Youth Centers

Inner Center Transformation - Youth Development Center 1Since 1992, Cru has offered a unique solution to churches and ministries that want to reach out to the children and teens in their neighborhoods.

Currently, our Cru Youth Development Centers (formerly S.A.Y. Yes! Centers) are ministering to more than 3,000 children and teens across the country. Watch a video at the right about a young boy named Charles.

Cru Youth Development Centers are a biblically-based program that takes place in an after-school setting.

The goal is to give at-risk children a solid foundation from which they can build a successful future. Through the local church, each child is ministered to spiritually, emotionally, physically, intellectually, and socially (Luke 10:27).

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.

Cru provides churches and their congregations with:

  • Training (18 hours, 16 sessions covering topics such as how to design your weekly program, how to share the gospel with children, and how to recruit and manage volunteers).
  • Biblically-based curriculum (Bible Club, practical living skills, recreation, mentoring, and lessons covering topics such as integrity, forgiveness, and respect).
  • Ongoing resources, many of which are free or at low cost (educational materials, a phonics program, youth entrepreneurship skills).
  • Online access to all Cru Youth Development Center resources, links to related websites, and free downloads.
  • City-wide support network (additional training for specific topics such as fund development, child discipline, setting annual goals and objectives).

How to Start a Center

Is your inner-city church interested in partnering with us to open Cru Youth Development Center at your church? Here’s an overview of the process of opening a Center.

Opening a New Center: The Typical Process

  • Church (or ministry) expresses strong Interest
  • “Vision and Planning” time
  • Church (or ministry), and key leadership including pastor and/or director, agrees with the Mission and Purpose Statements and Guiding Values
  • Center Director and key staff participate in local training. (Get more information about training topics, dates and locations.)
  • Preparation Phase (approximately one to two months)
  • Cru Youth Development Center opens
  • In Cru cities, on-site visits and ongoing training (on and off-site, and online)

Getting Started:

The first step in beginning a new center is to contact the Cru Youth Development Center Coordinator in your city (or the city nearest you) and let them know of your interest.

What Training Looks Like

We provide an 18 hour interactive training workshop addressing topics such as:

  • SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT – Spiritual Warfare, Biblical View of Children, Christ-Centered Ministry, Sharing the Gospel concretely with children
  • CHILD DEVELOPMENT – Discipline, Experiential Learning, Children and Salvation
  • CURRICULUM NEEDS – Bible Club, Practical Living, Crafts, Recreation, Tutoring Program
  • TEAM BUILDING – Working As A Team, Getting to Know One Another, Relational Ministry
  • CENTER ORGANIZATION – Volunteer management, Purpose Statement, Guiding Values, Typical Weekly Schedule, Philosophy of Ministry, Organizational Structure, Emergency Procedures

The purpose of this training is to equip our partner ministries with the quality tools and resources needed to realize their vision for reaching the youth (grades k-12) in their communities. We commit to partnering with them with a wholistic approach to the gospel of Jesus Christ, using the strategy of win, build, send. An “in-your-life” mentoring approach is a high value of ours that carries throughout our training. We encourage a biblical model of discipleship with low youth to adult mentor ratio (5:1).

In addition to the training and coaching, the Cru YouthDev Team journeys with the local Cru staff and partner ministry directors and pastoral staff. We are here to help leverage such strategic partnerships as Christian Community Development Association, Urban Youth Workers Institute, YouthPartnersNet, and SnowRidge Camp, helping to further equip these committed teams for a lifetime of ministry to their youth.

We desire to see the multiplication of passionate followers of Christ and transformed communities in the urban areas across the country through the tool of S.A.Y. Yes! Centers for Youth Development.

Training sessions are offered in cities across the country throughout the school year. Please contact the Cru Youth Development Coordinator in your city for details about upcoming trainings.