About Teens For Christ

The History and Vision of Teens For Christ

Purpose: Teens For Christ is dedicated to reaching teens with the gospel of Jesus Christ, helping them grow in the Lord, and guiding them as disciples for Jesus.

Teens For Christ is a story of the Good News of Jesus Christ at work in our lives.

In 1970 at Camp Shamineau in Motley, Minnesota, Bruce Cicchese accepted Christ as his Savior during a church Men’s Retreat.  Bruce’s own spiritual awakening led him to the conviction that this Good News needed to be shared and to a vision of impacting the lives of young people with the Gospel.  This heart for youth dramatically altered and enriched the lives of Bruce and his wife Shirley.  They adopted two children.  Over the years, they would provide foster care to fourteen others.  And in 1974, the Ciccheses started hosting a youth Bible Club in their home – a ministry that would later expand and develop into Teens For Christ.

Over the next fifteen years, the ministry went through several stages of growth and re-formation.  In 1976 the Ciccheses decided to establish an official local youth ministry and incorporated as Minnesota Voice of Christian Youth; for several years, they operated as a satellite of Kansas City Youth for Christ.  The Ciccheses moved from Minnesota to Wisconsin in 1979, but continued to run youth programs in both states.  By 1981, Bruce had resigned from his job in order to do full-time youth ministry.  In 1982, Shirley began a local Bible Quizzing program. For the next twelve years, she served as TFC’s Bible Quizzing director, and developed a robust program through western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota.  The ministry as it is known today, Teens For Christ, became independent from Kansas City Youth For Christ in 1989.  

The past 25 years have seen the Lord work in exciting ways as Teens For Christ continues to grow and reach teens with the Gospel.  In 1995, TFC started the Institute for Teen Evangelism, which provides a one-year certificate in Bible and youth ministry.  In 2006, we built a central Ministry Center in Hudson, WI.  It serves both as a meeting place and as the office headquarters for TFC’s various programs.  Our staff has more than doubled in the past decade, with the majority working on the basis of fundraised financial support. Many of them, from those in their forties to those in their twenties, participated in TFC programs when they were teens and know firsthand the spiritual impact of these ministries.

In 2009, Bruce and Shirley’s son, Jim Cicchese, took over as Executive Director of Teens For Christ. Having worked with TFC in various capacities since 1987, Jim is intimately acquainted with both the ministry’s vision and programmatic details.  As at the beginning, Bible Clubs remain a central part of our outreach, with six clubs currently run in four different cities in both Minnesota and Wisconsin.  TFC’s vibrant Bible Quizzing ministry continues to provide fellowship, training in God’s Word, and fun competition for teens in the Twin Cities metro area – in 2012, we were National Champions!  Mission trips, camps, discipleship programs, and various outdoor experiences empower and equip teens with the leadership skills to be effective witnesses to the Gospel and to take up ministry opportunities even now (1 Tim. 4:12).

Moving forward, Teens For Christ is committed to maintaining and strengthening these programs while being open to see where God leads us next.  He who called us is faithful, and we fervently pray and expect that, through our ministry, teens will continue to encounter and be transformed by Jesus Christ for generations to come – in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and beyond.