Around the sites, we prayed hard for God to work at Newday, a youth festival in Norfolk we took 25 young people to this year. Rather than hear from the youth team, we asked West Site’s Alanah Mitchell, just out of Year 11, for her perspective on a week at the best youth event evarrr…
Imagine 7000+ young people crammed into a Bigtop. Now add lights, speakers, a stage, cameras, music.
Empty it all out again.
Instead fill it with God’s presence and the sound of thousands of youths responding to his call. You enter that first evening meeting with expectation and enthusiasm. It’s like coming home.
Fast forward three days.
The sour odour of BO has settled in, you have to dodge the spiders dangling in your tent, and the long walk to the toilet blocks has given you a new appreciation towards your own bathroom at home. You can probably guess these aren’t the reasons why Emerge chooses to go to Newday.
We go to hear amazing teaching. We go to build fellowship with one another. We go to have fun and enjoy some independence.
But as we step into the Bigtop, or walk around the concourse, or even wait for an empty shower cubicle, we realise we are there because of Jesus. Because he has called us to be ambassadors for him.
It is even more exciting when we see non-Christians take a step closer to knowing God. Newday is the perfect place to explore large questions, talk openly about experiences, and to engage with God.
It is why Newday continues to be one of the biggest highlights of my year.
Personally, this year was my favourite so far. After coming out of the other side of GCSE exams, Newday 2017, for me, was about worship. Realising that I wanted to be on God’s agenda rather than anybody else’s.
With the meetings being so great, we can sometimes forget that what happens back at our campsite is just as important as the large scale meetings.
The afternoons were filled with smoothies and milkshakes, trips to the concourse and card games.
Emerge competed in the 15-19’s football tournament where the chalkboard was brought out for strategising, meaning our team was well prepared!
Having song battles with other churches before going into the Bigtop, (which we always won!) and “raving” in the most peculiar and unexpected places, which consisted of chanting loudly to annoy others.
Then as the night settled, we’d hit the concourse after refreshments of hot chocolate and cake served by the wonderful Alex Lowman.
As Emerge, Newday 2017 was a brilliant week. We have grown closer, becoming more like a big family. As a youth group, we have learnt what it means to press into God more and how to support each other in our personal walks with Jesus.
I count it as a blessing to be a part of the Emerge crew, and I know God has blessed Churchcentral’s youth group with great leaders who are passionate about pursing God.
As I look to the year ahead, I am excited to see what God will do, and that the seeds that were planted at Newday 2017 start to bear fruit.
I will end with an encouragement to the rest of the church – I have found that being on God’s agenda is so much better than being on someone else’s. And I want to encourage you to follow his call…