YFC President Jake Bland: ‘The Gospel is as needed and as effective as ever, especially as the unfailing love of Christ meets today’s changing youth landscape’
October 31, 2022
DENVER — The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that today’s youth are dealing with depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders in ways never seen before. Globally, one in seven 10 to 19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder, and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds. The report specifies, “The consequences of failing to address adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.”
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in missional youth outreach for more than seven decades, is dedicated to uncovering God’s story of hope in the next generation that desperately needs it. 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.
“It’s no secret that there is a growing need among young people,” said YFC President and CEO Jake Bland. “The U.S. Surgeon General recently declared youth mental health as a state of emergency. 20 years ago, the biggest issue for teens was drunk driving or teen pregnancy. These days, those kinds of issues have dropped dramatically, and youth mental health needs are rapidly rising.
“The statistics are alarming. One third of young people report having no trusted adult in their lives. Over 50% of youth are not connected to a church. In America, we’re locking up more kids per capita than any other developed nation in the world. The reality is our kids in this nation are at a vulnerable tipping point — a pivotal moment. There’s a whole generation that could slip through the cracks.”
Bland continued, “But there’s an opportunity for great hope. I have never been more convinced that Christ is moving. Right now, we are living in the kinds of cultural conditions that God often uses for His purpose. Despite the challenges kids face and a culture that confuses, it’s never been clearer that God is already uncovering His story of hope among this next generation, and I believe He’s preparing to do even more.
“I know that God is going to use YFC to bring revival to today’s kids. YFC is currently celebrating that this year, twice as many kids made first time decisions to follow Jesus when compared to last year. It is clear that God’s Spirit is moving through leaders everywhere across the nation, and that the Gospel is as needed and as effective as ever, especially as the unfailing love of Christ meets today’s changing youth landscape.
“We at YFC know that all the anxiety, fear, and worry in today’s society stems from a deep-rooted need for identity, purpose, belonging that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ and the abundant and the eternal life that He brings. That’s why YFC exists — to bring the Gospel right to today’s youth by coming alongside them and building meaningful relationships during pivotal moments in their lives.”
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. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has over 130 chapters that impact communities across America.