Preteen -

21 years later ... these 2 things haven’t changed —

By Lindsey Bell

In 1998, I experienced my first CIY summer conference as a high school freshman. Now I’m in a new chapter of my journey with the ministry … I’m sending my kids!

My son, Rylan, went to SuperStart this year for the first time. I was lucky enough to attend the first night of the event, and I couldn’t help but notice there are two things that haven’t changed with the CIY experience.


1. It’s just as life-changing now as it was back when I was a student. What I experienced at that summer conference in 1998 changed my life. It’s what led me to Bible College, and ultimately a life of ministry. I clearly remember the theme, “The Burn.” I came home from that conference more “on fire” for the Lord than I had ever been. At SuperStart this year, my mommy eyes watched preteens raise their hands in worship – which is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. There were powerful skits and memorable lessons, and it was like deja vu as I watched God move in these kids’ lives. The American Ninja Warrior demonstrations on the obstacle course were used in such a powerful way to show kids that Jesus is all the help we need to reach God … I was just as excited as the kids were, and I know the memories will stick with the students for many years to come – just like mine did.


2. It’s worth it. Don’t let the financial investment – or what I call “the mama worries” – stop you from sending your child to a CIY event. As a fellow mom, I know it can be scary. I’ll admit I was more nervous about sending my son than I thought I would be. But I’m so glad I did. It was 100 percent worth it.


God moved in my life through CIY when I was 14 years old. Now in this moment of my life as I’m sending my own children, He’s still moving. I truly feel blessed to continue this tradition of watching God make an impact on young lives.


03_26_lindsey.jpgLindsey Bell is married to Keith and they have two children. She is an author and blogger at