USA (MNN) — Millions are students in the United States are heading back to school this week. Many are facing incredible problems. Many are lonely. Many are searching. One ministry is getting ready to reach out to them.
Mark Jevert with Youth for Christ says this is a busy time of year. "With almost 200 locations around the country, that represents probably 2,000 different campuses, middle school and high school, around the country. The next two weeks are important as we kick off and make impressions with new freshman and also sophomores, juniors and seniors."
According to Jevert, campuses will be having pizza parties and bottomless root beer floats and other fun activities to get the year started, "It's just an opportunity to engage kids and get to know names, but also to start to build relationships [and discuss] what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
According to Jevert, this isn't a club for Christians. "Our activities are geared at reaching kids who don't darken the door of a church, who have not been plugged in in any way, shape or form."
The bottom line is YFC is effective in seeing young people turn to Christ. "If you were to take a 10-year average, we're probably looking at 30,000 to 35,000 young people a school year who come to Christ through the ministry of Youth for Christ."
Jevert says the rapid change in the culture is a challenge for YFC outreach. "The challenges that the teens face in the 80's and 90's are some of the challenges that 4th graders are facing. Just look at the explosion of social networking — MySpace and Facebook. There are just many competing forces for young people's attention."
Jeanie Hochstettler is Ministry Director of YFC Palm Beach County Florida. Over 500 kids came to Christ through the ministry last year. But it's not enough to get them to the point of salvation. Hochstettler says they're filtered into small groups "where they will start at the very, very beginning, relationships with Jesus, and throughout the three years that they're in the middle school and into high school, it is a discipleship process."
That's when their integrated into the local church. "YFC is only going to be in these kids' lives for maybe for maybe three to four years. So we want them to be involved in the local church, so that they will have that local church body the rest of their lives."
Partners are always needed to help with small groups. Funding is also needed to help with kick-off events.
Information is available on how to pray and volunteer at [email protected]