The young Christian faces many questions: Who am I? What am I worth? What do I deserve? Is this an equal society? What is a woman? What does the Bible say about rights, freedoms, or social justice?

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) hosted a biannual young adult program, entitled ‘The Download’ during the last week of January. Its sole purpose is to equip the next generation of truth seekers in the hope of answering some of these trying questions. This year (2023) attendees were blessed with multiple talks from ACL’s managing director, Martyn Iles, as well as special guests. I was privileged enough to attend.

Our days included daily devotions, an eye-opening lecture from Dr Stephen Chavura, topics which stretched from the origins of secularism to the possibilities of a Christian cultural change, and talks ranging on topics from religious freedom, equality, leadership and civics. Science talks by Professor Frank Stootman were on offer, as well as time spent in small groups.

Each day was a great blessing and beyond the lectures there was ample opportunity to level with the speakers themselves and ask questions. Q and A panels were beneficial and insightful in digging deeper into the topics of the given lectures and talks. On a personal note, I greatly appreciated how Martyn Iles deconstructed the idea of ‘self’, this world’s idea of idolatry in treating one’s ‘self’ as a god. The concept of ‘Who am I?’ is a fatally flawed ideal, and instead, one must ask: ‘Who is God?’, and the rest will fall into place.

Amongst all this, we were given resources galore through conversations and literature. There was immense encouragement in seeing other Christians of a similar age, which led to the realisation that you are not alone in your faith or questioning. There is truth, and the Lord provided it through this program. It was apparent that for myself and other attendees, life-long friendships were formed.

This world likes to say that ‘it’s all up to you’ and so instils anxiety that we have to take control of the world into our own hands, repair it, and break free from the chains of an oppressive society. In reality and truth, God is in control. There is no insecurity, doubt or uncertainty in that, which is a great comfort to His people. I found it such a kind reminder. We are not in control, and it is comforting that we are not. If we truly trust him, there is a hope, an endpoint, a purpose and a place. Fear God, He is at the beginning.

The most profound and truthful answer to all those questions above is: ‘I am who God says I am’. To any Christian aged 18-25, who seek to be part of the counterculture, I definitely recommend this life-changing week.

As Jesus promised: I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

– Megan Andrews