east alabama yfc
While some organizations are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic, Youth For Christ (YFC) East Alabama finds just the opposite is happening for them.
“Ironically, COVID helped us expand our ministry efforts,” said Tabitha Vasilas, Executive Director at East Alabama Area YFC.
The local YFC chapter found its ministry growing despite the COVID restrictions at many of the ministry sites. When Vasilas first came on board, YFC was only serving two of the five chartered counties throughout East Alabama. During the pandemic, however, “We expanded ministry into two additional counties, and then added another county to our chartered area here recently,” she said.
Over this past year, YFC learned that most of the youth it serves have no basic knowledge of the Word of God.
Vasilas commented, “We learned that, despite the fact that we are located in the ‘Bible Belt,’ many of our students don’t own a Bible or even know basic Bible stories or characters such as Noah or Moses.”
Consequently, East Alabama YFC began a campaign to collect Bibles and backpacks for children in the detention center and schools.
The goal is to collect 500 Bibles and backpacks, then distribute them to children in the community who need them.
“I did some research and found it devastating; statistically, only 4% of Generation Z members (youth ages 11-19) have a biblical worldview,” Vasilas said. “This is a disturbing and alarming statistic. It is evidence of how far we have removed God from our society. Without His standard of morality to influence and shape their thinking and decision-making, our youth will remain without hope.”
Vasilas and the YFC team found a serious problem when looking further into the struggles of the local kids in the community.
“We’re seeing greater numbers of issues: identity struggles, insecurity, depression, mental health … We asked school administrators, ‘What’s the number one need? How can we serve you?’ They answered unanimously, ‘Can you get us mental health services? Kids as young as kindergarten are suicidal, and it’s just awful,’” she commented.
“With all the many different voices coming at the youth of our society, and the access that they have to things we didn’t have growing up, it is just overwhelming for them and leading them into very, very dark places,” Vasilas said.
“We believe that The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. And that Jesus is the light and hope of this world — the way out of the darkness. The Bible says, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’ And the word of God is the truth, and it points to the truth, which is Jesus. Jesus is the solution to everything. The youth desperately need access to the Bible in order to discover for themselves who this Jesus is and what he has done for them.
“At East Alabama YFC, we’ve found it’s the presence of caring adults that are willing to share the Truth in love that really makes the impact on youth,” Vasilas said.
For a generation who tend to identify themselves as having no religion at all (the “nones”), these key moments of interaction are just as important as getting the Bible and backpacks into their hands.
YFC has chapters impacting thousands of communities across the nation that seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues — and now they see the living power of a loving God.
YFC 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 in order to lead people to Christ.
YFC has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. 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 approximately 140 chapters that impact communities across America.
Visit the Youth For Christ media page here. Learn more about Youth For Christ at its website, www.yfc.net, Facebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed @yfcusa or on Vimeo.