SAY YES to the Jubilee Youth Center
The reality of life as a youth in America can be very dark. Every day 351 children are arrested for drug abuse. Every 9 seconds a student drops out of high school. Every 4 hours a young person commits suicide. Juvenile crime triples during non-school hours. That is why the inner city ministry of Cru developed S.A.Y. Yes! (SY) Centers starting in 1992. S.A.Y. Yes! is a biblically-based program that takes place in an after-school setting. As a church-operated program, a long-term commitment can be made to the children, and the entire family — parents, guardians, siblings, and neighbors — can be enfolded into the local body of Christ.
Over ten years ago Chuck Steddom (Lead Pastor, South Campus of Bethlehem Baptist Church), along with other Cru staff, began the BBC SY Center in the basement of Jubilee Community Church. At this time, Chuck was also Toph’s mentor in the BBC Track 2 program, and as such, he oversaw Toph’s ministerial development. This led naturally to the development of a paid internship for Toph as the Director of SY. The first couple of years were definitely difficult at times as Toph needed to grow in his capacity to lead a ministry, deal with the difficult situations that come with serving at-risk youth, and, ultimately, trust the Lord in it all.
As Jubilee moved into the same location as SY, it seemed very natural for Toph (Assistant Pastor, JCC) and his wife, Amy, to begin attending JCC. Since one of Jubilee’s priorities includes seeking to reach out in the midst of the unique challenges of the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods, the people of Jubilee naturally gravitated toward serving the at-risk youth where SY was already involved. The relationship between SY and Jubilee grew over time such that all of the leadership and pastoral oversight for SY came through Jubilee. This is why over a year ago SY officially became a ministry of Jubilee instead of Bethlehem Urban Initiatives.
“S.A.Y. Yes!” became less and less helpful of a name as ownership of the program changed. Although Cru is a very helpful resource to us in our effort to reach at-risk youth, the name “S.A.Y. Yes!” misled people to believe that we were a separate ministry from Jubilee. We want our ministry to youth to be closely tied to Jubilee so our members have the joy of seeing it as a direct effort and stewardship of Jubilee. We also want our neighbors to connect what their youth are experiencing in our ministry to the local body that is Jubilee, with the hope and prayer that they will join as believers.
Therefore, the new overall name for our ministry to youth is the “Jubilee Youth Center.”
The names of our ministries to specifically Junior and Senior High youth are “Jubilee JV” and “Jubilee High.”
The name for our ministry to K-5th grade students is “Jubilee Kids.”
We wholeheartedly desire Jubilee families to be involved in our Gospel ministry to youth, both as participants and as fellow witnesses of Christ to families in the neighborhood. Pray with us that God would make the Jubilee Youth Center a place where Christ is seen and loved!