As the end of another school year looms, Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net), a leader in the missional ministry community in America for 77 years, reflects on the inaugural year of its unique partnership with Bethel University in Indiana. YFC and Bethel started an online program for select students designed to prepare them for future ministry. Young people who join YFC’s staff or volunteer ranks will be able to enroll in the program to earn a fully accredited associate’s or bachelor’s degree with discounted tuition through Bethel University.
Through this partnership, interns, staff and volunteers serving with Youth For Christ can earn a college degree. This can be done while continuing to stay involved with YFC’s various ministries and outreaches. In fact, by continuing to work with YFC, the student can apply their experience with YFC as college credit in the program. For YFC, this allows younger leaders to stay connected with mentors, engaging the next generation and pursuing higher education at the same time. This innovative collaboration will offer discounted college degrees to YFC’s young leaders, providing opportunities for those who couldn’t afford higher education.
INVESTING IN LEADERS
This partnership is necessary to empower and equip future leaders, according to YFC President Jake Bland. “I pray that this partnership with Bethel University will help usher in an era of investing in our leaders,” Bland said. “There’s been evidence that the Lord has been in this from the very beginning. Christ is glorified through Kingdom partnerships, and collectively we get to invest in the next generation. What’s clear to me is that God is pushing YFC to dream bigger. With that said, we ask, ‘How can we find shared wins and better position YFC as generous partners in the Kingdom?’”
One student, Lexi, is fully utilizing this powerful program and reaping the benefits. She started volunteering with YFC and quickly signed up to participate in the Bethel program. She is now involved in YFC’s “Leader’s In Training” program and an active member in her local YFC chapter. For Lexi, the YFC/Bethel program is a dream come true. She would not have been able to go to college without this opportunity. Her local YFC chapter even helped provide her with a recycled laptop for her studies. In return, she is already applying the lessons she learns from her studies in her relationships with the local youth.
BETTERMENT OF THE KINGDOM
“This is exactly what this partnership is all about,” Bland said. “We want to empower young believers to utilize their God-given talents for the betterment of the Kingdom. This enabled partnership enhances YFC’s mission locally. It also advances Christ’s great commission beyond YFC. We are working towards a common goal. That goal is to impact the lives of youth in need while glorifying the Lord and His divine plan.”
There are dozens of students enrolled in the program already, many of which are spread across the country. YFC and Bethel University are working to build community and camaraderie. The areas of study vary widely from Academics, Behavioral Science, Biblical Studies, Business, Christian Counseling, Ministry & Leadership, Organizational Leadership, Communications, Education, Worship Arts, and Youth Ministry. All the chosen majors will help further the ministry of YFC.