Our History

Since 1944, Youth for Christ has had a distinctive history of youth evangelism. In the early 1940s, during World War II, many young men, mostly ministers and evangelists, were holding large rallies in Canada, England and the United States. As the hunger for God’s Word grew it became evident that there needed to be someone to coordinate this movement, providing leadership, strategy, and coordinating speakers, musicians and locations. Beginning in dozens of cities at the end of World War II, YFC quickly organized into a national movement. Billy Graham became YFC’s first full-time staff member.

The YFC rallies drew thousands of young people to central auditoriums on Saturday nights. As the years passed, YFC’s ministry methodology turned to Bible clubs. It was during this period of ministry that the concept of teen-to-teen evangelism was birthed. In the mid sixties and early seventies, Campus Life ministries to high school and middle school students began to be the focus of YFC ministry. Since that time, there have been several ministry models created including:

  • Juvenile Justice Ministries, reaching at-risk and institutionalized youth
  • Teen Parents, mentoring and equipping young parents with parenting skills as well as the love of Jesus Christ
  • City Life, providing programs to reach millions of youth through holistic approaches
  • Friend to Friend, coaching students who, together, actively love in a way that naturally invites friends to follow Jesus with them
  • Military Youth ministry, reaching teenagers on U.S. military bases throughout the world

Youth for Christ/USA is a chartered program of Youth for Christ International. More than 1500 paid staff members and 15,000 volunteers serve in more than 100 countries around the world.

Youth for Christ began in Central Iowa in 1953 when some faithful leaders and churches laid the foundation. They reached students with parties, Bible camps, Senior Banquet, rallies, quiz teams, and choirs. These faithful pioneers had a vision taht we are keeping today, which is to reach students on the high school and middle school campuses in the Des Moines area.

Today we are partnering with local churches and like-minded partners to reach students through campus clubs, home clubs, coaching, tutoring, and one-on-one appointments. We reach students from many different backgrounds and currently are serving in ten different schools. Our goal is to have ministries in every middle and high school in Central Iowa in order to reach every young person, one at a time.