Every day at thousands of community centers, high schools, middle schools, juvenile institutions, coffee shops, and local hangouts, YFC staff and volunteers meet with young people who need Jesus. We are rural and urban and we are always about the message of Jesus.
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In 1994, a group of concerned, Christian men and women in the Jamestown area began praying and seeking God’s direction in how they could assist the church in reaching young people who were without faith in Christ or otherwise outside the faith community. God answered that prayer in the form of Youth for Christ. At that time, Dennis Jensen, the Executive Director of Red River Youth for Christ in Fargo, made numerous early morning trips to Jamestown to provide direction and support. A YFC Board of Directors was established in 1995 and James Valley Youth for Christ was incorporated.
Soon after, a small amount of ministry began happening with volunteers, and a part-time employee named Ted Farabee, who was employed for a short time. Successful fundraising continued, but a year went by without a paid staff person. In early 1997, a YFC state meeting was held in Jamestown in which Troy Gunderson attended. Troy was employed part-time by Minot YFC as the JV Ministry Coordinator.
Once it was announced that the Jamestown board was looking for a full-time director, Troy recalls the events of that day like this. “It was an instant calling on my life; I remember nothing else from the meeting!” Troy accepted the call and was hired as the full-time Executive Director in August of 1997.
Campus Life Clubs were soon established as well as large events like the New Year’s Eve celebrations that were organized with partnerships from several churches in the area and the True Love Waits program also took shape.
In 1999 Troy joined the board of the Community Christian Youth Center (CCYC) and later rented an office in their building. A wonderful partnership ensued for several years between YFC and the CCYC. Over those years YFC was blessed with additional part-time ministry staff. During the week YFC used the facility for its ministry while the CCYC held their open youth nights on the weekends.
In 2004 discussion began about how to reach youth during the after-school hours. Late that year the CCYC made a decision to disband and turn over the property and assets to YFC with the expectation that YFC would remodel the center and open an after-school drop-in Center. In September, 2005, TEEN CITY was open for business and it’s been growing ever since. It has become a major piece of YFC ministry in Jamestown and very popular among students as well as parents.
Today, there are other full-time ministry staff and many more volunteers who invest their time to mentor youth in a lasting relationship with Christ. Through TEEN CITY and many other activities like partnerships, clubs, Bible studies and trips, James Valley YFC continues to reach youth for Christ. Join us, won’t you, in making a difference in the lives of youth.