God is Faithful

Dr. Anton Beffa, an eye surgeon from Indiana, moved to Farmington in the mid 90’s and started Young Faith in Christ, at that time known as Youth for Christ. Dr. Anton Beffa had been a board member of a local Youth for Christ Chapter in Indiana and had the vision to start YFC in Farmington for the Parkland area. A local board was formed, and YFC was incorporated in November 1998 with the State of Missouri. Brett Burgess was hired as their first Executive Director in 2000 and services to young people began in the Farmington High School through students meeting in small groups and through a monthly meeting called “Campus Life."

In September 2001, Marco van Raalten was hired as Executive Director.  Shortly thereafter, the “Youth Ministries Network” was formed, in which a growing number of youth pastors had the opportunity to connect to receive encouragement, training, and the chance to partner together to reach their community. Several large community outreaches like the “See You After the Pole Rally” and outreaches through school assemblies and youth rallies were initiated and continue to this day. The number of participants in youth rallies grew from several hundred in 2003 to the current 10,000 that attend these large events each year. Work on school campuses through the Campus Life program grew to include Fredericktown High School, Arcadia Valley High and Middle School, Farmington High and Middle School, North County High School, and Central Middle School. Through the years, the attendance at the Campus Life meetings grew from 40-50 kids at a monthly meeting to 500-700 kids who participate in our programs each week. Youth for Christ also started operating a program called “Youth Guidance” to help teens in residential facilities through a weekly program at the Farmington Children’s Home in 2003. About 10-25 kids participate each week, and in 2006 a mentoring program was added to these services. 2010 saw the beginning of elementary campus clubs meeting before or after school.  As of the fall of 2011 eleven clubs are active in five school districts.  These are coordinated by YFC staff but mainly conducted by volunteers.

In 2001 the City of Farmington approached the board of Youth for Christ to partner with her in managing a 26,000 square foot outdoor skate park, and renovating an existing building adjacent to the park to be used for youth mentoring purposes. Youth First Corporate was incorporated with the state of Missouri in April 2002 as a subsidiary to Youth for Christ, with the intention to facilitate relationships with community partners like the City of Farmington, state government, and other public and private entities who would be more comfortable partnering with the social arm of our existing services, without the concern that they would violate the separation of church and state. The existence of Youth First Corporate provided proof of Youth for Christ’s intention to be a valid social partner, as expressed in the mission statement for the Farmington Skate Park as written in 2001, “to provide a welcoming, safe, fun and encouraging atmosphere for youth, where they are accepted and mentored in order to become a positive influence in their communities.”  

In April of 2007, the Board of Directors of Youth for Christ decided to start operating independently of the national office.  Registration with its own 501(c)3 was pursued in July 2007, using the name Young Faith in Christ. The “Teen Parent Choices” ministry was added in 2003.  This ministry connects trained adults with pregnant girls and teenage parents in programs designed to help them make good choices and establish a solid foundation, not only in their lives, but also in the lives of their babies.  Teen parents are encouraged to set goals including, but not limited to, finishing high school, getting further education or training, and avoiding another unplanned pregnancy. “Path to Success” was initiated in January 2009.  This mentoring program linking caring adults with youth in need of a mentor began with 13 trained mentors spending one hour per week at Parkside Elementary in Desloge.  The program has expanded to include every school district in the county and in eleven buildings.

Marco van Raalten resigned in 2010 as executive director to become a pastor. He remains on the board of directors and is employed part-time by YFC heading up a senior network seeking to bring pastors in the area together to pray and encourage one another.  In November of 2010, Marcus Archer was hired as executive director, and Mike Ward was hired part-time as Community Relations Director.  In February of 2011, Greg Dickinson was brought on part-time as the Farmington Skate Park Manager.  

In addition to the current Path to Success mentoring program, Youth First Corporate has successfully initiated a mentoring program at the Skate Park which seeks to use caring adults connecting with at-risk youth who frequent the park.  A grant with YOP was instrumental in jump-starting this program that saw the incidences of crime and fighting at the park, and in the community, significantly reduced. 

Each year, YFC impacts nearly 10,000 lives through each of the ministries and outreaches throughout our area.