YFC leader: ‘If I want my friends to know Jesus, my first and most important step is toward Jesus myself’
September 27, 2022
DENVER — TheCDC reports that adults who experienced meaningful connections as youth are approximately 50% less likely to have mental health issues, experience violence, or engage in risky sexual behavior and substance abuse. Creating significant bonds with caring adults can make all the difference for youth who are struggling during the most pivotal time in their lives.
Whether it’s stress at school, being in a military family, going through a teenage pregnancy, or even facing the juvenile justice system, Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) is ready and willing to bridge the gap and come alongside youth to point them towards a loving relationship with Jesus Christ. YFC leaders are guided by 3Story®, a way of life that guides followers of Jesus to be good news as they share The Good News.
“3Story® describes a way of being in relationship with God and other people at the same time,” said Teddi Pettee, YFC Senior Leader Formation Specialist. “As I develop a ‘3Story way of life,’ I intentionally practice being aware of God at work in me and the world. The more attuned to the love of God that I become, the more likely I am to be an unhurried presence in a stressed-out world. Rather than trying to fix or change people, I partner with Jesus who pursues people in love.”
3Story® is used at YFC to describe how to live in relationship with God and others. The three circles represent these stories — God’s Story, the leaders’ own story and the stories of young people. When the circles overlap, it means friendship is growing, trust is building, and transformation is happening.
The idea for 3Story® is inherently biblical, according to Pettee. “John 15 describes a conversation between Jesus and his closest friends at the end of Jesus life. Jesus teaches his friends to remain in Him, in His love, just as He has remained in His Father’s love. ‘If you don’t do this, if you don’t abide in me, you can do nothing.’ But if we do abide in Jesus, He promises to abide with us and in us,” Pettee said.
“Rather than feeling a pressure to go out and change people or fix something that is broken, I am invited to abide intimately in Christ and to follow Him as He enters the lives of my friends who don’t yet know Him,” Pettee explained. “Because 3Story® has caused me to fall more deeply in love with Jesus, I talk about him more naturally and gently. The pressure is off me to make a point and I trust more faithfully that God is at work in the lives of others and drawing them to Himself.
“3Story® concentrates on helping leaders abide in Jesus. What flows from an abiding relationship is the ability to love and listen, to discover the stories of other people and to see how God is inviting others toward Him. If I want my friends to know Jesus, my first and most important step is toward Jesus myself.”
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 them and 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 Dr. 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.