Christ in Youth was founded in 1968 by Ozark Bible College Professor Bob Stacy. His vision was to create a place where the Gospel message could be presented to young people in a way that was contemporary and culturally relevant. CIY started with volunteer college students leading rallies and high school assemblies via drama, music and dynamic speaking.
"Create a place where the Gospel message could be presented to young people in a way that was contemporary and culturally relevant."
The first conference was held in the summer of 1969. As CIY's knowledge of youth ministry grew, the organization began to create effective tools for youth leaders to go along with the conference and event strategy. In 1984, CIY hosted the first annual National Youth Leaders Convention, and in the summer of 1985 the first CIY youth mission trip was taken to Haiti.
In 1990 the international expansion of CIY continued with the first international conference in the Dominican Republic. In 2004, CIY added Know Sweat: (now called Engage: Service) - a program to help students get hands-on experience in community service. Throughout the 1990s, CIY gained a reputation as a cutting-edge youth ministry, leading in areas of worship, multimedia, resources, missions experiences and college campus conferences. In 1997, CIY became an innovator in Junior High programing with the launch of "Believe" - a weekend event packed with powerful worship, intense drama and teaching from God's Word.
In 2005, CIY held the first ever SuperStart! Event, created specifically for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. In 2007, CIY partnered with Standard Publishing to create a full Sunday School curriculum for preteens.
CIY Celebrated 40 years of ministry in 2008 by rebranding its logo and establishing a new vision and mission: Amplifying Christ's call to be Kingdom workers through events, trips and resources. This led to the rebranding of summer conferences, now called "MOVE." In 2010, CIY missions was rebranded as Engage, expanding the opportunity for more trips and service projects. And in 2011, CIY showcased its first feature-length documentary, "Love Costs Every Thing," to more than 30,000 event participants across the country. The film's national theatrical release took place in 2012. A second documentary, "Becoming Sons and Daughters," was shown to students and adult leaders during 2012 programs and will see a simulcast release in 2013.
Today CIY reaches more than 65,000 students and adult leaders by way of more than 100 events. The organization continues to be an innovative voice in student ministry with programs directed toward enhancing the spiritual formation of students. Plans include multi-region expansion, increased video production and new media outreach through the Internet and mobile applications.