As the Christian festival season draws to a close, Emma Fowle reflects on how to keep those fires of faith burning bright when you return to the real world of work, school, laundry and normal, everyday church

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Source: Creation Fest

It is just over a week since Creation Fest came to an end and I staggered home, exhausted, after another four days which I would (again) describe as some of the best, most challenging, tiring and yet inspiring of my life.

I’ve been involved in this thing that pops up, against all odds it seems, in a field in Cornwall for almost 15 years. I am deeply passionate about the role that Christian summer festivals can play in the lives of individuals – especially young people – as a place where they can find community, encouragement and a thin place; where they can hear from some of the best and most gifted preachers, teachers and evangelists who carry an anointing and bring something of God’s prophetic voice to us.

We can’t live in the hype, but we should eagerly desire the presence of God

Yet, there’s no denying that coming home can be hard. Leaving the Christian bubble can be a real shock to the system, and it’s easy to slide into disillusionment. Before you know it, all those good intentions to read your Bible more and be bolder in your faith disappear, leaving you wondering if all the hype was really real…

So here’s five top tips on how to beat the post-festival blues and keep those important rhythms of faith going all year round.

1. Recognise the fight

We live in a world of good and evil. The Bible tells us that Satan comes “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10) – and this includes the spiritual growth that occurs any time we draw close to God.

Festivals are often places where we experience profound encounters with God – we are prayed for, receive healing, words of prophecy, renew our faith commitment or receive fresh revelation that inspires us to live a more Christ-like life. We should not be surprised that the devil does not like this and we encounter spiritual attack when we return home. But forewarned is forearmed, as they say. Be prepared, put on the full armour of God and resist the enemy, “standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9).

2. Establish spiritual rhythms

Part of resisting the enemy comes by following the example of Jesus, who took time out to be alone with God, spoke to him often in prayer and knew his scriptures well, using them to fend off Satan’s temptations in the wilderness.

When we’re at a Christian festival and away from the distractions of everyday life, it is easy to make time for Bible reading, prayer and worship. But when we get home, we know that this can feel much harder. It’s why Creation Fest chose ‘Rhythms of Faith’ as their theme this year. Make a plan to prioritise continuing in these healthy spiritual routines: set a time to pray and worship, arrange to meet a friend for Bible study, or download an app such as Lectio 365 or Bible in One Year.

3. Stay connected

One of the things that makes festivals such a powerful spiritual experience is that you’re surrounded by a large number of other Christians. 

The Bible calls us “the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12) for a reason. Coming together in large numbers is helpful for our own faith, but we also have a vital role to play in being Jesus to one another in smaller settings. 

God has given us gifts and talents “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (v13). In Hebrews 10:25, we are told not to “give up meeting together” but to “encourage one another”. Staying connected helps us not to feel alone, so make sure you stay plugged into a local church or Christian community. There probably won’t be as many people as there were in that field last week, but it’s no less important or significant. 

4. Be thankful

It is easy to return home to our much smaller churches and miss what the big festival experience gives us. The flashy lights and international bands and speakers can make our often volunteer-led Sunday experience feel less than. We might miss being surrounded by people our own age or the enthusiasm and excitement of the crowd. All too often, these feelings can turn into disillusionment, bitterness and even resentment.

Festivals are often places where we experience profound encounters with God. We should not be surprised that the enemy does not like this

The best antidote to this is thankfulness. Practise gratitude towards the church leader who faithfully ministers to you week in and week out, the worship leaders who juggle set lists with their full-time jobs, and the church community that supports and loves you all year round by praying for them regularly.

Instead of feeling ungrateful about what your local church is not, remind yourself that we have the tremendous privilege of being able to safely meet together. Our brothers and sisters around the world often face imprisonment, torture or even death for doing the same. A fresh perspective will guard your heart and stop you spiralling into disappointment.

5. Don’t believe the hype, but do celebrate the good

Festivals are often accused of being an unreal environment where religious experience is hyped up and the crowd whipped into a frenzy of unrealistic emotion that naturally dissipates when exposed to the cold, hard light of day.

We can’t live in the hype, but we should celebrate the life-changing encounters with God that do happen at festivals across the UK.

Here are just two examples. Last year, a young man had hit rock bottom in his life. He Googled “Christian festival UK” and found Creation Fest. He arrived on site, became a Christian and was baptised. He then got plugged into a local church and returned this year to testify to how his life has been changed by knowing God. The other story is from six years ago, when a young woman came simply to say goodbye to a friend, intending to end her life later that evening. Instead she encountered Jesus in the prayer tent and was miraculously set free from the depression and anxiety that held her captive.

When the music fades and we return home, it is good to remember what God has done. Make time to reflect on any experience you had of God - words you were given, pictures you received or promises you made. Write them down and continue to pray into and over them. Don’t believe the hype – but don’t dismiss the miraculous either. What God did – and is doing – is real. All year round.