“God has taught me so much about the ways in which I can worship him,” said Abi from El Salvador. “I have decided to praise God with everything I do in my daily life of sharing my talents to glorify his name.“ This is one bit of feedback of many teenagers around the world who took part at TeenStreet.Life – the online version of OMs teenager event TeenStreet (TS) that normally takes place every year in a large conference hall in Germany, with over 4000 participants from all over Europe.
This year, the coronavirus changed the formula. From 4 to 8 August 2020, over 80 groups from 44 countries – from El Salvador to Pakistan and from South Africa to Finland – took part in this special TS. They met in houses and churches, slept on floors or in tents and spent the week in their small groups with up to 40 people.
The theme, “Curious?“ was based on questions Jesus asked in the New Testament. Main speakers Rachel and Rich Hendrikson (USA/France) and Aaron Lewis (UK/Spain) compared people’s lives with a house and asked the question: “How would you react, if Jesus knocks at your door and wants to move into your house?“ Different rooms stood for different topics of people’s lives: the bathroom for identity in Christ, the living room for living 365 days for Christ, the basement for the valleys of life and the bedroom for pausing activities and the usage of phones.
The programme was summed up with seminars and workshops on the TeenStreet.Life platform, the worship sessions called Throne Room, the opportunity to take place at the sponsor race RAG (raise and give), ideas for outreaches and much more.
Even though the online programme did end after four days, TS Life will continue 365 days a year. “We want to offer resources to small groups around the world, without taking away the responsibility of the churches,“ shared Ewout van Oosten, director of TS International. “We don’t want to go from event to event but take it as a catalytic start for a movement.”
Even though TeenStreet Life is still in a concept stage and needs evaluation, there are important values to pass on to the teenagers. “We want them to grow as Jesus followers and become active members of a vibrant community where they can grow,” said Ewout. “It’s important that teenagers understand who the least reached are and how they can reach out to them with their young lives.”