YFC Academics

What is the vision of the YFC Academics team?

As an extension of YFC International’s vision and strategic focus, the YFC Academics team desires to train national youth workers through indigenous seminaries and bible colleges.

What are the beginning Objectives of the YFC Academics team?

• Supply indigenous seminaries and bible colleges with qualified instructors to implement formal educational programs (Certificate, Bachelor, and Masters’ Degrees) in youth ministry
• Work with national Youth for Christ ministries for co-teaching and mentorship of students
• Include YFC core values and YFC leadership training modules in the curriculum
• Train and equip nationals for vocational youth ministry (church and parachurch)
• Equip nationals to be professors at the seminaries and bible colleges (exit strategy)
• Recruit and develop the best national students into local YFC ministries
• YFC national staff may be invited as guest lecturers

Who are the current members of the YFC Academics team?

Jon Barr, based in Louisville, KY, USA as YFC Academics Deputy Director
[email protected]

Jon’s work and passion for youth began when I taught a 6th grade Sunday School class.   This experience led him to enroll at Liberty University in 1985 where he graduated with his MRE with a youth emphasis.  His work in missions began in 1987 when he took a short term mission trip to Kenya and Uganda where he saw hundreds of youth come forward at youth rallies.  In 1989 he gave a year of his life to go back to Kenya to train leaders in youth ministry. From that point he was hooked on youth and missions. In 1991 he helped start Youth Ministry International (YMI) which focused on international youth leadership training. In 1996 God led him from YMI to United World Mission and ultimately Russia for twenty years where his wife Sonnet and Jon worked on university campuses, youth camps, compassion ministries, business and personal development, and eventually started a youth church.  In 2019 God led him back to YMI where he became the Executive Director for International Training Development.  Last summer he was approached by Youth for Christ International to join them as deputy director of their new Academic Training Team and is now very excited to be working with Youth For Christ and its new team in academics.

Dr. Mike Manna, based in Columbus, IN, USA as YFCI Global Training Director
[email protected]

Mike lives in Columbus, Indiana, USA. Mike and his wife Judy have been serving in youth ministry for over 35 years. Mike oversees the Global Training Team and is a practicing certified coach mentor. From 2002 to 2012, Mike and Judy lived in Kyiv, Ukraine. Mike was the founder/director of the National Center for Youth Ministry at Kyiv Theological Seminary. He has taught Masters level youth ministry courses at several seminaries in Europe and Asia. Mike has his PhD in Intercultural Studies from Biola University specializing in cross-cultural contextualization. Mike and Judy have 4 grown children, including one child adopted from Ukraine, and 8 grandchildren. Mike speaks Russian and is a coffee tourist. The Manna’s have been serving with Youth for Christ since 2013.

Sam Hughes, based out of Kyiv Theological Seminary, Ukraine as Youth Ministry Professor
[email protected]

Since 2010, Sam has been training youth leaders through Bible colleges and seminaries throughout Ukraine, while also teaching at conferences and seminars. From 2012 to 2022, Sam led a team of national youth ministry professors who are discipling/teaching youth leaders throughout the country. Now he continues his passion of teaching and supporting the Ukrainian leadership. They have taught classes and led seminars in Central Asian countries and he has a vision to strengthen youth ministry training there, after numerous training trips. Sam has an M.Div. in Intercultural Youth Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Theological Bachelors in Youth Ministry from Boyce College. Sam speaks and teaches in Russian and English, and understands Ukrainian. He is married to Melissa and they have 3 children: Jarrett, Evelyna, and Corbyn. Sam currently lives in Bucharest, Romania.

Joe, based in SouthEast Asia as Youth Ministry Professor

Joe is passionate about seeing young people come to know, follow, and love Jesus. Joe and his family live in Southeast Asia where he serves as a professor of youth ministry while Cori Beth serves as an international school teacher. Along with a decade of youth ministry experience, Joe holds a Master of Divinity and a Bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry, Christian Education, and Cross-Cultural Ministry. Joe & Cori Beth are excited to be part of the YFC Academics team seeking to support youth ministry training across Southeast Aisa.

Phil Rice, based out of Bucharest Theological Seminary, Romania as Youth Ministry Professor
[email protected]

Phil and Scottie Rice have been in youth ministry for almost 25 years. Shortly after they met, they began volunteering in the youth ministry at High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas in 1998.

Once they were married they moved to Louisville, Kentucky for Phil to begin pursuing his undergraduate degree in Youth Ministry. While there, their family doubled in size with the addition of two sons, Brady and Caleb. During Phil’s undergraduate work he served at Graceland Baptist Church for one year and then moved to Shively Baptist Church as the paid intern to the youth minister for two and a half years.  Following his internship he became the full time youth minister for over seven years. While holding this position he earned his Masters of Arts in Missiology and then they sought to become full time field missionaries.

Phil has been training youth leaders around the world for the past 10 years. The Rice family has been serving in Bucharest, Romania since 2014.

Frank Mills, based in Florida, USA as Pastoral Care Specialist

Biography and Photo to be added at a later date. 

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