Children who grow up in church are familiar with the bible studies, the church outings, the activities, and the weekly attendance to Sunday service, but some can say that this is a problem for the youth, who need to make their own decision on whether they want to dedicate their lives to God.
On August 5-8, over 200 junior high and high school students will travel to the Mount Gilead Center in northern California where they will be able to focus entirely on God while minimizing the distractions in their lives.
Kevin Chen and Chris Yen, who are both experienced in working with young people are scheduled to speak on what it means to follow God by emphasizing on this year's theme, "more to life."
Thomas Chen, the youth pastor at San Jose's CCIC says that he hopes the speakers will get through to the youth by helping them realize that there is more to life than living and dying, but one can experience a "new life and a new identity."
At this time of their lives, they face pressure from their peers and their parents in regards to taking responsibilities and growing up.
Lawrence Chang, the youth director at the CCIC in Mountain view said, the most pressing issue for the youth is practicing their Christian beliefs in outside settings. He said that the youth at CCIC know the core value of Christianity, but this retreat will challenge them to apply their beliefs into their daily lives.
The retreat will offer a time where the youth can speak to a counselor or a parent in a one-on-one session. These sessions are effective because it allows the youth to realize where they are in their faith.
Pastor Chen said, young people need to know that someone cares about them and, by giving them individual attention, they can release the pressure from their lives and start understanding themselves more.
Some have reflected back on these retreats and said that they look forward to gathering with other young people because it shows them that they are not alone.
There is no expectation that the youth will change instantly Pastor Chen said, but he believes that the youth retreats provide a time where they can step forward in accepting their faith, and then it comes down to experiencing God's grace.