Posted on by Mark Lindberg

"Is the COVID-19 outbreak affecting Youth for Christ?"  The simple answer is YES.  YFC is being impacted on several fronts. The coronavirus pandemic and consequent public anxiety, panic hoarding, gathering restrictions, social distancing and now shelter-in-place order have created challenges for our ministry that we have never encountered before.
It is has changed the way we are able to interact with students, volunteers and even staff. It has created a vacuum where there was once connections, appointments and group meetings. It has generated fear and concern for financial stability regarding our regular giving, general operational costs and even staff salaries. With the close of schools and restrictions on assembling groups of people, ALL of our on-campus and after school ministry sites have been shut down. For a ministry that is made up of relationship-building, outreach, group activities, large gatherings, camps and trips, it feels like everything has come to a screeching halt... but has it?

As we monitor and respond to challenges posed by the coronavirus, our greatest concern at Youth for Christ is for the safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers and students we work with. In compliance with health officials recommendations and government mandated restrictions, we have suspended all of our ministry activities that could increase the risk of exposure or spread of the virus. Clubs, after school meetings, concerts, fundraisers, banquets, trips and sporting events have all been placed on hold. In addition, out of an abundance of caution, we are instituting a temporary policy of no face-to-face ministry activity with young people in any ministry model through April 30th. We will be reevaluating this policy at that time.

Absolutely not. We are still doing ministry... it just looks different. In fact, we will be working even harder over the coming weeks as we practice social distancing while ministering to students and volunteers at the same level of engagement as before. Our ministry site leaders and YFC staff have been planning and brainstorming, utilizing new resources and creating a plan to minister to teens virtually. For as long as this lasts, we will continue to communicate the love of Jesus to kids and build Christ-sharing relationships. We have an opportunity to do ministry in new and creative ways that could result not in less ministry impact, but more!

As we enter into these uncertain times, we realize that the situation is changing daily--some days, hourly.  We are constantly having to adapt and readjust our plan forward. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is our ministry's needs. While we are working so hard to meet the needs of young people, we can't deny the reality that we are unable to serve others from an empty tank! We are already beginning to see the effects of this pandemic on our donations. Giving is rapidly declining and any reserves are being quickly depleted as people and businesses are being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

This is a great question and we're glad you asked!  Here are three ways you can help our ministry navigate this difficult season:

1) PRAY - Pray that we continue to find creative ways to reach teens with the gospeland that our staff and volunteers stay inspired and tireless. Pray also that our funding needs are met so that we do not have to lay off any staff or reduce hours. Pray that more young people get connected to our ministry and find the hope that is found only in Jesus!

2) ENCOURAGE - During times like these, our team can begin to feel pretty alone.  The distance between them and their peers and their students will take its toll on their morale and discouragement can easily set in. We'd love to hear from our supporters and friends who believe in what we do and value our work in the community.

3) GIVE - As mentioned earlier, our funds are quickly disappearing without a way in sight to replenish them.  We are trusting in God's faithfulness and his track record of provision for us throughout our history as a ministry. We know that, time and time again, God uses His people to move in generosity during trying times. Please prayerfully consider how God may be speaking to you about your role in meeting these needs. Every gift, of any amount, is extremely helpful at this time. Thank you for your partnership with us as we make a difference in the lives of young people together!

May God bless you and keep you safe,

Jeremiah Vik
Executive Director

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