Catalyst x Newday30 Aug 2017
Newday is one of the largest Christian youth festivals that takes place every summer in the UK. It is designed to engage and help the youth learn about God, find purpose, camp out together, soak in the summer festival feeling, and leave with a deeper understanding and an intimate relationship with Jesus. We had the privilege of sending Catalyst to Newday this year, and they came back raring to go about their new found love and understanding of Christ. Here are some of their stories:
‘This experience has been thrilling and surprising! What I found surprising was the fact that regardless of race, the past, or the way that we look and act, people were able to humble themselves and realise that God is real and is everything that we need. I think people are often lost, and even if they come to God on their own, there will come a time in life when you know you need help. Newday, for me, has been the place where you can get exactly the kind of help you need.
My personal highlight at Newday was that I finally got to meet God, and the time I gave my life and everything I held dear to Him because I felt free for the first time in my life. At first I was the kind of person who thought; “is God even real?” and I thought that He probably doesn’t even care. I was a lazy person who wanted revenge at everything and everyone who had wronged me in the past. All of this changed when I met God; He showed me a different perspective of the world, and how He gave up everything for me. From that moment on I realised that I am worth it, and that I can take down anything, all because of Him and the love that He has given me to share.
The most important lesson I have learnt through this experience is to humble myself. On the back of Newday, I would like to say that you get one life. You shouldn’t live life worrying about the past or the future, but live in the present, while learning from the past and face the future strong, whatever it may hold!’
‘An important lesson I learnt through this experience was on the penultimate day of Newday, when we were talking about the last day of giving that they were going to have. Now I had some money to spend at Newday and I had only spent a small part of it because this was the first time I had received so much at my disposal and I had planned what I was going to do with that money and how I was going to use it, but I felt God telling me to just give it all! So I turned to the Bible and read of how God loves a cheerful giver and I even messaged my parents about this and I started to feel peace about doing it.
The next day I was cleaning out the front pocket of my bag and then I found some change left over from what I had spent and I felt God tell me to give that also and so I literally gave every last coin. In retrospect, I am reminded of something that was said in one of the seminars which was; If we understood the value that God puts on a single life, we would realise it is greater than anything we have or ever could have.
The main highlight for me was on the day when Francis Chan spoke from Isaiah 6 about the glory and majesty of God. It was real eye opener because I realised how much praise and adoration God deserves, and how we usually fall short and rarely give Him what He truly deserves. Francis told us to imagine ourselves in Isaiah’s position, walking into the temple and seeing God seated on high, His robe filling the temple and two seraphims covering their faces and feet saying,“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.” It was at that moment that I truly understood what it meant to have the fear of God. I was just weeping and apologizing for all the times I had been so casual in my approach to Him. This experience changed my view of God, because we hear so much about how God is our father, and our friend, but we sometimes fail to realise that we are talking to the maker of the universe!
Another key moment was after Newday had ended and I was talking to some of the leaders about how I used to get frustrated at times because I would often put a lot of effort into things and still not achieve what I wanted to. We then prayed and I felt God telling me that I had been doing things for my own recognition, but if I submitted to God’s will and plan for my life, and trusted in Him, He would do much greater things than I would be able to with my own effort. I learnt that if I was to chase after things for my own glory, I would always fall short, but if I pursued Jesus’ plans for me, He would be able to boost me up higher than I could go with my own efforts.’
‘The highlight would be the prophecies I received on the trip that were life-changing and life-shaping. They made me look at the bigger picture and reawakened old dreams that had died. The experience of having prayers answered was amazing and yet so challenging because God was constantly building on my character through the answering of prayers and he was speaking so clearly in a way that was transformational to the way that I’m currently living out my faith.
The activities and meetings are designed in a certain way that is really challenging and yet evangelistic and so you may feel God speak to you about issues that you thought were non existent or not a problem for you anymore. God speaks so clearly and His Holy Spirit manifests in the main meetings in a way that sceptics wouldn’t be able to deny the existence of God. So Newday creates new relationships as people come to Christ, it strengthens faith and it practically challenges young people to assess their faith.
This experience has raised many challenges for me personally because you know God is real. You cannot deny that you’ve seen him move in the meetings, you’ve seen and felt his Holy Spirit and you’ve seen healing. What are you going to do about it? What does that mean for your life? How does the knowledge of a magnificent God whose love is unconditional challenge you on the daily ins and outs of life? And now that you’ve experienced something better than an average life, are you going to live in a way that’s more satisfying, wonderful, and eternally fruitful or are you going to choose an unsatisfying, mundane life? Seeing people’s lives changed. Not one person who has gone has come back the same. Newday either makes people enter into a relationship with Jesus or it sows a seed for God to harvest when the time is right – nobody is ever the same which is amazing.’
Newday has been transformational for a lot of the youth at City Hill. A lot of them have made decisions that will radically change their lives. We have an exciting season ahead of us as we launch a new youth group and seek God in all that He has for us. We, the leaders, believe that God is going to use young people to impact their peers and the city as they continue to follow God, because He will bring the good work He has begun to fruition, for His glory.
– Isaac (Youth leader).