When is the last time you felt a true connection to your membership in your church? In an ever-changing world where trending topics change hourly and information comes at you with 3 million results in 0.6 seconds, making a spiritual connection may feel outdated.
According to a study by Barna, Christian youth today are less likely to have a faith conversation. There are young people out there who find that religion and church membership are not that important anymore.
While the world may be changing, it just means more modern ways of staying connected, even to one’s faith. Another study by Barna found that “some churches are not helping to facilitate teens’ transformative connection with God.” The transition into adulthood can be rough if there aren’t proper tools to guide you through. Same goes with maturing as a Christian.
Uncharted Territory: A Religious Journey
In 2019, the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, launched a project geared towards the KADIWA, which is an acronym for “Kabataang May Diwang Wagas” in the Filipino language (meaning “Youth With Noble Intent”) and is an organization for unmarried Christian youth in the Church. The first ever International Kadiwa Conference (IKC) would give Church youth a chance to meet young people from another country and embark on a religious journey towards a better understanding of what their membership in the Church Of Christ means. For many of the delegates, comprised of youth from the western part of the U.S., this trip would be their first time in the Philippines.
Learning Christian Heritage
Volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare for over 300 delegates to arrive, with the aim to share in Brother Eduardo’s vision of cultivating an experience they will never forget. Not only did they tour different houses of worship and historical buildings of the Church Of Christ, delegates attended symposiums tackling Christian youth topics such as stress management, parent-child relationships, and religious education.
“To have tackled such an important issue as mental health and social emotional wellness shows the vision of the Church Administration in helping members deal with what is becoming such a prevalent concern for so many.” – Christine Balbuena, Long Beach, California
Becoming Proud Christians
The Christian youth conference gave the delegates a chance to be unapologetically Christian, to voice their concern about being religious in a world fraught with disillusioned youth. Most of all, they saw firsthand a Church Administration who refused to let their generation be immature in faith. Not only did they come out of this experience reinvigorated in their faith, they understood the importance of youth in the Church and how vital they are to the growth and advancement of the Church. The opportunity to meet Brother Eduardo V. Manalo in person and witness the Church Administration address them in this special way solidified their drive to work harder to be lights in the world.