YFC leader: ‘These young teen parents — and their children — are created in the image of God. We might be walking in a world that is unfamiliar to us, but there is beauty and resiliency and strength’
September 12, 2022
Denver— There are approximately 158,043 births to teen mothers (between the ages of 15-19) in America every year. Unfortunately, teen parents tend to struggle with their new role as a caregiver. A pregnant teenager can face social discrimination, and they may often not get the support they need to complete their studies, get a job, and care for themselves and their children. During such a pivotal time in their lives, many young parents don’t know where to turn to get the help they need to raise their children and pursue their own dreams.
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in the missional ministry community in America for 77 years, is dedicated to reaching 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. When it comes to teen parents, YFC’s Parent Life ministry seeks to connect with expectant and parenting teens and their children through intentional relationships with caring adults and community partnerships.
“Our aim is to empower teen parents to thrive in every aspect of life and to encourage them toward becoming life-long followers of Jesus Christ,” said YFC Parent Life Senior National Community Ministry Specialist Anabelle Chambers. “There are so many misconceptions about teen parents. All most of them want is to be the best parent possible for their children. These young teen parents — and their children — are created in the image of God. It’s easy for outsiders to forget that they are just kids themselves and still need guidance.”
“Being pregnant at such a young age can be incredibly traumatic,” Chambers added. “Consistent, loving, caring relationships can make all the difference in the world. And this relationship is not one-sided — it’s a journey of discovery for the teen parent and the mentor together. It has to be mutually vulnerable or it’s not authentic. The perception many of these students have is that Christians have it all together. By sharing our stories about how God showed up in our lives, they start to realize that if God can do that for us, He can do it for them too.”
“By coming alongside young parents during their time of need, we’re really reaching two generations,” Judy Phillips, director of staff training and parent life director for Metro Maryland YFC, said. “By building these strong, Christ-centered relationships, we’re loving on them and introducing Jesus to them in order to break a cycle and move toward health for a whole new generation.
“We ask the students, out of all the things that we do — getting diapers and tutoring and all the other things we help with — what is the one thing that’s most important? They always say, ‘You come back every week.’ It makes me cry because they are so sincere. A lot of times, when people hear all these youth are going through, it’s too much to handle and they leave. Having the commitment just to listen and come back is more powerful than you can imagine.
“We might be walking in a world that is unfamiliar to us, but there is beauty and resiliency and strength.”
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, 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.