The Young and the Zealous
During the Great Depression, Herbert Taylor, president of the Club Aluminum Company, and his wife Gloria provided bread and soup for long lines of people at a small storefront mission on the near north side of Chicago. As part of their ministry to the community, they surveyed 2000 homes in the neighborhood and discovered that 50 percent of the children never attended church services or Sunday school.
"This simply can't continue!" the couple concluded. Using stock from Herb's aluminum company to create the non-profit Christian Workers Foundation, the Taylors determined to help finance organizations capable of reaching the unchurched young people of America.
What began in a storefront mission came to focus on the world. War clouds were building over Europe, and America's evangelical Christianity had to change. Among the ministries encouraged by the Taylors was Youth for Christ, a vibrantly attractive movement among Christian youth during and just after World War II, and a training ground for new evangelical leaders. The movement had no founder; it had an explosion—driven by a deep concern for America's youth and future. YFC began in the hearts of people like Herb and Gloria Taylor who sensed that a new day had come to America, an hour of need.
Probably the first youth rally director in America was fiery Lloyd Bryant, who organized weekly rallies for youth in the heart of Manhattan during the early 1930s. The youth rally became nationally known, however, when a converted insurance salesman and dance band trombonist named Jack Wyrtzen launched a radio broadcast in Manhattan. He called it "Word of Life Hour" and then linked it with rallies held at Bryant's old meeting place, the Christian and Mission Alliance Tabernacle ...