Tony Chaney ‘humbled’ to lead YFC
June 20, 2012
By JESSICA WILLIAMS
Tony Chaney sank his teeth into a new position in April, becoming the executive director of the local organization dubbed “BiGJAWs.”
The local Youth for Christ office, which is headquartered in Bluffton, oversees Blackford, Grant, Jay, Adams and Wells counties — hence, “BiGJAWs.”
“I felt that God had just laid on my heart to lead the YFC movement in the five counties,” Chaney said.
He’s a Wells County native who has made his life here. He first became involved in YFC at Norwell High School from 1997 to 1999. Chaney was named the full-time Campus Life director at Norwell in 2007 and served in that capacity until he was named executive director of the organization.
He sees the organization as “strategic arms” for the communities’ churches.
“I love our partnerships with the local churches,” Chaney said. “Without that partnership with local churches, some of what we do would lose some of its significance because the access that we have with kids in presenting the gospel, we can only go so far.
“But when we can plug those kids into the churches in the communities that we serve, then those kids and those families have a chance for lifelong discipleship.”
The organization currently reaches 6,700 students through their full time Campus Life directors in nine high schools and six middle schools.
They have the potential, though, to increase access by 8,700 students through adding four more high schools and 10 more middle schools, Chaney said.
“It’s that relational presence that we really, really value,” he added.
Chaney also said he believes his role includes being a “community pastor,” where he serves the community by speaking at events and helping in times of crisis.
He also sees himself as a mentor.
“With my responsibility being five counties, I really see myself as a community pastor on one hand and then on the other hand, I’m leading and nurturing and shepherding these campus leaders that are going to go out and take the gospel message to kids and families in their communities,” he said.
“I’m really humbled to be able to serve our community as a spiritual leader, along with so many other great people,” Chaney said.
He’s been married 25 years to his wife, Angie. They have four children: Haley, Eden, Laken and Brason.