus
June 16, 2020
TACOMA, Wash.—An urban Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) chapter in a state ravaged early on by the pandemic has innovated to impart financial wisdom across the barriers of teen hardships, including social distancing.
Intent on continuing their practical, real-world ministry to Tacoma teens, Josh and Anabelle Chambers directly polled the young men and women they have spent months or even years cultivating relationships with. What the teens told them they wanted surprised the husband-and-wife team.
“The number one thing by far was money management,” Josh Chambers said. “They want to learn how to budget, finance and save. And so from there, we have a board member who actually works as a financial planner. So I reached out to him and was like, ‘Hey, our kids want to learn about financial planning. Can you come up with something that would benefit them?’”
The board member agreed, and within weeks, teens started logging in for Zoom calls to learn the basics of personal finance.
Chambers said the YFC chapter’s attention to the “realistic” has already created opportunities to share the Gospel. One teen asked him, “How realistic is it for me as a high school student to get a job [and] save enough money where I can be independent?” Chambers recalled.
“Going through the budgeting and seeing income gave him a realistic view like, ‘Oh, I don’t even have a job right now. Where do I even go from this? This is what expenses look like?’” Chambers said. “It was realistic, but it was able to springboard into a conversation saying, ‘Hey, I know it’s hard. I get you. But Jesus is with you even in that. You build this and then trust that Jesus is going to walk with you.’ It’s given a good springboard into ‘well, it’s real life.’”
Helping youths meet practical maturity milestones—including financial independence—could lead to their interest in spiritual maturity and in a relationship with Christ.
“They’re trying to survive,” Anabelle Chambers said, painting the picture of many teens YFC serves. “Their home life is not good, they have no job, no money, no independence, no skills. Even trying to get a job is going to take a bit. To keep the job is going to be a bit. To save enough money to be on their own will be a bit. So, moving them towards that type of independence, or a safe environment, there will be so many roadblocks and things in the way. And so, this has all been good to cast a vision and a role for them in the future.
“And we would love to give them Jesus and tools so that they can handle their lives and the relationship with their families right now,” she continued. “But they’re not open to that. And so we want them to be, but until then, it would be good just to give them information and tools and guidance on how to have healthy outlets, have a job that’s giving you time and build your skills so you can deal with people—all while you’re figuring out life.”
Josh and Anabelle Chambers work with teens through City Life—a YFC model focused on transforming urban teens, families, and communities—and Parent Life, which encourages pregnant and parenting teens toward independence and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories like these 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 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 impacting communities across America.
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.