By Will Fairless
East Alabama Youth For Christ held its annual Comedy Cafe at First Baptist Church in Opelika on the evenings of Nov. 9 and 10. The events featured speakers involved with YFC and a set by comedian Mike Goodwin.
Tabitha Vasilas, executive director of East Alabama Youth For Christ, spoke about the organization’s mission and why it is important. She gave the following statistics relevant to that mission:
“In 1999, approximately 70% of Americans regularly attended church. The most recent census reported that less than 20% of Americans attend church on a regular basis… The number of American Christians has rapidly declined while the religiously unaffiliated has been on a rapid incline in the last decade. This group includes the agnostics and the atheists…
Research has shown that this generation—not the millennials, but the one behind them—has shown that they are the most lonely and isolated generation that has ever existed…
A third of youth have one or less trusted adult in their lives. Sociology studies, psychology studies say that in order for a youth to develop properly and healthy, you need at least five adults in your life that are positive, trusted adults, and a third of the youth in our American society have less than one…
In our area, there’s over 40,000 youth ages 11–19, so that’s the five-county area. Over 22,000 children and youth are in a single-parent, fatherless home.”
Vasilas went on to discuss an increasing abortion rate, crime rate, adolescent suicide rate and rate of teenagers not in school nor working.
“You may agree that based on these national statistics and local statistics, we are in a crisis or we are headed for a crisis,” she said. “To know that there are kids in our society that have never—in America, I’m not talking about these third-world countries I was mentioning; I’m not talking about Muslim countries; in the United States of America, there are kids who have never heard the name of Jesus and have never opened up a bible. That is disturbing to me.”
YFC is meant to be the solution to the problems Vasilas identified.
Emma Pitcock spoke about the Juvenile Justice Ministry (JJM), one of East Alabama YFC’s three programs (JJM, Campus Life middle school and Campus Life high school).
Additionally, there were video testimonies from young people who have benefitted from some program from the YFC and live testimonies from adults involved with the program.
Earvin Comer and Janiee Rush performed a song after a call to give, and Goodwin finished the event with about half an hour of stand up comedy.
About Youth For Christ
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.
As part of the body of Christ, the vision of Youth For Christ is to see every young person in every people group and in every nation have the opportunity to make an informed decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ and become a part of the local church.
Campus life: Campus life combines healthy relationships with creative programs to help middle and high school students make good choices, establish a solid foundation for life and positively impact their schools for Christ.
Juvenile Justice Ministry: JJM seeks to engage young people as they are met in a variety of youth-serving institutions.