Let’s be honest. Our denomination is fond of using initials to refer to most everything. Let me illustrate what I mean. I attend IPC (Ingleside Presbyterian Church). I read the ESV. I work for CEP, which is a permanent committee of the PCA in an office next door to MNA, down the hall from RBI and RUF, in the building next to MTW. As if that is not enough, each year many of our TEs, REs, and their wives attend GA, which AC and WIC have significant roles in making happen. Add in the BCO along with the WC and we have about two thirds of the alphabet covered. However, there is one other set of initials that I would like to introduce: YXL.
YXL stands for Youth Excelling in Leadership and is a denominational conference designed to help high school students better understand Christian leadership through the development of a Reformed world and life view.
The best way to find out about YXL is to come July 7-12 to Covenant College or June 21-28 to Glorieta, New Mexico, and experience it first hand. The second best way is to talk to people who have gone like Barry Noll, associate pastor of youth and family at Christ Presbyterian in Tulsa, OK, or Kyle Kockler, associate pastor of families and youth at Grace Covenant Presbyterian in Blacksburg, VA. The third best way is to check out our websites: www.pcacep.org/yxl and www.yxlglorieta.org. The final way is to finish reading this article to find out about three of the areas that make YXL unique.
1. YXL is not for everyone: We have found that the depth of teaching, the intensity of worship, and the challenge of our leadership activities mean that not every student is suited for the YXL experience. Therefore, each student who comes to the conference must be approved by their pastor, youth pastor, or session. Our hope is for churches to identify students who are leaders or who exhibit leadership potential. Ideally, if you attended a YXL conference you would find two to five students from 30 to 50 churches represented. While we do have some youth groups who come together, most of our students are being sent as individuals or in groups of two or three from their churches. Due to this philosophy, YXL conferences are smaller in number than many of the youth camps around the country.
2. YXL is a network and partnership: Christian Education and Publications gives direct oversight to the running of YXL to Covenant College, while YXL Glorieta is under the oversight of teaching and ruling elders from around the country. Because both conferences are committed to the same philosophy of leadership development, together they form the YXL network. Covenant College partners with CEP each year to make the YXL on its campus a success. One exciting aspect of this partnership is a special college scholarship which is given to attendees of YXL.
3. YXL is unashamedly focused on leadership development: Every sermon, seminar, and small group is designed to help students biblically understand what being a Christian leader means. Likewise, all of our activities are designed to put students in situations where they must put into practice what they are learning. This year, our theme is “Commit,” where students will explore their level of obedience to Christ. YXL Glorieta’s theme is “Rise Up,” focusing on the implications of the resurrection on our daily lives.
With the myriad of great youth events in America, the last thing students need is just another youth conference. However, I believe YXL is not just another youth conference. YXL is not the largest conference. We do not have a lake with ski boats or meet at the beach. We do not have the hottest Christian musicians, comedians, or speakers. But, students who come will be challenged to go out into the world and live as faithful disciples of Christ.