For sixty years, Youth for Christ (YFC) has been communicating the life-changing
message of Jesus Christ to young people. Youth for Christ was born in the mid-1940s
through an impulse from the heart of God that simultaneously touched dozens of leaders
in different places with a concern to reach out to young people normal church channels
were missing. This led to dynamic young evangelists, using revolutionary methods,
conducting lively mass rallies in more than a dozen cities under the name of Youth
for Christ. With the rapid expansion of the movement there soon became a need for
leadership and organization and in 1944 Chicago pastor Torrey Johnson was elected
YFC’s first president, with Billy Graham as YFC’s first full-time worker.
By 1950, YFC was already an international movement with Youth for Christ springing
up in cities around the globe. In 1968, we also witnessed a development that was
to affect the lives and destinies of millions of young people worldwide. In a little
publicized conference early that year on the Caribbean Island of Jamaica, representatives
from different countries created the International Council of Youth for Christ with
Dr. Sam Wolgemuth as the first International President. The birth of this international
coordinating body marked a significant stage in the development of what had already
become a remarkable movement. The number of nations with Youth for Christ ministry
has grown to over 100. Throughout that half century, YFC’s earliest and most enduring
motto has been "Geared to the times, but anchored to the Rock."
Youth for Christ continued its growth in ministry reach and ministry locations throughout
the 70’s and 80’s. Different ministry models and ministry emphases were developed
and refined to reach young people around the world.
In 1994 Youth for Christ launched an extensive worldwide review of our movement led
by a Task Force made up of Youth for Christ senior staff from all over the world.
Their work was completed in 1996 with the publication of the Organizational Development
Study (ODS) Report and presented to the Youth for Christ movement in Taiwan. The
ODS recommendations were unanimously accepted by the YFC movement and so set in motion
the most ambitious restructuring in YFC’s 50 year history. The ODS report underscored
the need for a ‘new birth’ of Youth for Christ involving renewal and realignment
with a new vision and mission.
In March 2000 the YFC family came together in Muhltal, Germany for prayer and to
corporately seek God’s direction. Most of the Youth for Christ leadership, including
the International Board, attended the gathering, whilst others were linked through
the Internet. As they worshipped and prayed together, the Lord exposed and dealt
with the interpersonal and structural issues that were hindering the renovation and
renewal of YFC, and by the end of that week the Lord had revealed and confirmed the
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