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Updated: Nov 28, 2019

New Wine is 30 years old this year! For every year we have gathered in the summer, youth provision has been a key element of what we are about. Equipping young people in the church to go home believing in the power of God, to see and bring transformation in Jesus’ name. Many visions have been planted in the minds of young people who have camped under canvas over the years at New Wine summer events. The church is stronger today because of the many dreams and initiatives young people and their leaders dared to dream. 

The obedience of Soul Survivor in discerning and announcing that 2019 will be the last of their summer festivals seems to have acted as a catalyst and nudged many youth leaders and youth organisations around the country to ask the question ‘is God asking something new of us too?’ Young people have always been at the heart of New Wine and we have a rich heritage and history with Soul Survivor – did you know that Mike Pilavachi used to lead the youth work at New Wine before he started Soul Survivor? And so, in October 2018, feeling the same nudge, the New Wine leadership team began asking the same question, ‘Lord, what is it that you’re asking of us?’

We talked, dreamed and prayed, all the while wrestling with our desire to be genuinely committed to young people and wanting to be obedient to God’s call. To be upfront with you, these are some of the questions we asked:

  • Have youth festivals had their time? 

  • Should we start a new stand alone youth festival? That was always going to be the elephant in the room question...

  • Shall we just keep doing what we’ve been doing?

  • Do we need to do anything?

  • Is there something we should be stepping into?

There was an overwhelming feeling within the New Wine leadership that ‘yes’, we should be doing something, but that it should look and feel new. We have been trying to freshen the youth side of things at New Wine for a few years but have always come up against one blockade or another. Maybe now was the right time? Perhaps a new wineskin is being prepared for us?

I’ve had the absolute honour of leading New Wine Youth for the last few years. My sense was that God was speaking to us particularly about two things: 

  1. There was something new and prophetic about our move to Peterborough. Our first event there in 2019 happens to be the year Soul Survivor host their last festivals on the same site. 

  2. We are to increase our offering to young people - and invest! Not to do something so new that it becomes standalone and separate - but something new that exists within the New Wine family. A sense of “We Go Again”. 

In response to this, New Wine is determined to take a risk by investing significant resources into its youth work from next year. It is a risk we genuinely believe God has called us to own and occupy for this next season. This new investment will impact the summer festival events of course, but it has to be about much more than that. At the heart of New Wine is the local church, which is the hope of the world. So, the next season will include resourcing, raising and releasing churches into practising Spirit led youth ministry throughout the year. It needs to be a 52 weeks a year initiative. Someone once said the only risk is to not take a risk. It feels a little scary but we want to be faithful to God. We know that sometimes God asks His people to obey, even when they can’t see the way forward.