Christ In Youth plans to launch their 2005-2006 national tour for junior high school students to change youth and the world.
"If we don’t change youth, we can’t change the world," said Johnny Scott, Director of BELIEVE -- the high energy, relationship building tour for pre-teens.
He believes that the key to changing the world is to reach those who are still young enough to be influenced positively.
"In Deuteronomy, it says if you train a child from when they’re young enough, they will not depart from the Word," said Scott. "There’s a lot of money spent in America on high schools, but [we should] shift our resources and training experiences to junior high schoolers and talk to them when they still think we’re cool."
"Everyone in America, let’s talk to a demographic of students that actually want to listen to us," he said.
Although there are high school ministries, which are needed, BELIEVE wants to help churches across America open their eyes, start staffing and being aggressive in changing the outcome of the nation's youth.
Scott explains that students feel abandoned and unloved by family, school, and society, and that the role of ministries and churches is to show them that we love them.
"We are abandoning our children. The parents are leaving them; they’re latchkey kids. Until the kids do something terrible, the parents don’t give them any attention. Then, they walk away disbelieving the Word of God, and high school students are burnt so bad that it's much harder for them to listen and come back," says Scott.
"Faith was never shown to them in a culturally relevant way. We’re not relevant like Jesus was. We’re abandoning them. We’re not addressing their issues."
"They’re like, 'forget you. I don’t care about your message because you don’t care about me,' and until we are willing to invest in them and love them, they will not listen to our message."
"At BELIEVE, they’ll be blown away by the quality, but what they will not be ready for is all the attention they get," he added.
This youngest generation, used to watching movies and television, has never had anyone sit them down and help them through a process, but Believe states that "We build that into our process. We sit our students down with godly, safe adults to come along them and guide them in their walk, which is key."
"We love junior high students and we want to give them the best Christian event out there, just for them!" said Scott.
On their ninth year, the weekend-based faith event is "growing like crazy," according to Scott. A total of 17,000 kids is expected to attend this year's conferences held in the largest continental cities, such as Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Orlando beginning Fall 2005 and going till Spring 2006.
According to Scott, the conference has a circus atmosphere. "It's like Broadway meets Cirque de Soleil meets a rock concert."
In addition to allowing kids to meet and rededicate their lives to God in a media-packed place which they're familiar and comfortable in, the program's goal is to be a tool for youth leaders.
Although there may be many Bible studies going on around the nation, BELIEVE is a "catalytic" event.
"A student can go through 52 weeks a year and receive great teaching, but when they go with a couple buddies to an event, they could have 3-4 years of growth in the heart in one weekend," said Scott.
However, after being the "catalyst," Believe points students in the direction of their own local church or ministry and also tries to get the youth pastors and leaders to "invest in the lives of students."
"We point kids to the love and nurture in their home church, and we try to lift leaders of the churches up and get them to be involved in their students' lives," says Scott.
Visit http://ciy.com/home/ for conference dates and other information about Christ in Youth.