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November 1999: Youth For Christ Throughout the World

Photograph of a 1948 YFC rally in the town hall in Eastbourne, England.

Youth For Christ had small but dynamic beginnings. Evangelist Jack Wyrtzen and broadcaster evangelist Percy Crawford are only two examples of those whose influence paved the way for this innovative and enthusiastic outreach to teenagers. YFC started during World War II as American and Canadian pastors began holding evangelistic rallies aimed at reaching young people. In 1944 leaders of these various efforts met in Winona Lake, Indiana, to facilitate cooperation. But before another year had passed, they had formed Youth For Christ International, giving organizational structure to this spiritual movement. That development, however, did not prevent it from evolving, and over the years YFC replaced its rallies, which had been the original primary feature, with clubs. Youth For Christ's activity and influence were not, as the above photograph illustrates, confined to North America. In YFC's original structure, the Overseas Division sent evangelists, musicians and Christian teens to other countries to help spread the gospel and support the work national churches were doing. Clubs started in other countries led to the formation of autonomous national organizations. Youth For Christ played a key role in the Evangelical church in the second half of the twentieth century. It was a training ground for young evangelists and Christian leaders, brought many young people to faith in and commitment to Christ, and stimulated the growth of other organizations as well, such as Far Eastern Gospel Crusade (now SEND International), which grew out of the evangelistic work of military personnel in Japan and the Philippines immediately following World War II.

You can read more about Youth For Christ or the description of Collection 48, the YFC records at the Archives.

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Last Revised: 11/01/99
Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2005