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.
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 National Youth Leaders Convention, and in the summer of 1985 the first CIY youth mission trip was taken to Haiti.
Throughout the 1990s CIY gained a reputation as a cutting-edge youth ministry, leading in areas of worship styles, video and multi-media techniques, resource materials, youth missions experiences and using college campuses for programs. In 1997, CIY became an innovator in junior high programming, launching Believe weekend conferences, and Know Sweat service projects for this important age group. The Discipleship program also began in 1997, to encourage and teach students how to have an intimate, personal relationship with Christ. In 2005, CIY held the first SuperStart event to impact the lives of students in grades four through six.
In 2007, CIY partnered with Standard Publishing to create a full Sunday school curriculum for preteens. In 2008, CIY celebrated 40 years in ministry, re-branded its logo and established a new vision and mission: “Amplifying Christ’s call to be Kingdom workers through events, trips and resources.” This led to the re-branding of Summer Conference as MOVE. CIY began a partnership with Group Publishing in 2009, producing many video resources and books for student ministry. In 2010, CIY Missions was re-branded as CIY Engage, expanding the opportunity for more trips and service projects. In 2011, CIY showcased its first feature-length documentary, “Love Costs Every Thing,” – an official selection in two international film festivals – and followed that with another documentary, “Becoming Sons and Daughters” – which won an award with the San Diego Christian Film Festival. Since then, CIY has continued to produce award-winning short-films and documentaries – most recently winning multiple film festival awards for the film “Hard to Place.”
CIY continues to speak the language of this generation of students with its use of high-energy music, engaging videos and high-quality resources. Plans include a new website for both parents and teens offering uniquely targeted messages and information, as well as increasing the number of events and locations to make it possible for more students to experience life change.