Despite the dire statistics around church attendance in the UK, stories of God working miracles are proliferating, especially among young people. Emma Fowle is joined by four ministry leaders to discuss what’s going on

We are often told that church attendance is in terminal decline and Gen Z are missing from our congregations. One-third of Anglican churches have zero young people in them, for example. 

Yet there is another, far more positive story – one which doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. 

In February 2023, thousands of people descended upon Asbury University in Kentucky, USA, to experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit among the student population. It lasted for 16 days, and countless lives were transformed. Since then, reports of a spiritual awakening, particularly among young people, have been pouring in. Jennie Allen, author, speaker and organiser of Gather25, has spoken at multiple university events across the US this year. Posting pictures of ecstatic teens on social media, she recently wrote of “thousands of students gathering and hundreds publicly accepting Christ and being baptised”.

“We know in our bones this is a move of God…I believe we are watching the beginnings of the next great awakening”, she added.

Closer to home, Pete Greig, founder of 24-7 Prayer, shared a “snapshot” of “something wonderful” stirring across the UK over the Pentecost weekend. On the Friday, hundreds of young people prayed through the night at Saint Church, Hackney. On Saturday, thousands gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to hear evangelist Daniel Chand preach the gospel. And on the Sunday, so many people gave their lives to Christ at St Aldates, Oxford, that they ran out of Bibles and new believer packs. In a line reminiscent of revivals of old, their rector, Rev Stephen Foster, said the numbers of people responding to God “broke their systems”. 

In response to these stories, Greig expressed a sentiment that will resonate with many: while we do not wish to create artificial hype, neither do we want to miss what God is doing or fail to give him the rightful glory. Many – like Greig – have been praying for a move of God in the UK for years. Are we finally seeing some answers?

I sat down with four Christian leaders who are passionate about prayer, revival and young people, to hear their stories. In doing so, I discovered why they’ve been so encouraged to contend for a new move of God among the next generation. 

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TL: Jamie Price (JP) works with Limitless, the youth and children’s arm of Elim churches UK. TR: Josh Green (JG) is the youth director for 24/7 Prayer and Wildfires festival. BL Susie Aldridge (SA) heads up Dreaming the Impossible (DTI), the youth ministry of Vineyard churches UK and Ireland. BR: Zeke Rink (ZR) has been involved in youth work for over 15 years. He works alongside Susie to lead DTI

Emma Fowle (EF): What stories can you share about how God is moving among the next generation? 

Zeke Rink (ZR): We had a young girl come to [Vineyard’s summer youth festival] Dreaming the Impossible (DTI) who had tried to take her own life. She was in a wheelchair with multiple breaks in her legs. She was loosely connected with a church, but she had been bullied and made fun of at school. At the festival, God gave her a vision of a horse coming towards her with the same scars that she had on her legs. She felt the Lord was calling her to stand in worship, but she couldn’t stand on her own, so her youth group lifted her and held her up as she worshipped the Lord. A few months later, she was still struggling to walk, so she asked the Lord to help her. She walked across her room! Now, she’s walking again. 

It’s bonkers. Literally just out of the book of Acts!

Jamie Price (JP): At [Elim’s summer youth festival] Limitless, there was a Ukrainian girl listening to Tim [Alford] speak on the first night. At the end, he gave an altar call, and she turned around and said: “I‘m gonna go give my life to Jesus.” There was no translation, yet she heard the whole of the preach in her own language. It’s bonkers. Literally just out of the book of Acts!

Susie Aldridge (SA): What excites me the most is not necessarily what happens in a moment. It‘s the stories of young people getting baptised, being part of the local church, being discipled. On Sunday, a young person said to me: “Susie, for the last five years I’ve been in and out of hospital [for mental health reasons].” Her sister, who’d recently come back to faith, told her: “The only place I’ve found authentic peace is in the presence of God, so you‘ve got to come to church.” She was dragged along, somebody prayed for her and she said: “I encountered peace for the first time in five years, and that peace hasn’t left.” Now, she wants to get baptised. In those moments, you see God do things that blow your mind.

EF: You’re all coming together to organise a large-scale national youth day of prayer this September. Prayer meetings aren’t always an easy sell for teenagers though, are they? What’s changed? 

SA: We saw a hunger in the young people at last summer’s festival like we’ve never seen before. It wasn’t around the stuff you‘d expect – the sports and fun stuff – but around the presence of God. 

There was one night when we were singing ‘Nothing else’: “Nothing else will do / I just want you…” it wasn’t led by the band; it just came up from the room. For almost ten minutes, the young people sang that song. On another night, the meeting had already been going on for a couple of hours but we really felt led to continue, so we said: “Look, go get a drink, go to the toilet, take a break. Those of you who want to, we are going to pray and intercede.” We didn’t know how many would come back, but thousands did. It went on for hours, with young people praying gut prayers of repentance and intercession. It was unbelievable. 

ZR: You can do youth ministry in a certain way – missional models, attractional models – but when 1,500 to 2,000 young people came back to pray, we realised: we need to believe that this generation is hungry and take this more seriously. The Bible tells us that Josiah was just 8 years old when he became king of Judah, and he brought reform to the people of God [see 2 Chronicles 34]. 

This generation is really passionate about Jesus

I’ve been blown away by the seriousness of these young people’s prayers – crying out to God on behalf of their friends. At one event, we couldn’t really stop the worship to get into the talk, and then we couldn’t really stop it at the end. We need the teaching, the guided ministry, the Bible study, but there is just something going on in young people. They’re like: “Well, I’ve already prayed for my mate, and he’s got healed”; “I’ve already led this person to the Lord.” We’re just catching up!

Josh Green (JG): My pastor says: “I’m not really passionate about prayer, but I am passionate about Jesus. And when I pray, I connect with him.” This generation is really passionate about Jesus. They live in a generation that calls for justice, and Jesus was that person. They live in a generation that’s crying out for love, and Jesus came as an expression of God’s love. They’re a generation crying out for truth, and Jesus came as a herald of truth. 

As the darkness gets darker, the light is becoming brighter. I think Jesus is just becoming more and more compelling. That is why we’re seeing extraordinary things. Limitless and 24/7 Prayer just partnered on a tour across the nation, and one night, 620 young people showed up to a prayer meeting in Birmingham! Getting six teenagers to show up to pray is a miracle in my book. It feels like God is doing something. 

EF: Do you think we’ve put too much emphasis on attractional youth work – using gimmicks to get young people into our churches – to the detriment of serious teaching around holiness, repentance and experiencing the presence of God?

JG: I think there has been a very clear coming away from cookie-cutter fluff. Zeke mentioned Josiah; before Josiah brought reform to the people of God, Hilkiah the priest rediscovered the book of the law hidden under the rubble [of the temple] and passed it to Josiah. 

As the darkness gets darker, the light is becoming  brighter

Bringing the word to the next generation is stirring [a longing] for presence-focused meetings rather than celebrity pastors or performances. The Bible says that: “in his presence is fullness of joy” [Psalm 16:11, NKJV]. 


EF: Some of these stories are taking place outside of Christian meetings. Does that encourage you?

ZR: A lot of people have a framework that God only really moves when we gather. But God moves where we’re willing to go. We hear young people say: “I know I want to gather my friends and I want to get out and share the gospel.” And they’re finding ways to do that outside the four walls of the church. 

JG: The Holy Spirit is the best evangelist. [Bible teacher] Joy Dawson says: “Anything not born in prayer is born in pride.” In the Western world, we run our churches like businesses; we have models, structures, strategies – there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when it comes to safeguarding and employment law etc – but I wonder whether, sometimes, we’re overcompensating for a lack of power. 

Jesus said: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” [Mark 11:17]. The Church started out as a prayer meeting. They were praying in the upper room, then the power came, then they went out. Private prayer brings public power. When we look at the statistics, we can think: It’s so bad! That is not a great motivator to pray. But when we pray, seek God’s face and turn from our “wicked ways”, as 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, God’s going to do it. 


The national youth day of prayer will take place on Saturday 21 September at Trent Vineyard, Nottingham. For more information and tickets see