Skip to main content

'We Show Them Jesus': Youth for Christ's Juvenile Justice Ministry Aims to Break Cycle of Incarceration


Share This article

One youth ministry is working to help young people free themselves from a life of crime by giving them hope through the Gospel.

Youth for Christ (YFC) developed its Juvenile Justice Ministry as a way to build relationships with Americans under the age of 18 and break the recurring cycle of being placed in juvenile detention centers.

Juvenile Justice Ministry Director CJ Fisher said the teams strive to reach youth who are stuck in the system and feel hopeless.

"I think when we think about the justice system, we always think of the adult system," Fisher stated. "We often miss out on the fact that we have kids that are going through the system because of their parents or communities. It's a cycle ... the parents are in the system, then the children, who then grow up to have kids that most likely will be in the system." 
Fisher added, "It's really evident that there's a huge need for YFC's Juvenile Justice Ministry when you walk into a facility and you see a 10-year-old behind glass."

The ministry is coming alongside youth in a variety of settings including detention centers, correctional facilities, group homes, residential treatment centers, and emergency shelters.

Image Source: Youth For Christ Juvenile Justice Ministry

YFC's team members connect with the young individuals by building meaningful relationships, while at the same time, pointing them to Christ.

"So many kids are wary of us when we first come in, but we genuinely want to connect with them, and eventually they can tell that we are different," Fisher added. 

"We tell them, 'We'll provide you with services, but more so than that, we want to give you hope. And that hope is found in Jesus Christ.' That's what makes this ministry so special - we get to show them Jesus behind locked doors."

embed photo:

Jacob Bland, president and CEO of YFC, pointed out there is a lack of awareness regarding the juvenile justice system and how it works to restore young lives.

Image Source: Youth For Christ Juvenile Justice Ministry

"Young people in the juvenile justice system often feel overlooked, and it's our passion to make them feel seen, heard, and valued," Bland said. "Juvenile Justice Ministry leaders aim to be a steady voice and presence in their lives, intentionally postured as humble and authentic mentors."

"Many of the teenagers we meet face adverse situations such as relational trauma, racial trauma, community violence, and lack of access to basic needs," he added. "It is during these moments of crisis that our leaders invest in reciprocal trusted friendships with our young people, who are facing pivotal life challenges. We ultimately build relationships with young people to introduce them to Christ and uncover God's story of hope in their lives."

To find out more about YFC and the Juvenile Justice Ministry, click here.

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Share This article

About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.