Christ in Youth Addresses Mental Health

Christ in Youth positions its Believe conference to assure disconnected students that they are not alone.

Christ in Youth

For the past 50 years, Christ in Youth has produced events for age groups ranging from preteens to college students, offering the events during different seasons in tours across the country.

Believe, the CIY weekend event for junior high students, travels between 10 and 15 venues in states ranging from Oregon to Florida. Believe weekends include speakers, worship, video presentations and games.

“Since Generation Z is nicknamed ‘screenagers,’ we’ve found it’s important to create high-quality videos for their events,” says Communications Director Chris Roberts of CIY. “Fun is also a thread in anything we do with junior high, but it’s all on the foundation of God’s word.”

Roberts explains that as his team brainstorms content and themes for their events each year, they seek input from youth leaders on subjects that will resonate.

“We’re always asking youth pastors: ‘What’s going on with your students? How can we set you up to have biblical conversations?’” he says.

The input he received for Believe this year was that teens are feeling disconnected, isolated and anxious, thanks in part to adverse effects of social media and violence across the country. CIY decided to respond by dubbing this Believe installment the “With” tour.

The content drives home the fact that God is with each student, and they are not alone and will never be abandoned, despite uncertainties around them.

“With a junior high audience, the goal with this subject is to help them identify the feelings they have, lend credence to them and then figure out what to do with them,” says Roberts. “We also want them to ask what God would do with their feelings.”

Between 16,000 and 17,000 students will attend a “With” tour stop over the course of the season. Roberts says CIY aims to make attending Believe as convenient as possible, with the goal of groups not having to drive more than three hours. The capacity in each venue ranges from 750 to 3,000, and students are encouraged to connect with their youth pastor to process what they’re experiencing at Believe. CIY provides small-group questions for the pastors to use in these follow-up conversations.

“We want to be a partner of the church,” says Roberts. “CIY aims to amplify Christ’s call on students’ lives to be kingdom workers.”