‘When the World Stops, God’s Plan Doesn’t’
Youth For Christ Innovates Digital Gospel Community, Ministry Amid Mandated Social Distancing
June 24, 2020
GREELEY, Colo.—Counteracting the growing isolation teens are experiencing due to social distancing, a Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) chapter in northern Colorado is shrinking the felt distance digitally through individual check-ins and by finding creative ways to connect.
As much of the country scrambled to find a new normal, Northern Colorado Youth For Christ staff maintained their normal rhythm of investing in area teenagers by meeting them where most teens already are—on their smartphones. One staff member found that faithfully posting daily questions online for students to respond to opened a door for sharing the Gospel.
“I was able to reach out to one of the kids the other day who expressed that they were just finding it hard to find hope in the middle of all of this,” Jayme Lechman said. “And I was able to share the hope that I have personally found in Jesus, and it was just a great open door to share.”
YFC staff acted early on to surmount the obstacles quarantine poses to mentorship and discipleship. As Colorado businesses and even ministries closed down, teens opened up about feeling distant from God, uncertainty in prayer, and reading the Bible.
“So, I got to connect with a student about how he’s been doing in his relationship with God since the quarantine, and he said, honestly, that it had been kind of absent,” Ryan Behl said. “And I also got to ask how he’d like to be growing, and he mentioned how he doesn’t always really know how to pray or what to do with that. And so I got to send him a couple of Bible reading plans through the YouVersion app about prayer and will be connecting with him about that.”
The care and connection from the YFC staff, contrasted against the confusion and loneliness of quarantine, provided teens with a source of mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Students shared with staff how receiving individual check-ins encouraged them and that they were “filled with joy.”
In the first six weeks of quarantine, Northern Colorado Youth For Christ reached more than 450 students through 752 interactions with staff. Some YFC leaders even turned rising above the limits of quarantine into a friendly competition.
“We’ve been having fun working with kids, playing a new game called ‘King of COVID,’” Nigel Kucera said. “It’s been a list of challenges full of ways that kids can get closer to each other, keep our faith community strong, stay healthy, and have some fun.
“It’s been a great way for us to practice our spiritual gifts even when we’re stuck at home, and it sparks some good conversation just to remind each other that even though the world seems to be on pause, God’s plan isn’t,” Kucera continued.
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.