Experiencing God at TeenStreet 2015

09 Aug, 2015 | Germany
Nicole James
TeenStreet 2015 encouraged thousands of participants from around the world to be HOME with God, experiencing His presence in their daily lives.
Seven days. 4,277 people. 42 countries. TeenStreet (TS), OM’s international youth congress wrapped up Friday night (7 August), following a week dedicated to leading teenagers into God’s presence. In addition to daily Bible teachings and small group discussions, TS offered participants opportunity to connect with God and each other through art, sports, and outreach activities in Offenburg, Germany, the 2015 TS host site.

On Wednesday afternoon, all TS attendees had the chance to run in or sponsor the RAG (raise and give) race. Most runners collected donations on a per-lap basis—the more they ran, the more they earned. Throughout the week, people also donated through collection containers on site. Together, TS raised a promised €120,221.93 for the Emmanuel Center in Lushnje, Albania, which serves Roma Gypsy children.

“Our aim throughout TeenStreet is actually to really help the teens see all the characteristics of God,” explained Claire Hoernig, digital and social media coordinator for OM UK and director of this year’s RAG race. “There’s so many things we do in the programme to help the teens see different aspects of God and understand Him and build a relationship with Him.”

RAG, for example, emphasised God’s generosity, while ArtZone allowed teens to experience His creativity. Outreach in Offenburg, ranging from handing out flowers to visiting refugees, encouraged participants to engage the culture around them. According to the TS leadership team, each element of TS serves a purpose in mentoring and discipling the younger generation of believers. And with around 1,800 staff and Service Team members volunteering, the camp’s impact reaches far beyond the words spoken from the main stage.

The 2015 TS theme—HOME—was especially personal for Josh and Debs Walker, the dynamic American/Irish couple who develop and present the messages each year. As directors of the international charity Young Hope, they spend most of their time in inner-city Houston, Texas, working with homeless and low-income people, as well as men and women getting out of prison with no place to go.

“Last year, after TeenStreet, I was walking around with the homeless people that we work with, asking God why they don’t always take the help we have available for them,” Debs recalled. “God spoke to me about how people do that to Him—that He’s offering a home, He’s offering all the goodness of Heaven, and we would rather live homeless away from Him.”

Josh and Debs dug into Scripture to find out what God wanted to say about “home.” They prayed and poured over the book of John, eventually deciding on the week’s anchor verse, John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them’” (NIV).

Having settled on “HOME,” Josh and Debs also asked God about the daily themes, a series of words to structure the week. In the main messages as well as the small group “Net” times, the teens focused on the ideas of Dwell, Yes, Roots, Tribe, Pour and Life, working through more Bible passages and talking with each other to gain a more complete understanding of their identity at home in Christ.

After the final main hall session, two teens shared their understanding of home. Lukas, 18, from Germany, said, “For me, home means taking time with God and praying and looking for friends with whom I can share that. And I know that no matter where I am, God is with me.”

Karita, 16, from the Faroe Islands, added, “Meeting with God, wherever He leads me, that’ll be home.”

“TS is a really wonderful place to experience the presence of God, to have community with people, and even to be in contact with other believers,” Debs said. “But the other 51 weeks of the year, God is still at work; God is still speaking; and He still wants to impact all of our lives and use us in our communities.”

For more stories and photos from TeenStreet 2015, go to www.teenstreet.de.

Credit: Nicole James · © 2015 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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