Program director aims to positively impact teens

Published 10:17 am Monday, July 28, 2008

David Jordan is a youth. Ergo, David Jordan is for Christ. Bill Holder is not a youth, but he is for Youth For Christ.

YFC has hired a new director and once again hopes to attract teens to make informed decisions to become followers of Jesus Christ and join a church as its vision statement demands.

“Our main reach is to people who don’t go to church,” the new YFC mentor Holder said. “The mission of YFC is to participate in the Body of Christ in responsible evangelism of youth.”

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According to Holder, evangelist Billy Graham visited Austin over a half century ago to tell youths about YFC.

“He changed people’s lives,” Holder said.

YFC is an international Christian ministry program that promotes youth evangelism and biblical Christianity.

In the early 1940s, during World War II, many young men, mostly ministers and evangelists, were holding large rallies in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. In an effort to coordinate these programs YFC was founded in 1944. The organization was co-founded by the Rev. Billy Graham and then-evangelist Charles Templeton. Graham was YFC’s first full-time staff member.

Holder’s church, Grace Baptist of Austin, embraced the concept immediately.

Through the decades, YFC has battled common pitfalls of youth — dysfunctional family life, depression, crime, violence, chemical and substance abuse — unfailingly only to see interest wane.

Now, it is counting on Jordan to turn things around.

“Things are happening that are terrible for our youth,” Holder said. “From my experience, where God has helped me, I want them to have that experience a lot sooner than I did.

“Sometimes, all you have to do is listen,” he said.

Jordan said he agrees with Holder, that a need exists to listen to youth.

He has the education and experience to make a difference.

“I am able to relate well to kids. I keep in touch with the youth culture, I spend so much time with teens. I’m very much aware what’s new and how to communicate with youth,” he said.

“They don’t need another parent. They just need somebody to listen to them,” he said, echoing Holder’s words.

Jordan has also “been there, done that” in his young life.

“I didn’t go to church until I was a junior in high school,” he said. “Before that I was very depressed. I was not a squeaky clean kid. I hung out with good friends, but at the same time they weren’t very encouraging or uplifting types of people.”

“It wasn’t until some friends invited me to hang out at a youth pastor’s birthday party, that I got connected that way,” he said.

Now, Jordan wants to connect teens with an organization know for putting teens first.

In spotlight

Jordan is the son of John and Kathy Jordan and a 2002 Austin High School graduate. His father is the retired J.C. Penney store manager in Austin. He has an older brother, Zach, and an older sister, Beth.

He earned an associates degree in general studies and then completed a ministry program in Fort Myers, Fla. He completed the program and is now a licensed minister in the Assembly of God church.

He is a member of Cornerstone Assembly of God church in Austin.

He has spent time in Edinburgh, Scotland where he was in charge of mission trips by American students studying in Scotland to Europe.

After returning to the United States, he completed his ministerial training and then interned with Pastor Paul Juntunen at Austin’s Open Bible Church.

Now, he’s “Mister YFC” in Austin; his official title is “campus life director” for the Austin area.

Because the YFC position is not a full-time job, Jordan kept his job at GameStop in a new strip mall near Wal-Mart off 18th Avenue Northwest in Austin.

Holder and others have been promoting YFC in Austin for the last eight years. It has never caught on the way it has in Albert Lea, where The Rock headquarters and drop-in center flourishes.

Still, Holder fights the good fight of making an impact in the lives of children and teenagers.

“We’ve been working hard at it,” he said.

According to Holder, YFC loses good people to the increasing number of jobs as youth pastor in churches.

Jordan is focusing on AHS as the place to make contacts with teens.

With the permission of Austin Public Schools administration, the Grandparents And Parents Plus (GAPP) project allows YFC individuals into the school after hours to invite teens to attend informal meetings.

“Some people wanted to help out in any way they could,” said Holder of the GAPP project’s origins.

The GAPP group meets in the cafeteria, “mostly just talking with the kids,” explained Holder.

While GAPP uses YFC leaders, it is not by itself an official YFC organization meeting at AHS.

Fundraiser, music

Jordan plans to continue the informal meetings at AHS when the new school year begins, but he has other plans, too.

“I have some ideas to invite kids into the YFC program,” he said. “There will be more after-school programming.”

Jordan plans to use his personal expertise with video games, plus his day job at GameStop, to recruit more teens to YFC activities.

“We will have the kids bring their systems and we will just hang out and play video games,” he said.

Jordan also hopes to encourage teens to play Ultimate Frisbee, at which he is also skilled, at Sunday afternoon activities at Austin Community Bandshell Park.

“These are being used as tools to show proper Christ-like behavior and from there I will have a group that focuses on the spiritual side of things,” Jordan said. “At first, I hope to just have kids get to know YFC and as time goes on I hope to build relationships I will invite them to come to sessions where we can learn more about the Bible.”

Jordan is busy promoting the current Austin Area YFC Colorado Peaches fundraiser.

Pre-paid orders are being accepted by Jordan, (239) 297-3989, or Holder, 279-0116.

Jordan is also promoting a free 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8 Christian rock concert at Austin Community Bandshell Park.

The performers will include Jaci Miller, Joel Buker and bands Right to Arm Bears and Effortless Push.

“There will be Ultimate Frisbee, I will circulate fliers and it will just be an informal means to introduce YFC to the teens,” Jordan said.

Arguably, Jordan has his work cut out for him. Both teens and their parents would agree on that.

“I think there’s has always been that need and I think it always will be there. It’s something that doesn’t go away and something you just need to keep plodding through and doing the best we can with the time we have,” he said. “I just want to make the best of the time I have and influence as many kids as I can.”

For more information about YFC, contact Jordan by e-mail or call (239) 297-3989.