Newday Youth Workers' Conference

One of the most fun opportunities God has given me is the privilege of hosting one of the Newday Youth Workers' Conferences, at Sherwood Forest Center Parcs. We had 2009's conference last weekend and it was really wonderful. Two things stood out for me:

1. An incredible sense of the presence of God.
Before the first meeting the team and the band gathered to pray, and immediately we felt the Holy Spirit with us. Usually we would pray for one another at this time but we just received from God instead, knowing that He was giving us all we needed. Then from the first chord of the first meeting there was the unmistakable feel of God in the building. This was manifested in various ways, including exciting prophecies and some wonderful healings (a girl with a headache that had lasted 21 weeks sobbed with joy as she testified that the pain had gone!). As a conference organiser, this is what you want more than anything else: the thrilling, loving, transforming presence of God. Thank You, Holy Spirit.

2. Every person playing their part brilliantly.
So many people contributed to making this event happen, and all with grace-motivated joy and humility. Worship was led by Vanessa Morse and her band from ChristChurch London, who consistently brought our attention to God and the cross with great energy. This was the first time they had been at this conference and they did an outstanding job. Julian Adams brought his unique gift - himself! His closeness to God is a beautiful blessing, and his prophesying and teaching were stunning. Joel Virgo, who leads the Newday team, travelled up from Brighton especially for one session - what greathearted commitment. His exposition on the life of Elijah was profound and challenging in many ways. Stuart Gibbs spoke on the cross as of first importance, showing us what Jesus achieved by His great sacrifice. Stuart has also blessed me personally through the gracious way he has delegated the hosting of this conference to me over the past couple of years. Nicholas Ferguson and Pete Benton made their speaking debuts, with helpful practical seminars on matters relating to youth leadership. Others, such as Mel Crane and Wendy Mann, ministered to us through their responsiveness to God and their example in the prophetic. These on-stage contributions are usually recognised, and rightly so. But there were also many people behind-the-scenes making things happen, led by Phill Gray. Phill was such a great support to me: taking responsibility for all the practicalities of the weekend, and allowing me to focus on contributing in the way God had called me to. The sound team of Darren and Chris made the place rock, Jason and Louise did a great job with the visuals (one of the most high-risk jobs, I always think), Carl and Nina ran a great bookstall for us, Stefanio covered all the bases... Then there are the likes of Matt Simmonds, Marie Theron, and Sarah Lohse who worked hard before the event without even getting to come! And I know of many who prayed for this event before and during it. I know long paragraphs are the bane of blog-readers but this had to be all put together because that's why the weekend worked so well. Thank you, all of you.

It was my prayer that everyone who attended would meet powerfully with God, and would leave with something that they could apply to their ministry back home. I believe this has happened for many and I am so grateful to everyone who has helped make this happen.

Talks from the conference will be available to download here over the next few weeks.