“It is no surprise that Youthfront is on the rise, having fearlessly pursued the practice of faithful youth ministry now for 75 years.  This ministry has ventured into frontiers where few ministry organizations have gone, while at the same time being rooted deeply in radically historic Christian practices.  Thank you, Youthfront, for inviting so many, so profoundly, to taste and see the wide-open wonder of the gospel and the extravagant love of Jesus Christ for the next generation.”

Mark DeVries, Founder of Ministry Architects and Co-Founder of Ministry Incubators

 

“Several years ago, when I visited the Youthfront camp south of Kansas City to write a story for The Kansas City Star, it was clear to me that the organization had found a way to engage young people by using new and effective approaches. The campers were being given the time and space to encounter Christ in authentic ways that would transform them so that they, in turn, could help others come to faith and, together, repair part of our beautiful but broken world. Now that Youthfront is celebrating its 75th anniversary, I congratulate the organization for the many ways it has touched the lives of thousands of young people, from camping experiences to the youth entrepreneurship program to efforts to feed hungry people in Kansas City — and more. Don’t stop now. The world needs what you do and how you do it.”

Bill Tammeus, former Kansas City Star faith columnist

 

 

Congratulations to Youthfront on 75 years!  I’ve only known of Youthfront’s ministry for the last 15 of those years.  While this a relatively short time, quickly Youthfront has become in my mind the premier youth ministry organization in the world.  I first came to know Youthfront through Mike King, watching him lead countless youth workers into a whole new way of understanding ministry, themselves, and God.  Mike was one of the first to bring American youth ministry to much deeper spiritual wells, inviting Protestants to recover practices and a vision of the Christian life stretching back to the early church.  I was so deeply impressed because not only did Mike personally write and teach about these practices, but more he took his whole organization into them, building a community that prays (daily) together.  I believe Youthfront has been one of most important organizations in all of American youth ministry.  The utter integrity of all the whole talented team is evident, and their unique way of practicing a Christocentric spirituality is intoxicating.

In the last three years, I’ve been blessed with seeing deeper into Youthfront, moving behind their youth worker training and into their camp ministry.  The last few summers my own children have been driven 13 hours (round trip) to participate in Youthfront camp.  My wife and I make the time investment, passing countless camps on the way down I-35, because we trust Youthfront’s wisdom in ministry and rich lived theology. Over these few summers not only have I been happy with the love, commitment, and theological depth my children been exposed to, but my kids have come to love Youthfront camp, claiming that it is best camp experience they’ve ever had and the highlight of their summers (even year!).

As a theologian, I’m deeply thankful to Youthfront.  To have an organization I can point to as a group living out of a significant theological imagination is so heartening.  But even more so, I’m thankful to Youthfront as a parent for all the love, commitment, and proclamation of the gospel they’ve both spoken and embodied to my children—for that I know no words other than, “Thank you! And here’s to 75 more years! Praise be to God!”

Dr. Andrew Root, Professor and Chair of Youth and Family Ministry, Luther Theological Seminary

 

 

“Congratulations, Youthfront, for 75 amazing years. It’s been inspiring to see the depth and width of Youthfront’s national impact grow over the years. At the top of the long list of what I appreciate about the Youthfront team is their tireless pursuit of Jesus, as well as how skillfully they invite the rest of us to do the same.”

Kara Powell, PhD; Executive Director, Fuller Youth Institute; Faculty, Fuller Theological Seminary

“Congratulations on reaching this milestone of 75 years of ministry!

Before I started typing this, I reviewed the history of Youthfront on your website. I’m trying to imagine the world as it was when Youthfront was started 75 years ago. I’m imagining a country in the midst of a global conflict, the “victory gardens” and rationing that represented living sacrificially so more resources could go to winning that war.

So much has changed! So much hasn’t! Spiritually, we use different language, but the need for each generation of youth to hear and understand the gospel is paramount. Technology is vastly different, but still provides tools to communicate the truth and serve the kingdom. God’s people still need to be sacrificial stewards of what has been entrusted to them.

I’ve marveled at what I know of Youthfront’s story: how your ministry has adjusted to the language of each generation, has used the best tools available, and has sacrificed to advance the gospel within your sphere of influence. I’ve marveled at the courage you’ve shown to launch new things…make changes…and even set aside things that may have been keeping you from maximum impact.

I am so grateful for how you’ve consistently listened closely to the Holy Spirit, putting a high value on serving the Church – and churches. I’m deeply grateful for how you stepped up to not only lead a bunch of local networks east and west of the state line, but opened your doors and staff to host national gatherings for the Network. “Challenge 2000” and “Building 21st Century Networks” served and trained those who want to reach the campus and network coordinators at a strategic time.

You’ve been an amazing friend and partner, impacting the growth of the kingdom nationwide with us. Thank you for your model of excellence in servant leadership. We look forward to continuing that partnership until we get the job done.”

Doug Clark, National Field Director, National Network of Youth Ministries

 

 

 

“Wild congratulations to Youthfront for 75 years of groundbreaking youth ministry!  I’m so proud to be able to point to Youthfront as that rare ministry that actually changes young lives, deeply and profoundly, in ways that last a lifetime. Thank you for being there to lead and inspire the rest of us.”

Dr. Kenda Creasy Dean, Professor of Youth, Church and Culture, Princeton Theological Seminary

 

 

 

“Youthfront is among the most significant and impactful organizations who care for our kids in the country. I have known them for decades, have always admired their creativity and compassion and have personally seen their impact on the lives and hearts of thousands of young people. For 75 years Youthfront has served the young in the name of Christ with holistic innovation and an incarnational commitment that cherishes the value of each person. Youthfront changes lives.”

Dr. Chap Clark, Department Chair and Professor, Fuller Theological Seminary

 

 

Happy 75th Anniversary!

Youthfront has played an important role in my life and in the establishment and growth of the National Network of Youth Ministries. Personally, my uncle, Dr Herb Tyler, served alongside Dr. Al Metsker in the early days of KCYFC and went on to be the director of Hawaii Youth for Christ. He was an encouraging example, whose love of ministry and young people spurred me on, even since my childhood.

In the Network’s formative years, Youthfront stood out as model of what we wanted to see in a city — churches working together, the parachurch serving the church, youth workers being ministered to and campuses being targeted. As we partnered with you in the early days, you became one of the first organizations to allow a staff member, Roy Bilyeu, to invest significant time to provide regional leadership for the Network, impacting churches and cities, even outside of your home base.

I want to take the opportunity of Youthfront’s 75th anniversary to express my personal appreciation for all you have done for youth, youth ministry and networking. I greatly value and respect your innovation in ministry, your selfless willingness to strengthen others who share your calling and your clear commitment to Christ and Christ alone.

May God give you divine insight as you look back on the key milestones and lessons of the past 75 years. May they serve as a platform, in the coming days, for all that Jesus wants you to be and to do ”until He comes.”

Paul Fleishmann, President Emeritus, National Network of Youth Ministries

 

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