The Youth for Christ (YFC) announced that 7,323 kids and teens made the decision to follow Jesus Christ this year. This is twice the record reported in 2021.
“I know that God is going to use YFC to bring revival to today’s kids,” said YFC President and CEO Jake Bland. “God’s Spirit is moving through leaders everywhere across the nation, The Gospel is needed and as effective as ever, especially as the unfailing love of Christ meets today’s changing youth landscape.”
God is already uncovering His story of hope among this next generation, and I believe He’s preparing to do even more. —Jake Bland, Youth for Christ president and CEO
Bland said today’s youth faces issues which are different in nature. For example, he pointed out that 20 years ago, the biggest issues for teens were drunk driving or teen pregnancy, but now, it’s their mental health. “The U.S. Surgeon General recently declared youth mental health as a state of emergency.”
He added that what’s disturbing is that the young are dealing with mental health problems, but one-third of them have no trusted adults in their lives. “Over 50% of youth are not connected to a church. The reality is our kids in this nation are at a vulnerable tipping point — a pivotal moment. There’s a whole generation that could slip through the cracks.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven 10 to 19-year-olds experiences a mental disorder. The young people are dealing with depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders that are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents. The report found that, globally, it is estimated that 1 in 7 (14%) 10-19 year-olds experience mental health conditions, yet these remain largely unrecognized and untreated. The agency warned that, “The consequences of failing to address adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood. It can impair both physical and mental health while limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.”
Despite the grim statistics, the YFC president believes that there are many ways and opportunities to give hope to these troubled teens. “I have never been more convinced that Christ is moving. Right now, we are living in the kinds of cultural conditions that God often uses for His purpose,” he claimed. “Despite the challenges kids face and a culture that confuses, it’s never been clearer. God is already uncovering His story of hope among this next generation, and I believe He’s preparing to do even more.”
Bland said the number of young people who made the decision to follow Jesus in 2022 is proof that God’s Spirit is working. He maintained that a deep, meaningful and sincere relationship with Jesus Christ can help today’s youth during these crucial times in their lives.
A recent survey of 13 to 25-year-olds backs YFC’s assertion that the youth benefits from having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Dr. Josh Packard of the Springtide Research Institute said his extensive research concluded that those who pray and have a connection with God are more likely to flourish in their overall happiness and mental health, reports Vision Christian Media.
“Faith and spirituality are good for you. If you’re a person who believes in some kind of higher power and has a connection to that higher power, you’re generally flourishing more than your peers,” he said. “Those who pray more tend to be flourishing more in all areas including their mental health.”
The executive director of the institute concluded that it is advantageous for young people to have a connection to something bigger than themselves. “I think a lot of religious institutions and leaders would do well to take mental health into account, so that faith and belief could be appropriately part of somebody’s overall approach to health.”