Pekin Campus Life



Research shows 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations. We find this to be true when it comes to high school ministry as well. When a new student shows up to Campus Life for the first time it’s typically because a friend gives a recommendation or extends an invitation.

Things were different for Sam, a sophomore at PCHS. He came to Campus Life because his mom made him. She told Sam he would be grounded if he didn’t at least try it. Sam’s a great student and a generally trouble free kid so his parents never really had a reason to ground him. However, he obliged his orders and showed up at Campus Life one week.

At first Sam appeared to be shy and introverted as he kept his interactions to a minimum. But over the course of his first semester he began to participate more and more. And by summertime Sam was ‘all in’ and went to YFC Camp with a group of his newfound friends.

Through YFC Camp his eyes were opened to faith in a different way than he ever experienced. The way he lived and acted began to change. He started to invite his friends to Campus Life so they could experience the same life change he did. The next summer he brought one of those friends along to YFC Camp and now their life is starting to change too!

It’s Sam’s senior year and Campus Life is still a big part of his life. Every week he and a ministry leader work out at the gym and then work through a Bible study together. 

As the only time I can recall a student being so strongly urged to try out Campus Life. I wouldn’t recommend it for most but in the case Sam’s life is forever marked by God because of it.



Whoa, << Test First Name >>











































































Woah, it’s right there in black and white. We gave students the chance to anonymously share their secrets in just one word. I also have some secrets up there. Maybe there are some words up there that could apply to you.  Can I go as far to say “our secrets”? Because haven't we all had secrets? Secrets and sins so big it felt like we couldn't bring them to God?

Here's the beautiful message we shared with these brave teens from Ephesians 2:4&5. But God… 

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead."

Understood in the context of God's gift of grace, those words can lose their powerful hold of guilt and shame.

So these are the very real secrets and painful issues students are facing on a daily basis. And because of you, we get to continue to lead them towards God, who is bigger than their secrets.


Thanks for your part in sharing Hope and Truth with young people.

Monday is the Day!

 The Big Day!

The Big Day!

“Monday is the day! Can you bring a camera?” He texted out of the blue one night, after many weeks of waiting. We showed up at the courthouse a week later, not knowing what to expect but excited none the less. 

I haven’t attended many court hearings but I'd imagine very few go this well. Both sides were in agreement, full of anticipation and it almost seemed unnecessary to have a preceding.

The judge asked: "Young man, is this what you want?" 

Kevin answered: “Yes, it is.” 

The judge then asked: "And Mrs. Smith, do you agree to raise Kevin as you would your own son?" 

She quickly answered, “Of course, he's already been living as my son.”

A few quick signatures and the adoption proceedings were over.  After nearly a decade in the foster care system, Kevin had found a forever family with his aunt. Family can have many forms, such as an aunt caring for a nephew as her own son.

Kevin also knows the family of Christ through Youth for Christ. This is demonstrated to him week after week by our team of leaders and students in Pekin. And people like you who continue to pray and give to make all this possible. Thanks for being a part of the family.

As 2015 ended, we told all who would listen, “YFC finances are behind”. We prayed and we asked for a generous December. And Then … It Happened. People gave a bunch. We finished our 1/2-year budget of $485,000 ahead by 2%. Thank You Friends. Thank You Jesus! We hope you will continue generously, because Jan-March income is typically lower than the rest of the year. Wow. That was big. Happy New Year!!!

- Dan L

Where Everything Changes

  Top of the mountain

Like a good neighbor, what’s in your wallet, I’m lovin’ it...catchy slogans and all memorable, but are they all true? We say YFC Camp; Where everything changes...

We pay a high price to take students to YFC Camp and I believe God uses it. But instead of me telling you that our slogan is more than words, I'd like you to hear from students who worked hard all summer to be able to go.

I’ve realized it’s not always about me and when I’m not always making it about me I can focus on helping and caring for my friends.

I’m not hanging around bad friends as much.

A change for me is that I just think about God more, I feel connected closer and that I actually have a relationship vs Him just existing! Things have kinda gotten worse just because family things but I've been trying to see the positives.

My relationship with Christ hasn't been growing like it should so I need to work on it and keep up with it.

Please take a moment to pray right now for these students and that the seeds God planted would grow. We know that change can be good, bad, difficult, easy...but we know God is faithful through it all. Pray these students begin to learn this and can point back to YFC Camp 2015 as when it all began to change...

15 Weeks of YFC Camp

 From 2015

From 2015

There’s something very special about camp. I should know, this years will mark my 15th week of YFC Camp in my 9 years with Campus Life. I’m thankful to have seen God at work through different lenses serving on the leadership. In this I’ve seen many lives change through God’s work at camp over the last decade.

Life change isn’t limited to the high school students we take either. I’ve seen God work in my life and the adults we take too.  

I just realized I’m the age as leaders who were kind and patient with me when I was a camper. I guess it’s my turn.

I’ve sorted some things out with my family, I can move back closer to home now.

It feels like I’ve wasted the last 10 years of my life not being part of this ministry.

I came to camp to tell God I was done with Him but He wouldn’t let me go.

Please take a moment and pray wherever you are for the adults and the students who will attend YFC Camp in 2015. It’s a big deal to have you along for the ride.

We’re not done yet!

We have spent the summer raising money to help send students to camp who can’t afford it. We still have gaps that need filled to fully fund this trip. Would you consider giving a special gift to help us fill in some of those gaps. Your gift could mean a lifetime of difference for a student who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend YFC Camp.  Thanks!

Come Swing with Me

As the season warms and the sun stays out a little longer at night, we find ourselves spending more outside during Campus Life. Instead of racing towards the door, students show up and spend their time on the lawn. A few weeks ago, one student says to another: hey, come swing with me.

I took notice of this tiny gesture and weeks later it still has me thinking. It was kind, it was nice, it was love shown to a student who seldom feels like he fits in.  Usually I can tell stories about leaders reaching out students, but this is different.  This was an upperclassmen who noticed a student who spends a lot of time wonder why they don’t fit in.  This still has me welled up with pride.

It reminds of the way Jesus noticed Zacchues.  It reminds me of love shown to us from God, “even while we sinners.”  It reminds me of exactly why we dedicated our lives to this ministry, of raising up life long followers of Jesus.

Please take a moment to pray right now for these two students; for the one who noticed and the one who notices.  Pray they will continue to grow Jesus, and we as leaders will know how to encourage them along their way.


Alex and Jake exchange many text messages throughout the week. They talk about their days and what they had for lunch. Every Monday Jake sends an ‘On My Way’ text after our leader dinner then heads down the road to pick him up for Campus Life.  They usually they just listen to music and talk about sports. He knows Alex has had a painful past, but has never had the privilege to know the details. But tonight the ride was something different.

Alex began to talk about his years living at the residential treatment center, and his recent move to a new foster home. He talked about how at school he felt like the only person who had been through something like that. Some days Alex just didn't think he fit in.

"Hey, that was me too." His ministry leader shared. "I lived in a place like that, and I was in foster care too."

Not much more was said about their similar experiences that night, but this ministry leader will tell you it was the moment their real relationship began. In the weeks that followed, he heard from Alex more and the car rides have now turned to weekly discussions about what's happening in Alex's life.

Please take a moment to pray right now for Alex and his ministry leader as they spend those precious minutes in the car each week. Thanks again for your generous financial partnership which keeps us pointing hurting teens towards Jesus.


We've Grown Up

Hi! I’m Mallory and I’m Brady. Not only are we cousins, but best friends too. We are both juniors at Pekin High and have been going to Campus Life since our freshmen year. I guess you could say we have grown up with Campus Life. 

Campus Life is something we look forward to every Monday night and not in an obligated way. Whether it's a tiny hayrack ride, playing 9 Square in the Air, eating PopTarts hanging from a string without hands, flashlight tag or just standing around talking, there’s always something fun and exciting to do that brings us closer to our friends. Being a part of Campus Life has given us the opportunity to know so many different people at our school we would not have known otherwise. You won’t find many other groups where they have this much fun, make so many friends, AND get to learn and talk about Jesus.

And that’s the other thing. Campus Life is more than friends, laughing, and doing crazy stuff.  Every week we have a discussion about a different topic, like conformity or gossip and it helps give us a higher perspective on the way we view life. Our adult ministry leaders take the time to share stories from what they’ve learned in life, all while pointing us to Jesus. It really helps us get through our every-day high school struggles. They are never too busy for us.

So thanks for your part in making Campus Life happen.   We really don’t know where we would be without it.

Every Monday before Campus Life our leader team sits down for a meal together. If you’d like to bring us a meal or send dinner for us, we’d love to eat whatever you send our way. We’re not picky and it would be great if you stayed to eat with us too. To bring us a meal visit or call Jarrod!