Wendell Bontrager steps away from the YFC board

Posted on by Youth for Christ

Many of the thousands of teenagers who are involved with Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana (YFCNIN) have never heard of a man named Wendell Bontrager, and that’s just how he would want it. Though they may not know his name, he has indirectly helped many of them begin, or strengthen, their relationship with Jesus!

For the last twelve years on the board of directors, and past five as the chairman, Wendell has helped guide, develop, financially sustain, and grow YFCNIN into one of the strongest Youth for Christ chapters in America. Through Wendell’s leadership:

  • Thousands of teenagers have been impacted by this ministry.
  • He oversaw a successful merger between two YFC chapters (Ft. Wayne Area YFC and Northeast Indiana YFC), as well as added four additional counties for a total of twelve.
  • He grew our staff from 32 to 46 and a budget from $1.8 million to $3.1 million.

In typical humble fashion, Wendell said,  “I’m just a guy who had a great team (of board and staff) who were passionate about reaching lost teens with the Gospel and did whatever it took to get things done.”

When asked why he first got involved with YFC he stated, “Selfishly, Shelley (his wife) and I wanted people, other than ourselves, speaking into our kids' lives. YFC directors did that for our kids, and we will never forget the investment they made. The YFC staff continually invest in the lives of teens even in the most difficult times, and in the end, their loving commitment to be there in a young person’s life is what makes the difference!”

Larry Lance, YFCNIN’s CEO, said, “Wendell and Shelley have been instrumental in the growth and success of Youth for Christ in Northern Indiana. Their time, talents, and sacrifice have reaped a tremendous harvest of new followers of Christ, and they will be sorely missed; not only at YFC, but in our community.”

On one of Wendell’s last days in town, he shared with the YFC staff: “Thank you for letting us be a part of YFC’s journey. At the end of the day, our journey continues together. We may be in Kansas, but we are still partnering with you and have the same heart in sharing the Gospel for people far from Jesus.”

Thank you Wendell and Shelley, on behalf of the thousands of young people that you will never meet, but whom you impacted!


Wendell will be leaving the Fort Wayne area to be the next President at Equity Bank in Wichita, Kansas. (Equity’s press release).
Andy Binkley, from Weigand Construction, will be replacing Wendell as the Youth for Christ board chairman.

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