Joel Preston, director of evangelism and mission at Youth for Christ UK, shares the vision for this year’s Youth Evangelism Conference.

Wow! That’s so weird! It’s like… it’s all sort of… gone!” This is what Matt told me as we were praying together. He, a 14-year-old boy, had just said he’d like to become a Christian and get to know Jesus for the first time. I, the local youth worker, was the one who had the privilege to take that step with him.

What’s gone?” I asked him, hoping to make sense of his out-of-context claim. Just… like… the stuff that was kinda weighing me down. I just feel really… peaceful and… kinda happy.”


Matt’s encounter with the Holy Spirit changed his life. He was a different person from that moment on. The common struggles of being a teenager in today’s world seemed to have fallen off, and he had a new-found excitement and resilience for tackling what life may throw at him.

He isn’t alone. In our society, where teenagers are facing increasing anxiety, feelings of isolation and poor mental health, our young people need the life in all its fullness that Jesus offers.

At Youth for Christ, we’re all about seeing young people’s lives changed by Jesus and so we partner with a number of other brilliant organisations to run the Youth Evangelism Conference. The YEC’, as it’s known, exists to inspire and equip leaders to reach young people. We at Youth for Christ work alongside partners from the Evangelical Alliance, Scripture Union, Pais Movement, the Church of England and Youth Alpha to make this a reality.

This year we will meet in over the next couple of months in two locations: Cambridge (on Saturday, 23 February) and Preston (on Saturday, 23 March). 

Our theme is #HereAndNow, and we will explore how we communicate the timeless truth of the gospel with a post-secular, digital generation. We will be joined by keynote speakers including Gavin Calver, director of mission at the Evangelical Alliance, and teenage evangelists, who will share their insights and wisdom on how to reach their generation. 

We will have the option of eight seminars to choose from, each equipping us in our work to see young people meet with Jesus for the first time. There will also be opportunities to meet others who are committed to making Jesus known among teenagers and hear how they are making a difference in the lives of young people.

Matt’s experience was life-changing. His experience of meeting Jesus meant he couldn’t help but tell others about who he found. I believe this is how we will change our country, by people telling people about the love of Jesus and enabling a direct encounter with Him. 

The Evangelical Alliance are really excited to be partnering with Youth for Christ, Alpha, The Church of England, HOPE, Pais, and Scripture Union and the Evangelical Alliance. Join us at this year’s Youth Evangelism Conference to play your part in shaping a generation.