Recently I have written a couple of posts concerning the YFC Nomad team and my daughter Beth, who is now leading the team after two years as a volunteer. Last Saturday I went with my wife and our youngest son John to Beth’s commissioning service. This wasn’t just a commissioning service for new YFC staff members and volunteers – it was also a service of celebration for seventy years of Youth for Christ.
We learned much about the organisation during the service. For instance, I hadn’t realised that Billy Graham was the first employee of Youth for Christ. Apparently he spoke at his first YFC rally in Chicago in 1944, two years before YFC International officially came into being. Billy Graham travelled to England in 1946 to help with the outreach work as it spread to the youth of Europe.
Now our family has past form with YFC. Our eldest son Nick (who is the founder of this blog) served with YFC for a year back in 1999-2000 before he started a three-year youth worker training programme. Nick was also part of a touring team, but his team (known as Fly) was involved in basketball. The fact that Nick is now training to be a Baptist Minister blesses our family further and is evidence of what a gap year with YFC can lead to.
But it’s not just about Billy Graham, or Nick, or Beth. Last Saturday a host of new staff members and volunteers were commissioned into their roles. Interestingly, four of the five Nomad team members from 2015-2016 are continuing to serve with YFC, two as staff and two as second-year volunteers. Several other young volunteers from last year are giving up a second year to serve again with YFC. This is an incredible ministry that continues because of selfless giving of time by volunteers, and because of gifts of finance and prayer by numerous folk across the world.
Now this post is not about drumming up financial support but if you wanted to give in that way then there are links to support people at YFC on their website, Beth included (https://yfc.uk/team/bethwelford/support/). No, my concern is that the church as a whole is not reaching the world outside its doors. I was overwhelmed to hear last Saturday about what YFC has achieved over the last seventy years, and what it is planning to achieve in the future.
And so it is that once again I find myself challenged by the lack of contact between the church generally and the lost of our nations. Evangelism cannot be a once-a-year event like when our church holds a light party in a local park on 31 October (fantastic as that event is). Putting a stable on the forecourt at Christmas with livestock inside was a great idea, but I am not sure what it achieved for the Kingdom. So the question I am asking of myself, and my church is what exactly are we achieving for the Kingdom in our daily lives and in our church lives?
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)