In modeling after Christ, we put relationships first in everything we do, with God and then with others. YFC focuses on being a relationship ministry, One way we do this is to train our staff to understand the national strategic plan and best practices to reach our goals. The focus for staff is mobilizing adult leaders that build relationships with teenagers in our communities. 

PCL does this through FOCUS ON THREE, finding THREE teens that you will commit to building a relationship with, and doing this with the mission God has given YFC which is called THREE STORY (3story). If you notice our branding in the upper left corner of this letter, this is THREE Story. The circles in order from top to bottom connect and stand for God’s story, our story, their story. By modeling and sharing God’s story in our lives, prayerfully that will open up opportunities to share our story, build trust with teens, and showing them how Christ’s love can change their story. Walking with them into the mess that may be their life, and helping them discover how the Word of God, Jesus’ resurrection, and the Holy Spirit can lead them to peace and purpose. 

Ms. Bridgette (above) is one of the PCL leaders, and is a beautiful example of our mission. She tells me she is not sure she is doing this right, and I encourage her that she is one of our best in THREE Story. After this picture was taken I looked at her and said, “Wow look who has THREE!” She laughed as only she can and tried to deny it. 

There is ONE more thing to mention - the only way we can fulfill our calling in this is through your teamwork in giving, and for that we say thank you. Lately at Peoria YFC our funds have been tight, and sadly a lot of our prayers in meetings have included increased funding. So I am asking you to help us by FOCUSING ON THREE and asking 3 people, families, churches, etc. to join our team with funding like you already are doing. Please help our today’s THREE to become Focus on 3,000 like the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  We will boldly proclaim and let the Holy Spirit lead them to Christ! 


PCL Meal Team Wish List

Every Monday our meal team prepares a meal for 40-60 people and does it very well. They have asked me to help them find more pots and pans. We will accept any size, function, and condition for this ministry team. Please drop them by our YFC office or call me and I will pick them up. We desire to feed God’s people mind, body, and soul. Thank you in advance, Jay

If you could ask God one question…

Metamora Center.jpg

If you could ask God one question, what would you ask?” recently gathered with a group of 40+ local Middle School students and posed that question. Students wrote down questions on Post-It notes and stuck them to the wall. The questions ranged from the silly to the profound to the heart-breaking.

“Why do good people have to suffer?”

“Can I have a selfie?”

“Who made God?”

“What if Jesus was lying about being God?”

“How high can I jump off stuff?”

“What was your plan when my parents got divorced?”

“Is there anything you can’t do?”

“Why am I in the wrong body?”

My leaders and I took turns reading the questions and silently praying for these young students under our care. The rest of the night was spent helping them understand that God is not afraid of their questions. At the end of the night, we took time to answer some of their questions but most of them remained unanswered because of time constraints on the evening. 

If we’re honest, we all have unanswered questions about life and faith. Our hope is for the Metamora Teen Center to be a place where students will feel comfortable asking questions and finding answers. A place where students and adults will meet to share their faith stories and experience life together. A place where students will discover the ultimate answer to all of life’s questions - JESUS.

Thank you for your prayers & partnership as we take the next steps in providing this new Ministry Site for students.

Chris Genders

It’s all about relationships


What would you say is the most important part of a ministry? Is it the programs? The trips and events? Although a ministry is made up of many parts, we have come to realize that there is one thing that towers above all else when it comes to effectiveness in ministry. It’s all about relationships. Whether we are talking about our relationship with the community, with our students, or our relationship with God, relationships shape and guide all we do in our ministry. Over the past few months, we have seen God work in all of these relationships. Our relationships with students deepened at YFC Camp, God provided new leaders in our mission, and we are seeing new opportunities arise from our community relationships as well!

The picture above is from YFC Camp this year. Camp seems to be the place where we see God move most, not only in our lives, but in students as well. This year we took 19 students and 5 leaders to camp. This week was packed with fun, but also with deep conversation between teens and leaders. Of course, this led many young people to grow closer to our leaders, but I was amazed to see how God used this to draw students closer to himself! Some have yet to say yes to Jesus, but we did see God stir in their hearts. I believe God has more planned for them this semester.

We recently kicked off our ministry for this semester, and already I’m hopeful to see what God has in store. Over half of the students at our kick-off were new and we had two new leaders join us for the first time! 

We long to see students come into relationships with loving Christian adults, and God is making this happen! Looking forward, I see relational ministry being the key part of our year, especially as we hold club at a new location! That’s right! The youth center is starting up, and we are looking forward to meeting and knowing more Metamora area teens.

Because of the growth in Metamora, we need your help. We desire that the plans before us would be fruitful, but we unfortunately cannot do this without people to fund what God is doing. Please consider joining us on this mission to reach lost teens in our community. There are many ways to be on the team, ranging from financial support, to supplying a meal. Please let me know if you would be willing to join us in any way! Please also join us in prayer for our leaders, our students, and for all Campus Life Ministry.

We cannot do His work without Him. Pray that our leaders would pursue their relationship with Jesus first, and through that be strengthened to do all that God is calling us to do.

Life After Camp


Summer 2019 has ended and the 2019-2020 school year is now in full swing! Our summer was FULL of lots of big and exciting things, but one of the best weeks was the very last week of summer that we spent at YFC CAMP. We took 18 students, 3 new ministry leaders (plus two veteran leaders), several Project Serve team members, and our son Colton even got to tag along! We saw relationships formed, fears conquered,  and heard hundreds of students say ‘YES’ to Jesus. 

  • 6 Students said YES to a relationship with Jesus for the first time.

  • 8 Students said YES AGAIN to Jesus

  • 4 Students said they weren’t quite ready to make the decision yet.

One of my favorite parts of Camp is coming home. Not because I missed my bed, more than 5 hours of sleep, or my dogs, but because Camp doesn’t actually end when we get on the bus to come home. Camp is just the starting place of building relationships with students and them building a relationship with Jesus. We aren’t just involved in their life one week of the summer - we get to walk, talk, and share Jesus with them all the time!

We launched CLUB on August 26th and all of the students who came to Camp with us, whether they said yes or not, are coming to Club and BRINGING THEIR FRIENDS.  So now most Monday nights of the school year you can find us playing crazy games, being goofy, eating all the snacks, and spending intentional time discussing and sharing Jesus with students. 

BUT Club is just one way we get to hangout and share Jesus with them. The Ministry Leader team has been to football games, volleyball games, hosted Bible studies, shared meals, and so many other things. We are so excited to see what God has in store this school year for Limestone Campus Life!



We Need You

The 2019-2020 school year is in full swing and we need you! Ministry at Limestone High School is not possible without people who faithfully giving to the mission of YFC. Would you consider doing a few things? #1 if you are already giving, increasing your monthly gift to help support our mission. #2 If you are not currently giving to start giving to Limestone Campus Life, I could go on and on about how you would be changing the lives of teens. #3 Share this letter with a friend or family member and let them know about Limestone Campus Life.

Meal Time!!


“Mr. CJ, when can you come pick me up?” This is something I hear often. Residents who are released from JDC have been calling and are excited to meet with our team. “A” recently has connected with our team and is eager to get a job. One of the tricky parts for employers is to see “A” for who he is and not as a former resident of Juvenile Detention. 

Most Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, our team is inside a detention center. We get to build relationships, and challenge their thought process on life and faith. In a recent conversation we were talking about stealing, which led to a conversation on trusting banks, which led to why God doesn’t want us to steal from each other. There was more than I described, but this is how some of our conversations go. This particular day one youth was defending why his old life is better than God’s way and by the end started to rethink his position. 

Recently JJM had our first “fusion” after summer break. “Frankie” showed up, which was a very nice surprise, but it was right before we went on summer break. He had zero interest in anything “religious.” For our kick-off we set up 9 Square (their favorite game) and Frankie showed up to play! He had a blast and even cracked a smile or two. We eventually ganged up on one of the staff to get them “out.” This simple game allowed us to build some relationships. We talked afterwards and got to know each other a little better. Please be praying for Frankie and that God will draw him closer. 

JJM is such an important ministry and you are directly a part of it though your prayers. We need to expand our prayer team, support team, and most importantly our relationship building team. If you can be a part, please contact me and I would love to have you consider one of these teams!

                   Grace and Peace,


Sunday Church starts with doughnuts and ends with prayer. We could use a few people willing to give $10 dollars or more a month to provide the funds for doughnuts. These doughnuts draw the students into participation and is another great way for us to build relationships with the residents of McLean Co. Juvenile Detention. 

“And did I mention, keep praying?”


I have a strange habit of going through old emails and phone notes with the intention of deleting them to make room, and then get caught up reading through them all. The power of nostalgia is incredible! As I scoured through emails from old jobs, I came across one from a former boss, and now friend. He talked about things we needed to be ready to start the job, stuff we needed to bring (it was a summer camp out of state), and how we needed to prepare our hearts. 

After listing close to 50 things we needed to accomplish and look over, he closed with this statement: “And did I mention, keep praying?”

He had. He mentioned it a total of 37 times just in that email. And in every email prior, and every email after that as well. I stopped counting when I reached 200. 

Prayer is one of the most important parts of ministry. Praying and listening to God, and meditating on the Word are SO important. At YFC, we cover our ministry in prayer. We pray before we begin meetings and close meetings, and often in the middle. It has taught me so much about living with God. Doing ministry with God. It has taught me about being faithful, and waiting on God to move before I take a step. 

I am so thankful this is the ministry God has called me into, and I am so looking forward to what comes next. But for now, I will be still in the presence of God, and continue to pray for the students, the faculty, the parents,  the ministry leaders, and the ministry partners (that could be you!) who have dedicated their time and energy to provide us with what we need to continue moving forward. Please join me in doing this! 

We Are Coming After You!


Ethan said yes to helping friends move some yard items out of the way of the coming Illinois River flood waters. 

Ethan said yes to coming to Campus Life Monday Club at Seiler’s house the next week.

Ethan said yes to hanging out at a small group at the same house where he went to Club.

Ethan said yes to coming to YFC Camp with the same friends who invited him to help flood prep, to Campus Life Club, and to a small group.

Ethan said YES! to becoming a follower of Jesus that week!

The story doesn’t end there, actually it’s just beginning. Judging by the picture, this isn’t the only story to share about what’s happening at IVC Campus Life.

How in the world are you supposed to know all God is doing in the lives of teens through a Campus Life team of  adult and teenage leaders?

It’s hard to do it via a letter you receive every 2 months, right? One of our main objectives of Campus Life is go into the world of teens, rather than ask them to come to us.  So in that same spirit……

It is our intention to bring the stories to you!

This year, our team will be coming after you to share in person the many stories of IVC Campus Life: teens inviting their friends, leaders pursuing authentic Christ-sharing relationships, and teens ready and not yet ready to commit to Jesus. There are a lot of you and a lot of stories, but the challenge to meet each of you is worth it. Thank you for being a part of Ethan’s “YES”!


As The Calendar Turns … I’m Asking for an Increase!


Since we align our annual calendar with schools, our ministry cycle runs July 1 to June 30 each year. I want to pass along highlights, since our year just ended.

1st Thing. Launched IVC Middle School Campus Life! Every other week wasn’t enough, this Fall? Weekly!

2nd Thing. Richwoods Campus Life foundational work was laid, and that ministry site will kick off this Fall!

3rd Thing. Jay Pearson continues to be described as cancer-free by the medical community!

4th Thing. Chris Genders is joining us to lead Metamora ministry and launch a brand-new teen center.

5th Thing. 3 of our Site Directors serve on YFC/USA leadership teams for Campus Life (Ryan Anderson), Juvenile Justice (CJ Fisher), and City Life (Jay Pearson). These teams set the tone for the country. Wow!

6th Thing. YFC/USA President Dan Wolgemuth, stayed in Peoria’s Juvenile Detention Center for a night. He gained insights about incarcerated teens, and obeyed the Bible to “visit the prisoner”. Dan was moved profoundly.

7th Thing. We planned, but haven’t started an office remodel to accommodate our growing team. Remember? we also launched 2 Bloomington/Normal ministries in recent months! We are sharing desks … 

8th Thing. Eli Beltran rejoined our team as Ambassador for Teens. He is visiting, thanking, visioning & mentoring!

9th (and final) Thing. My heading said “I’m asking for an Increase”. That has a 2-fold meaning:

  • Our team is praying and working to have the capacity to reach FAR MORE teens. Today we are in 300 ACSR’s (Authentic Christ-Sharing Relationships with lost local teens). We want to be in 2,500 ACSR’s with lost local teens. 8x growth! We’re trying to pursue that with minimal budget increase.

  • Money is my 2nd “final thing.” We are asking for an increase. These ministry initiatives, personnel addition’s, and overdue computer upgrades tally a 17% increase. Our 2019-2020 budget is $1,221,583.00. Sooooo much of our income arrives in gifts of $100 or less each month. When you increase by $5/month, that helps. When you give bigger, it helps more. Hundred’s of friends each giving as God leads them and we meet budget each year.

Hundred’s of Ministry Leaders who each have 4-5 ACSR’s means we walk with 2,500 lost teens. It won’t happen this year or next year …. but someday, we hope to announce to you that “we did it”. “You did it”. …. GOD DID IT!

Thanks for reading, considering, caring …