After four years with Kansas City YFC, Leonard and Pauline Rodgers moved to Lebanon in 1963 to begin Youth for Christ. One of the first young men they met was John Sagherian, son of an Armenian pastor who had attended the YFC Congress in Beatenberg Switzerland in 1948. They served in Lebanon for eleven years and turned the ministry over to John and his wife, Nancy, who served until about 2012 when the ministry was turned over to the current National Director, Maher El Hajj.
Youth for Christ Lebanon comprises five main ministry departments. Social media outreach & discipleship sees our staff regularly posting content and interacting with youth on various platforms; Manara Youth Center serves at-risk youth in Beirut and offers vocational training, after-school tutoring, safe recreation, reconciliation and psychosocial support groups, and weekly spiritual outreach clubs. A ministry to Syrian refugee youth living in the Bekaa Valley includes a thriving sports program for boys and sewing program for girls. Axis Youth Center serves Lebanese youth living in the Bekaa Valley and offers safe recreation, mental health counseling, life-skills classes, outreach and discipleship programs; and youth leadership training, both locally and regionally helps equip the local church. The core mission of all of these ministries is to see young people reconciled to God and to each other in a part of the world known for division and conflict.
Our traditional Schools Ministry, which encompasses evangelism and discipleship among Lebanon’s middle and upper classes, took on a digital aspect during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue with social media going forward, as this has proven to be the best way to reach this internet-savvy generation. We also continue serving the local church by training and equipping youth leaders all over Lebanon and the Near East.