Young Newham Christians join 9,000 worshippers at Soul Survivor
PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 August 2015
Thirty-eight teenage Christians from 14 borough churches joined about 9,000 worshippers at the Somerset installment of this year's Soul Survivor festival.
Newham Youth for Christ (NYC) organised the visit, which saw the 14-18-year-olds praise Jesus with music and sports at the festival from August 15-19.
Jimmy Dale, 29, is centre director at NYC, a division of worldwide franchise Youth for Christ, which was set up by controversial American evangelist Billy Graham.
Jimmy said the trip was a “mountain-top experience” for the charity, which has been working with young borough Christians for four years.
“Soul Survivor’s such a huge event,” he said. “There’s this sense of being part of something bigger and it helps young people engage because it gives them that sense that this is about something bigger than them.”
Jimmy said that one of the benefits of NYC, and the trips it organises for young followers, is the solidarity that results among members.
“Often young people are part of a church where there’s only three or four other young people,” he said. “For a lot of people, faith can be something they struggle through.
“It’s about how we connect people – we give them that sense of belonging and ownership over their faith.”
But Jimmy added Soul Survivor wasn’t just for the faithful, saying the festival offers those curious about Christianity a chance to join the religion.
“It was amazing, 877 people converted to Christianity at the festival,” he said. “The festival hosts big meetings each day which give the opportunity for people to become Christians.
“I always find when we come back from Soul Survivor it’s a mountain-top experience,” he said. “For a lot of them, Soul Survivor is when God moves from just being a concept to someone who lives and breathes and acts.
“There’s a real buzz and sense of connection with God when we’re coming back and a sense of wanting to preserve that in our everyday lives.”