The Start of YFC
Youth for Christ has a distinctive history of youth evangelism. In the early 1940s during World War II, many young men, mostly ministers and evangelists, held large rallies in Canada, England and the United States, to reach young people. The first Canadian rally was held on December 30, 1944 in Toronto’s Massey Hall.
As the hunger for God’s Word grew, it became evident that there needed to be someone to coordinate this movement, providing leadership, developing 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.
1940s – 1950s
From the mid-1940s through the mid-1950s, YFC grew rapidly and spun off several other organizations, including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision International, Greater Europe Mission, Overseas Crusades, and Gospel Films. It was during this time that the famous YFC rallies took place, where thousands of youth, young adults, and middle-aged people would turn out on Saturday nights to hear famous preachers, movie stars, musicians, and others.
1950s – 1960s
From the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, YFC turned its focus to teenagers. In Canada, the organization-initiated Bible clubs, created Lifeline (a ministry to teen delinquents), ran teen talent contests, started Bible quiz games, sent Teen Teams overseas, and used camping trips to spread the gospel.
Through the mid-1960s teenagers were changing, and programs had to be changed to meet their needs. YFC began sharing more material between chapters and developed better training strategies for its staff. Youth for Christ also refocused its energy on unchurched teenagers– reaching and discipling them with personal attention.
The late 70’s featured an emphasis on the recruitment and training of young men and women in developing excellence in leadership. This period also saw a new commitment to the church through a special effort to enlist the general public through TV Specials.
1980s – 2000s
The 1980’s through the 2000s had been characterized by a strong sense of vision and a willingness to grow and adapt to reach Canada’s youth.
YFC’s motto has been “Geared to the Times, Anchored to the Rock” and as such, we have realized the importance of remaining current to the needs of today’s youth while staying focused on Christ as the Centre. 75 years after the first rally at Massey Hall, YFC continues to impact the lives of young people across Canada in almost every setting imaginable, including youth centres, concert venues, skateboard parks, schools, camps, and coffee shops from Vancouver Island in the west to Halifax in the east.
We are working in neighbourhoods across the country with youth coming from diverse backgrounds and facing unique challenges. Our hope is that by cultivating relationships with caring adults who will mentor and cheer them on, they will be able to bring about positive change to our communities–both now and in the future.
As we grow, we understand each individual’s life is shaped by a number of facets that influence who they are as a whole: physical, emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual. We aim to develop each of these areas through relationships so that every youth may reach their full potential.
YFC imparts God’s love, truth and hope to young people from all walks of life regardless of race, faith, economic level, or cultural background.
Youth for Christ understands each individual’s life is shaped by a number of facets that influence who they are as a whole.
It is through your partnership with YFC | Youth Unlimited that we are able to connect with young people. Partner with our ministry today to play a big part in meeting the needs of youth in your community!