Back from Newday

A couple of days in a proper bed and the traumas of camping slowly recede. The first morning on site I woke at 5am to the sound of rain whose temperature was about the same as the shower I took later that morning. Suffice to say, I was in a rebuking mood. But I would not have been anywhere else last week, and here's why...

- Speaking to a woman before the meeting on Wednesday night who needed a hearing aid and then being told by her later that God had healed her and she didn’t need the hearing aid any more! I then got to read through nearly 200 healing report cards that told of sight and hearing problems healed, backs straightened, ligaments strengthened, and many other wonderful miracles.

- Watching over 500 people come forward when invited to respond to the gospel by Adrian Holloway on Wednesday night. 300 people on that night made a commitment to Jesus for the first time! I spent most of that time running around making sure everyone was being taken care of – thanks to a great effort by the team, they were.

- Stef Liston’s one-liners. “You can’t negotiate with God because He knows best, so you don’t really bring much to the table.” On people who have fallen away: “The gospel didn’t work with them? No, they didn’t work with the gospel.” On saying you’re Christian but living a materialistic lifestyle: “You might as well go to a mosque as well.”

- 29th Chapter joining with Simon Brading. As they have done with Tim Hughes, the hip-hop group brought an extra dimension to worship, the best moment for me being when their vocals added to Simon’s magnificent chorus of ‘Our God He reigns’. In the past we’ve had different worship styles from around the world at Newday, I was really excited to see different British worship styles as we speak to our nation.

- Joel Virgo talking about manhood and womanhood. Empowering and liberating biblical truth brilliantly communicated. (All the talks and seminars are available here.)

- A creative arts performance that was neither lame or pointless. Performed as part of Adrian’s gospel presentation, this dance/drama powerfully communicated Jesus’ mighty redeeming love. One girl I talked to said it described her past year and God really spoke to her through it; she’s thinking differently and living differently as a result.

- An offering that showed where the hearts of thousands of young people are. £111,944 was given for the poor and church planting, about £15,000 more than has ever been given at Newday! And the roar – a whole-heartedly delighted-with-God roar – when that figure was announced!

- Young people going out into nearby Uttoxeter and Derby not only blessing people through social action projects but having prophetic words, praying for the sick, and even leading people to Christ! Huddling together in a camp away from the big bad world isn’t really our style, praise God.

- Saying thank you and God bless to Paul Oakley. I still remember with gratitude Paul leading worship at an event in 1997 and having my expectations of Christian music blown wide open. Not only has he written great songs but he’s played a key role in raising up the next generation of worship leaders.

- Wandering around the site seeing so many dear friends whose lives have been transformed by Jesus and who are living for Him. To pick one example of many: a guy who came as part of a youth group last year and was here this time helping to lead.

- Brickhill winning the youth leaders' football tournament. An incredible performance including one history's most dramatic semi-finals against talented and confident local 'rivals' Woodside.

- Serving a great team. I co-ordinate the ministry team at Newday, a role that doesn’t play to my main strengths but one I’m happy to do because I love serving this event and this team. I really count it a privilege to know and work with Joel, Adrian, Stef, Stuart Gibbs and Matt Simmonds – they love God and are passionate about building His church, they’re full of integrity, wisdom, humility and fun.

- Being served by a great team. Illness meant that Rachel Bright, who I have led the ministry team with for the last couple of years, wasn’t able to attend this year so others had to step up. Becky Hurd and Tim Williams did this brilliantly – always cheerful whatever they were being asked to do, always working hard. With a team of leaders really giving themselves to what we were doing as well, everything went really smoothly and we had a great time doing it all. I’m so grateful to God for them and all that they did.

- A mandate to change the world, not just to have great meetings. David Stroud wisely observed that there are places where amazing things are happening at Christian events but the fabric of the nation remains unchanged. Emphasising church planting, talking about the need for Christians to be active in every sphere of society, and teaching on being filled with the Holy Spirit rather than mere enthusiasm helped to equip us for this greater goal. By the grace of God a generation continues to emerge. How wonderful to be a part of it!