Dan Learned

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 …

This Team Serves Our Bigger Team


43,237 teens in our 4-county area attend a Middle School, a High School, live at Children’s Home Youth Farm or are detained at Juvenile Detention Center.

____X____ have Christian parents, or Christian friends who are sharing the Great News of Jesus Christ.

43,237 - X = Number of Teens not hearing the Gospel.

What’s your guess about what X equals? 

If we add up all the best efforts of Christian parents, Christian schools, churches, youth groups, youth ministries and others, my guess is that less than 13,000 are regularly, directly exposed to the truth and love of Jesus Christ.

In business terms that means 30,000+ is our market opportunity. We are not close.

But … we are working to reach faaaarrrrr more. The team pictured above mobilized another 120+ Ministry Leaders last year, who engaged in almost 300 Authentic Christ Sharing Relationships (ACSR’s) with lost teens. We are laying the foundation to be in 6 to 8 to 10 times that many someday.

Pictured above L-R: Jay Pearson, Bryan Kinas, Karen Snyder, Rick Byrne, Cindy Barton, Caiti Svymbersky, Jeff Ringenberg, Christi Ringel, Jarrod Briggs, CJ Fisher, Justin Rauh, Andrew Held, Eli Beltran (YES … you read that right! Eli is returning to the team in Central Illinois! His role? “Ambassador to Teens.” Mentoring, Leadership, Church and Donor Relations … helping us rally more Christians to “care about” and “be involved in” ministry to lost teens), myself, and Ryan Anderson.

Please keep praying and funding. We are slightly behind our income plan … 6.8% to be exact. The actual number is $44,700 behind. If you can help, that would be awesome. 

Special Focus Until June 1

Along with our efforts to host clubs, take trips, attend teen events, pursue lost teens, recruit/equip/encourage Ministry Leaders and pray like mad … we are also investing  time these days in creating a strategic plan for our future. We want to reach faaarrr more teens and we’re laying the groundwork for that before our next budget year starts on July 1. Please be in prayer for us. If you’d like to get involved in that process, let me know … we want pray-ers, thinkers, planners and do-ers.

Seeking Help / Help Wanted / Help Needed / HELP…

Help …    We were hungry and friends bought us lunch!

Help … We were hungry and friends bought us lunch!

Have you ever been desperate for help?  I’m talking car wreck, tornado, lost kid, cancer? … Bad stuff.I pray shallow prayers when my kids are healthy, wallet is full, my wife thinks I’m “the man”, and all is well.

I pray earnest prayers when I’m in the Emergency Room, when finances are crushing, or when life’s struggles are more than I can bear or I lack hope to get through.

This fiscal year (YFC runs July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016), we’ve had remarkable things to celebrate. We know 1,110 teens. We’re in close relationship with 464 who are lost. Many of them are wrestling with Jesus. In fact 64 of them received Jesus Christ this year!!!

We’ve also had some low moments lately. YFC budget got really tight, such that we were struggling to choose from among paying staff, their healthcare, or our rent. I went into my “desperate prayer” posture. “Lord I need You. Oh. So. Badly. Oh Lord Jesus, we are asking for your people to be generous in helping us take the Great News of Jesus to 100’s of local teens.”

I sometimes wonder if God chuckles at the times when we don’t pray desperately. Truth is … I’m always desperate for the Grace of God thru Jesus. But I’m only aware of my desperation when life’s circumstances bump me around. I hate admitting how weak I am.

With your partnership, we walk with struggling teens. Suicidal thoughts, abusive homes, neglectful homes, imprisoned parents, addictions, more. Jesus’ love is needed. Desperately. 140+ local YFC adults are in the messes with teens. We point them to Jesus. As you Pray & Fund, you are there with us. 

Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

In 2016, I plan to...

Family Picture

Family Picture

A friend at our health club told me he hates January because the place fills up with “New Year’s Resolution People”. Then with satisfaction he told me, “by February it’s back to normal.” How sad.

Our team did some review of 2015 and commented on these words … “I learned. I experienced. I celebrate. I want to say.” That exercise helped me see God’s continued faithfulness, as well as pause to reflect on how hard life is for some.

Last year, more than ever, I realized the ups & downs of teen ministry. Every household has challenges. Some are crushing. Some are minor. Others are shameful to the point of desperation, and even suicide. All struggle. Our efforts to put “loving Christian adults into authentic Christ-sharing relationships with lost teens” means our team is deep in the midst of some huge messes. Messes that steal hope, unless the light of Jesus Christ arrives.

In the midst of these messes, our Staff and Ministry Leaders aren’t usually convinced that “they have what it takes”. We often feel inadequate to walk with teens in difficult places. In our heads, we know that Jesus is the answer, but in our actions, we can get to thinking, that we must be the answer. Pray we’ll grow deeper in Him.

Here’s our 1st 6 months financials - July 1 to Dec 31:

     - Expenses (Budgeted/Actual)    $486,253 / $491,184

     - Income (Budgeted/Actual)    $485,000 / $496,514

I am profoundly amazed and deeply thankful for the remarkable generosity of many many people. Please keep praying and investing. We are beginning to build Bloomington/Normal YFC ministry. Thank YOU!!!

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!!!

More Leaders...Better Leaders

YFC Camp - IVC Cabin Leaders

YFC Camp - IVC Cabin Leaders

Did you know Youth For Christ helps lost teens encounter the truth and love of Jesus Christ?  “Hey Dan … That’s not a newsflash, I already knew that.”

Okay - Did you know that our method is to mobilize loving adults to be in authentic Christ-sharing relationships with lost teens?

Maybe you knew that too. Here’s the deal … it’s simple to say and complicated to do. You see, it’s natural for our staff team to spend time with lost teens, telling them about Jesus Christ. But it’s harder for us to invest our time recruiting, training and mobilizing other adults to spend time with lost teens. We have a whole bunch of GREAT MINISTRY LEADERS who invest time with lost teens every week. We want more of them and we want to keep helping them grow into better leaders.

  1. Please consider investing deeper in Central Illinois lost teens. Here are some options:
  2. Pray for our employed staff team: CJ, Jeff, Jarrod, Josh, Jay*, Jon, Eric, Ryan, Rick, & Taylor.
  3. Pray for our 60+ volunteer Ministry Leaders. And then pray for more Ministry Leaders.
  4. Jay* Pearson is in a lymphoma battle. Signup to deliver a meal: www.takethemameal.com  Once there, search for Pearson / password is r116
  5. Invest more deeply financially. Our ministry is very strong these days, but our cash flow is tight.
  6. Consider involvement with teens, yourself. You might be surprised how much fun you have and how much impact you have.

Thanks for reading, praying, funding, caring, asking, and partnering this month! You are impacting teens! 

Investing More Deeply

As I mentioned above, we are seeking more leaders and better leaders. We are also beginning to investigate growth into Bloomington/Normal area. If you know someone, or are someone interested in that area, drop us name/contact information.

It’s over. Done. Now, let’s look ahead …

2014-15 ministry is “in the books”

2014-15 ministry is “in the books”

Did you know our year just ended?  YFC’s year ran July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. I know, I know … the New Year started on January 1st. Well … because YFC ministry is tied to school cycles, we stay with school calendars. Here are some notes on the year that just ended:

  • 10 Ministry Sites
  • 10 Full-time Staff / 7 Part-time Staff / 4 Interns / 78 Ministry Leaders      
  • 985 teens involved / 451 are in a name-face-heart relationship with a YFC Leader
  • 42 teens received Jesus
  • We finished 9% behind, on an $830,000 budget.

We watched 42 teens consider Jesus’ love, wrestle with His claims, and receive His offer of adoption. Let’s celebrate! Along with 42 new Christians, several hundred more teens grew deeply in disciple-making. 

With summer at the midpoint, and autumn not far off, please consider your investment of money, prayer and time in local teens. We seek partnership in these areas:

  • Money … 25 more friends at $25 per month, 25 at $50 per month, and 25 at $100/month. Is this you?
  • Prayer … we seek folks who would commit to praying every week for lost teens. Is this you?
  • Time … we seek more Christian adults who will spend time with lost teens. Is this you?

Last year was good.  We’re working hard so that this year will be even better! Are You in?

Thanks for your partnership. It’s a BIG DEAL!!

Ok, I get it … tell me more

Well, it’s as simple as I mentioned above. We had a strong year of ministry in 2014-15. Now that 2015-16 has begun, we are poised to reach more teens. We need funding growth, prayer support growth and more Christian adults investing time, face-to-face with teens.  

Are you in?   Please let me know how below …