The Firewire zone at this year’s New Wine Festival lived up to its name, with teenagers pressing in to the presence of God with inspiring passion. Ella Young, from our AYM houses and youth pastor with our Tawa-Linden parish whānau, was one of about 20 leaders in the zone and she came home from the festival with no voice – but absolutely “energised” and “expectant for our youth,” saying that the festival was full of “beautiful moments where [our teenagers] could go deeper with God.”
The festival runs age-based zones every year, and again this year, our diocesan youth co-ordinators Luke and Amilie Paynter led the team that planned and ran the Firewire zone for teenagers. Ella tells us that each session often started with some fairly crazy and energetic games “to wear out the teens” but went on to long sessions of worship, where “the Holy Spirit just kept showing up!” Much like the adult zone, Firewire had key speakers at each session but often followed each speaker with either panel discussions or small group chats, facilitated by leaders who circulated throughout the room, providing support for those who needed to talk about the “hard stuff.”
“It was inspiring how passionate everyone was. At some camps you have to build up to that place of vulnerability where the Holy Spirit can move, but at New Wine, we just start there. I was praying for someone and I turned around and my whole youth group were on their knees in prayer. One of them asked me to pray with them that they would love Jesus more,” Ella shares.
And the Holy Spirit certainly moved – zone leader Luke Paynter tells us there were several healings that occurred throughout the festival, and it was clearly evident that attendees were able to go deeper and more intimate with their God. “Even now, the guys in the AYM houses are getting messages of thanks from other guys who attended the camp, saying ‘you changed my life!’”
With such a powerful and busy weekend, it’s a wonder Ella and her peers aren’t exhausted from the experience. “We’re 100% serving. I was shattered but I was enegergised – I’m really expectant for our youth, and feeling so filled,” she says. It’s a high challenge life, but she says she can do it because of the fantastic support she receives as part of the AYM community. “There is a revolving door of nurture – we’ve got constant back up from Luke and Amilie. There’s so much love and space in the AYM houses. We have the capacity to give because we get so much support.”
Seeing this crew serve at New Wine, and seeing God move so mightily is a fantastic encouragement to us all. Ella says: “we all do life together – we’re in the trenches together. We are holding each other’s wins and losses.” Through such solid community, we can all see what it truly means to lean into being family together.
Watch this video from AYM’s John Setter, documenting the fun and festivities at New Wine, and in this year’s Firewire zone: