Young and old gathered at OVERFLOW for an unforgettable day, celebrating the lively faith of the Ascent young people and being encouraged to spread the love of Jesus, says Andy Drozdziak.
Over a thousand people at CCR’S OVERFLOW conference heard that the faith of young people in the Church is alive and active NOW-and the future is bright.
Many young people shared with CCR members gathered eagerly in Birmingham how the Holy Spirit is using the Ascent discipleship process to change their lives.
Hexham and Newcastle CDSC Secretary Alison Rebello told CCR: “The Ascent programme stories shared by youngsters were a highlight for the parent in me; to believe that, despite the peer pressure, they are still willing to embrace faith and practice it.”
Holy Spirit Sweeping Across Youth Like Wildfire
OVERFLOW was the first national gathering organised by CHARIS England and Wales (CNSC), bringing together individuals, communities, prayer groups and movements in CCR, from across the UK. The Ascent is a youth discipleship process which is sweeping across today’s youth like wildfire and raising up a new generation of disciples of Christ.
Marcus Carlsson, who graduated from the Ascent in Wigton, shared how the programme helped him to be more confident in his faith, and the Holy Spirit gave him courage to stand in front of a packed audience. Joined by Ascent leaders Jasmine de Kretser and Phil Hill, the young people then prayed over those gathered at Bethel in a prophetic and powerful moment (see picture below).
Teresa Davies said: “Weren’t they amazing. I could barely stand as they prayed over us. The Spirit was definitely moving.” Geraldine Roche wrote: “Well done to the Ascent and their mentors. It gave me so much hope to see so many young people at the conference. Amazing.”
‘Get on your faces and cry out’
Dr Maria Heath opened the day with an emphasis on mission and God’s love overflowing. She emphasised the importance of being open to the Spirit, and the prophetic was a key feature of the day.
Michelle Moran shared a powerful word about being open to God’s action in the present moment. She urged all gathered not to focus on history because God has so much for us now.
Bishop David Oakley gave an inspiring homily during Mass, encouraging those present to go and evangelise. He also encouraged a lifestyle of prayer. “Prayer doesn’t have to be difficult,” he said. “Just come before the Lord and let him love us.”
During an inspiring day, American speakers Deacon Larry Oney and his wife Andi exhorted the faithful to pray with passion and to repent. “Revival begins with repentance,” Deacon Larry said. “God will always accept a contrite heart. Get on your faces and cry out.”
After crying out to God, the couple led a powerful shout to the Lord, to break down the ‘walls of Jericho’ within.
Praise And Worship To The King
Praise and worship sessions were ably led by Fran McLean and her team of worshippers. They highlighted the importance of praising the Lord loud and long, singing such charismatic favourites as ‘Raise a Hallelujah’, ‘King of Kings’, and ‘The Goodness of God’, which became something of an anthem throughout the day.
A video was shown of Nicky Gumbel sharing with Dr Maria Heath about the importance of ecumenism, how the Church is exploding with growth around the world, and how CCR can play a vital part in revival and renewal.
Interspersed throughout the sessions were opportunities for networking and hearing testimonies of those in CCR-and how the fruits of the Spirit were evident in their lives, such as Em and Sammy Leakey, who gave a powerful witness to God working and moving in their ecumenical marriage.
A Generous Overflow Of Blessings
These testimonies were another highlight for Alison Rebello.
“I firmly believe that testimonies are the modern-day equivalent of stories and parables from the Bible, and they are the most potent tool for evangelisation in this day and age,” Alison said.
“The personal testimonies spread across the length of the day from various people, both in-person and through recorded video messages, gave us the impetus to keep connected with God through the lows and highs of life.”
“There certainly was a joyous and generous Overflow of blessings, as the theme rightly suggested, in terms of what we heard from Deacon Larry and his wife Andy from New Orleans. The number of “Amens” they wanted us to affirm, as they led the faithful who had turned up from all over the country, was phenomenal. The singing, praise, and worship provided much needed personal space to focus on God for our own good.”
As many reported feeling uplifted and moved by the day, the CNSC will now discern how to build on OVERFLOW and keep spreading the Gospel. Please pray for them.