This summer, the first ever TeenStreet was hosted in the UK. Over 70 teenagers gathered together for a week of discipleship. Internal growth and deeper personal connection with Jesus inspired many of the teens to step out in faith, willing and ready to take His love to those who don’t know Him.

More than a moment

“We were invited to kneel,” Abigail (17) says, recalling a moment in worship at TeenStreet. “I’ve followed Jesus since I was little, but since moving from Malaysia to London with my family ten months ago, I’ve been listless and felt a distance growing between me and God. I knew I needed to surrender everything to Him again. So, I knelt…”

A leader draw alongside her to pray and Abigail felt overwhelmed by God’s love and presence. “Most of the time when I experience the Holy Spirit I’m too shy to do anything about it. But I felt God saying that in this moment I shouldn’t feel afraid of what others think.” Tears flowing and hands upturned, Abigail knelt there with God, long after other teenagers left. “I couldn’t hear anything around me,” she explains. “It was just me and God.”

Abigail knows that God met with her for a purpose. “There will be moments, like this one, when God draws so close,” she shares, “but it can’t just be about the moments, it has to be something that is consistent. You can’t just rely on these moments of encounter; you must let them change you.”

“I have a dream to tell people about God’s love in really hard places. If our purpose is to make disciples, then we must be willing to go anywhere. I learnt from my family that you shouldn’t be afraid. Because it’s not about me, it’s about God.”

Co-creating with God

Sixteen-year-old Hope is most often found with a paint brush in hand. Sat cross-legged on the floor in the corner of the Art Zone, her wrist moves steadily in time with the worship music playing, as she adds colour to the blank canvas.

“For me, art is about spending time with God,” Hope explains. “It’s about abiding in His presence and every part of the painting is about co-creating with God. When I spend time with Him it flows out of me.”

Hope usually sits alone as she paints, but at TeenStreet the Art Zone is in the Throne Room – the main meeting space – and she is surrounded by a community of other young worshippers. This setting is so unique and inspiring for Hope. “I don’t get to meet many other teenagers who love Jesus,” she shares. “Most of my friends at school are atheists and into really bad things, so I find it really hard to share my faith journey with them. It’s amazing that at TeenStreet I can worship alongside so many others my age.”

Art is a means of worship for Hope, but more than that, she wants it to enable others to connect with God. “My prayer is that my art will touch others too; that they will see God in my art. Maybe my pictures will lead to conversations and be a way of sharing my faith with my friends.”

Praying for boldness

Ben (15) is covered in powder-paint following the TeenStreet fundraising run. He’s loved the high-energy games and activities, but when asked what he’s enjoying most he says, without hesitation, that it’s been the opportunities he’s had to go deeper with God.

“It’s been amazing to have time to learn more about God and draw close to Him,” Ben shares. “I’ve heard God speak so clearly to me about the things in my life that I need to surrender.”

Ben identifies the small group times as being really significant. “Our net group has been really cool,” he enthuses, “it’s so good to have the opportunity to chat about the Bible together and have leaders there to explain what things mean.”

“I really want to be able to spread God’s love when I’m back home, and show my friends how much God means to me,” Ben shares, acknowledging the challenges he might face when he returns home. “I’ve prayed and asked that God will give me boldness.”

TeenStreet UK will return in 2023. Keep an eye on our websites and social media accounts for more information soon!