Fiji today faces many challenges that were not prevalent years ago, whether it be the increasing threats from drugs and human trafficking, to the rising number of sexual abuse cases even within the family unit, to the challenges faced by our young people with rising suicide, teenage pregnancies and truancy rates. With the social issues plaguing our nation, the role of the Church in being able to influence for the better becomes an increasingly important question that needs constant attention. The ability of the Church to be effective and influential is in the building up of our young people to realize their life's purpose, their area of gifting and to be thoroughly equipped in excelling in their gift and their various spheres of influence.
The Excel Youth Conference (XLYC) was birthed from the need to lift the standard of service within the local churches and enhance one’s ability to disciple. The standard we are currently at as youth ministers may be the best we have ever been, others might think otherwise – either case, one cannot deny that there is always room for improvement and enhancing our skills and service to the height that God requires from us. In the process of that, give young people a sense of direction and help realize their purpose because a person who is confident in who they are and what they are purposed for, is a force to reckon with.
The vision of XLYC is "Influencing our Nation by Excelling in the Marketplace."
The objectives are:
To grow personally in the knowledge of God and His will for the Christ-driven life
To empower the individual to be effective, relevant and influential in their community, sphere of life and local church
To build community with the body of Christ
Reconciling Culture Back to Him
A question that demands an answer for any event that is faith-based and Christ-centered is, “to what end?” What is the purpose of believers meeting over the weekend? Why do we care to do things with excellence and integrity? Why be diligent in our work to God and men? What is the ultimate goal? What is the endgame?
While XLYC objectives are to increase the level of excellence in the local church and to empower youths to be effective in influencing their spheres of life, it is only a means to an end. The ultimate mission is, that what we see today, specifically the culture in our own environments, is transformed into a reflection of Heaven’s, “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
The wait for the Messiah had been so long and finally when He arrived, 11 Hebrews, untrained in biblical theology were sure that this “Yeshua” was indeed the Messiah. He would free them from the tyranny of Rome and restore Israel to its full glory. So, they thought. While Jesus was eating with His disciples, His final command was to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-5) However, anticipating the rule and reign of Israel with the Messiah as their King, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” (Acts 1:6) Jesus responds, that this should not be their worry and commands them again to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit.
Why was the Holy Spirit so important, and why didn’t Jesus just answer the question with a simple yes or no? This question was important to the seed of Abraham and those grafted in; it was answered in Matthew 12:28, when Jesus responds to the comments of the Pharisees saying, “But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.”
Maybe, this is why we no longer see the Apostles eager to see Israel restored. Could they have finally realized that the Kingdom the Messiah was going to establish was more spiritual and powerful than they could have ever imagined? Demons being cast out, the blind receiving their sight, the lame being able to walk, and the dead being raised to life by the power of the Holy Spirit was indicative to the Kingdom of God arriving here on earth. The demonstrative power of God here on earth is “heaven on earth.”
The Kingdom culture is the culture that reflects Heaven’s. Unlike pop culture which is set on the general opinion of the masses, the Kingdom culture is set on the principals, ideas and intent of the giver of every good gift – Abba Father. With the ease of access to unfettered information, young people are exposed to different worldviews and lifestyles today that have shaped their perception of who they are and in turn the trajectory of their lives.
All ideas, customs, and social behaviors that are made popular by the mass media usually attract those who want to fit in – this is 'pop culture.' While pop culture is not all bad, if we are not able to differentiate what is pleasing to God and what is not, we may find ourselves conforming rather than transforming.
God’s idea of His creation has never changed. It has always been “Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen 1:26) He is using His church to bring Heaven here on Earth, as He longs for the day when He will live among men. In Revelation 22, John sees the New Jerusalem come from God, out of heaven. This is the day we all look forward to. Until then, we must continue to pray and obey until this world looks, thinks and acts like His. This is Reconciling Culture Back to Him.