COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Against the backdrop of the majestic mountains in Colorado Springs, students from across the country are seeking the God of Creation for change in their lives and the lives of their entire generation.
On a sunny day, thousands of teens from more than 30 states file into New Life Church.
They're attending the Desperation Student Conference to learn about purpose and living with a mission. Christian speakers like Louie Giglio and music artists like Kari Jobe and Elevation Worship are here to encourage them in that journey.
Ian Watkins, who is attending for the third year, believes Desperation speaks directly to his generation.
"We're just so hungry and passionate in different ways and we're looking for answers, but we're looking to the wrong places," he told CBN News. "I believe that they provide a lot of answers and that's Christ."
Watkins says he discovered the answer for himself on his very first visit when he became a Christian. Now, as part of a ministry called Move of God, he sees his story repeated each year.
Many here commit to following Jesus, learning to become fearless in their faith and devote themselves to making disciples.
"This generation has been mischaracterized as narcissistic, self-centered, materialistic and all the rest of those things," noted David Martin, pastor of Desperation Ministries.
"And those are certainly challenges within our culture," he acknowledged. "But I really do believe – and we believe – God is raising up a generation that is really looking to be able to make a difference in their world."
It's a message the students are putting into action.
"Whether you're in the locker room or you're in the hallway at school, be that light," Watkins said. "So I think what it really does is create this culture and hunger and understanding (that) wherever you are to have that passion – to be desperate to see people know Christ."
And that passion keeps them hungry for more.
"I'm going to keep coming back as long as I can, as long as they let me, because I just love seeing young people hungry after Christ," Watkins told CBN News.
This is the 17th year for the Desperation Student Conference. With so many teenage lives being changed here, organizers say that's what keeps them going year after year.