Youth For Christ San Diego Is Overcoming COVID-19 Isolation with Care Packages, Food, Gifts
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Concern among Christians is mounting and the future of religious liberty has grown uncertain as state governments restrict church gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, but Youth For Christ San Diego has found a creative way to feed something other than the frenzy — one cookie at a time.
For months, churches have been expanding their online worship capabilities and shaking up their normal ministry methods, and YFC is likewise developing fresh ways to fulfill the YFC mission to teach young people to be lifelong followers of Jesus.
To overcome the isolation and to spread the Gospel creatively across social distance, YFC San Diego staff are baking, cooking, and serving the community while always sharing the Gospel, through care packages.
YFC San Diego Ministry Director Tina Flannery draws on 22 years of experience when she says her team’s latest methods of teaching the Gospel have changed, but the message is the same as it was 2,000 years ago.
“Ministry to the lost kids has not stopped,” Flannery said. “It’s just going to look a little different. So what we’ve typically done, we may not be able to do, but our staff and volunteers are coming up with all kinds of creative ways to minister to kids.”
Staffers and volunteers have found that the absence and isolation stemming from the pandemic have caused them to miss the students they routinely ministered to face to face. Delivering care packages is just one way to build a bridge into a teenager’s life.
“We’re getting ready to deliver cookies to our YFC San Diego kids,” one staffer said. “We miss them so much. Social distancing is really a bummer, but we can’t wait to see them.”
“Our volunteers and supporters have been baking and cooking, and we are getting ready to make some deliveries,” another staffer added.
YFC’s innovation to close the social distance entails more than just replacing summer camp and weekly Campus Life meetings with playing cards via Zoom or delivering plates of edibles — although those ideas have certainly worked. The heart of Youth For Christ has always been to reach kids with the message of Jesus by building relationships with them where they live. YFC calls the strategy “3Story,” and Flannery says it is the essence of who YFC is.
“Today we are working on some care packages for our volunteers,” Flannery said. “They’re getting the ‘3Story Primer,’ the heart of Youth For Christ, some Starbucks, and hopefully some notes of encouragement.”
The three dimensions of “3Story” call on YFC staff, volunteers, and students to love God, love others, and love always.
Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories like these through #YFCBeTheStory, an initiative to help spread the word across the nation about how YFC chapters are making a difference in their communities.
Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 160 chapters impacting communities across America.