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by Kristen Nicholson

Have you wanted a better understanding of the world around you? Are you searching for a deeper expression of your faith?

As adults we have all asked ourselves these questions time and time again as we reflect on our understanding of the world around us. Many of us struggle to discuss our Faith and our relationship with God with others, particularly in a world where even the word "Faith" means so many different things to different people. Now imagine yourself as a teenager trying to have the same conversation about faith and the world around you. Can you picture yourself shying away from topics such as spirituality and God? For many of us this was the case because we were unsure of how to properly express ourselves and our faith.

CYWAL (Christian Youth Worldview And Leadership) is a non-denominational Christian organization dedicated to assisting parents in the training of Christian youth to think and live in accordance with a biblical worldview so they will serve Christ and exercise leadership. This organization feels that the youth of today are perfectly capable of having mature and meaningful conversations about God so long as they have been equipped with the tools to do so. Christian youth are taught that debates surrounding God and Jesus shouldn’t be initiated with the idea that there will be a "winner". Instead, CYWAL teaches young people that engaging in discussions of faith and spirituality are opportunities to learn from others with different experiences and worldviews.

The Christian Youth Worldview and Leadership organization holds an annual conference. This conference provides high school students with the amazing opportunity to learn about the Christian worldview, opposing worldviews, apologetics, evangelism and leadership. This unique training helps to develop young people’s confidence in their faith in Christ which in turn better equips them to help others in their search for spiritual truth and point them toward the cross.

A typical day at CYWAL begins with breakfast and is followed by a group devotional based on one of the five main leadership characteristics discussed throughout the week (meekness, integrity, vision, attitude, empowerment). After the two morning sessions, students are joined for lunch by the guest speakers, providing them with the opportunity to have more in-depth discussions about the daily focus. Two more sessions take place in the afternoon followed by a recreational break and dinner, when again guest speakers often join in. One final evening session takes place before students have time for worship music and finally they "crash" in their dorms tired but eager to rehash and share what they have learned for the day. One afternoon during the week features an off-site evangelism trip, which is a very powerful and unique experience for the students.

The parents of the conference attendees cannot say enough about the impact that the CYWAL conference has had on their children's spiritual lives. One parent recounted their son's experience by saying,

"(My son) thoroughly enjoyed the week and said it was great. He was stretched; he said his faith was stretched and strengthened; he came back on fire for God; he made great friendships, and much more. His first response to how he liked it was, 'Can I go again next year? It was great!' He learned so much and is anxious to read more and learn more about apologetics. How exciting that is!"

The students are also more than willing to speak about their experiences:

"CYWAL has changed my life. It has challenged and inspired me to live for God in everything I do and to constantly share Christ's love with others...The people here have challenged me to live at a higher standard for God."

For information about the next CYWAL conference, including sign up forms as well as fundraising assistance, please visit their website at www.cywal.org.