When one speaks of the unique vision of Youth Revolution International (YRI), he/she must first comprehend the unique environment in which it is being launched. Brevard County, Florida, otherwise known as the Space Coast, is the world’s foremost pioneer in space exploration and a leader in high-tech communications and computer engineering. Cape Canaveral is world renowned as the home of Kennedy Space Center, a launching pad for the Space Shuttle and the communications satellites that orbit the earth transmitting information to nearly every home in America.
The Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), a private university in nearby Melbourne, boasts one of the nation’s top computer and engineering programs. Over 80 nations are represented by the international student population at FIT.
Engineering firms that specialize in sophisticated computer programming and technological breakthroughs such as Harris Corporation and Grumman Engineering round out this impressive multi-media landscape.
It is in this international atmosphere of cutting edge communications systems that YRI has been launched to bring forth a prophetic message of revival, reformation and restoration. The basic vision of YRI is to passionately work towards the restoration of New Testament Christianity by empowering high school and college students to significanly impact their culture for Jesus Christ. This vision will be carried out through ministry, education and technology, and the building of strong relationships across denominational lines in the Body of Christ. Moreover, this vision can be broken down into four distinct components:
(1) Campus Ministry
(2) Leadership training and seminars
(4) TIMOTHY and media application
Our campus ministry component involves key leaders from YRI and local churches to identify students of a primarily international heritage with strong leadership skills and train them to conduct dorm Bible studies, research INTERNET topics for TIMOTHY (more about TIMOTHY below), and evangelize their peers. We hope to somehow pull away the false mystique of “boring Chritianity” by elevating opportunity, getting involved in the lives of these students, and consistently proclaiming a victorious Christian worldview that exalts the majesty and splendor of Jesus Christ in a relevant way.
Under leadership training we are providing several opportunities such as giving high school students at Satellite Beach High School a chance to earn community service points they need for graduation by typing in testimonies for our home page on the World Wide Web. We offer international students opportunities to translate Christian articles on relevant topics like abortion and euthanasia into their own language for future publication in newspapers distributed in their home country. In the future, we want to rent local school auditoriums and show such cutting edge Christian youth films as “‘Hells Bells’ Rock and Roll Expose” by Eric Holmberg and “The Abortion Video” depicting the horrific aftermath of abortions. YRI is actively involved in AIDS education as well, and there are many other leadership training programs being planned for the future.
Evangelism and fulfilling the Great Commission are the most important reason that YRI exists. We want to reach young people! YRI has made it a goal to initiate cooperative relationships with other evangelistically effective organizations that seek to reach youth. Organizations we have worked with in the past and continue to build strong relationships with include the following: Intervarsity, Joseph Jennings’ “Stop the Violence” Program, Champions for Christ, Media House International, Bob and Rose Weiner Ministries, Vineyard Churches Intl., Christian Coalition, and Campus Harvest.
Members of YRI helped organize and administrate a massive high school beach party for the Joseph Jennings “Stop the Vilence” program, and assisted the popular campus evangelist Bob Weiner during a Melbourne Renewal Youth Rally. YRI members also participate in F/X, known as Friendship Expressions, a college student fellowship group that has conducted open air preaching on the F.I.T. campus and distributed Chinese Christian newspapers to many oriental students. A three day major campus event is in the works that would bring in well known campus speakers and feature evangelism training, singing and drama, nightly meetings in the campus auditorium, and comprehensive daily seminars on key issues like pre-marital sex, creation/evolution debate, homosexuality, AIDS, and abortion.
A discussion of evangelism would be incomplete without mentioning TIMOTHY (Timely Information and Messaging Online To Help You), our World Wide Web Internet server that has received over 15,000 connections in the past 3 months from over 40 nations. Many students, parents, government employees, internationals, hurting people, and even ministers have been helped through TIMOTHY. This leads us into our final component of the YRI vision – Internet and media application.
The basic vision to create an extraordinary database consisting of vast Christian resources spanning a comprehensive array of topics such as law and politics, music, sports, education, art, and theology and make it available on the Internet was conceived by the founders of YRI, Jeff Dwiggins and Rick Kiper. Kiper has written exhaustive HTML documents to properly archive all of the information and create an aesthetic look to the home page. Kiper’s Internet-expertise and crafty advertising skills have lured thousands of people inside the doors of TIMOTHY to peruse recent testimonies from the Melbourne renewal services, articles on hot Christian topics, and connect to other exciting Christian sites on the Internet. TIMOTHY has recived rave reviews all across the United States and really put YRI on the map.
YRI would like to expand the TIMOTHY project and attract many other technologically talented individuals to be a part of our exciting vision. TIMOTHY requires a significant time commitment to maintain, update, monitor, and research, and with hard work we hope to develop it into the most effective and important information and resource center for Christians in the world.
Creating and maintaing TIMOTHY, however, is only half the vision we have for media technology and application. YRI would also like to train thousands of high school and college students in the techniques and strategies of using this platform as a means for fulfilling the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Further projects involve developing even more advanced technology such as fiber optics and virtual reality for the futuristic evangelism that may very well dominate the 21st century.
There is nothing uncommonly special about YRI and its staff. We are real people with real problems, families, jobs, and other commitments. We really aren’t interested in the “YRI banner” being lifted up and having our names in lights. We are interested, though, in lifting up the banner of Jesus Christ in culturally creative ways that will inspire young people all over the world to pick up their cross and follow Jesus with holy passion. Whatever we can do with our portion of talent the Lord has graced us with to accomplish that purpose, we are thankful for. YRI staff leaders are held accountable by an advisory board of loosely connected pastors and leaders in Melbourne, FL; Kansas City, MO; Anaheim, CA; and all of our homies on the Net! God bless you!
Jeff Dwiggins and Rick Kiper