"Since 1945, we have been communicating the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to young people."
Lebanon Valley Youth for Christ started in 1945 with the purpose of communicating the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to young people. Our methods may have changed but our mission has remained constant- To build a community of young lives changed by Jesus Christ.
The 40’s, 50’s and 60’s
LVYFC was formed to create a fun gathering place for Christian young people to meet and be ministered to. Teenagers were encouraged to bring their friends who were not following Jesus. Youth Rallies were held on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month and attracted young people from across Lebanon County.
The 70’s and 80’s
LVYFC began planting YFC Clubs in the county school districts. These fun filled Bible studies focused on issues facing high school students. The issues that high school students faced soon began to trickle down to middle school students. In response, YFC added Jr. High Clubs to its growing ministry.
Laws began to emerge making it more difficult for religious groups to meet in public schools. To ensure that students would continue to have a place to meet and to provide consistent programing and Bible teaching, a Teen Center was built on Grace Avenue in 1984.
Middle and high school students, as well as young adults, from all across Lebanon County gathered at the new Teen Center. LVYFC had grown into a dynamic youth ministry. As the Gospel of Christ was being taught in an engaging, meaningful manner, many young people heard the Gospel for the first time. Others grew in their faith and became lifelong followers of Jesus.
Weekly clubs, retreats, exciting youth activities, and mission trips to Mexico and here in the states, combined to produce an environment where our mission, “To build a community of young lives changed by Jesus Christ,” was being fulfilled.
Although kids from all across Lebanon County were coming to YFC, very few were coming from Lebanon city. It was during this period that drugs and crime began to flood our streets and racial tension increased. As people from large cities began to move to Lebanon, large city problems came with them.
In response, YFC purchased a house in what was considered the worst part of town. One of our staff members moved into the house. Shortly a van was needed to transport neighborhood kids from the city to the Teen Center, 2 miles north of town. Soon another van, then school buses were needed to transport a growing number of urban young people to YFC.
During this decade, God transformed our youth ministry into an urban ministry. We began reaching kids from broken families, many living in poverty and most from nonreligious families. The mission field was great, right in our own backyard.
We continued to fine-tune our programs to increase our outreach and effectiveness. A cabin located on 38 acres of land was purchased. The cabin was renovated by volunteers and dedicated in 2002. We used it for retreats and camps. We also rented the cabin to other church groups. In 2010 an act of arson burned the cabin to the ground. Two years later the cabin was rebuilt. It was bigger and better! Truly God caused beauty to come out of ashes.
In 2013, after being in the Teen Center for 29 years, we moved the ministry to Lebanon City. We began to lease space form Calvary Chapel on Willow Street. That placed us in the neighborhood of the kids we ministered to. Now, kids could walk to us.
Our programs continued to be adjusted to best meet the needs of our students. Hot meals were provided during every club, the message of Jesus Christ continued to be shared, and a preschool for 3 and 4 year olds was added.
For 45 years we had not been associated with YFC/USA but had been able to keep the Youth For Christ name. Due to their policy changes, in 2019 we were legally required to stop using the Youth For Christ/YFC name. After much prayer and research, God gave us a new name, True Life Youth Ministries. We were sad to have to give up our old name. But it felt like God was giving us a new beginning.
Today our story continues as it began. Our methods may have changed but our mission has remained constant- To build a community of young lives changed by Jesus Christ.
From our beginning, churches, businesses, families, and individuals have supported this vital mission. We invite you to join this wonderful story that God is writing. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children and teenagers, both now and for eternity!