How do I live my life in Step with the Spirit?

Upward Challenge: Global Edition 2022 provided a setting where youth could explore the question, “How do I live my life in step with the Spirit?”

Upward Challenge is an event that focuses on introducing youth to the person of the Holy Spirit, encourages them to seek a deeper walk with Jesus Christ and nurtures a growing relationship with God the Father.

Normally this would involve a week-long camp at the Community of the Cross. But in a creative response to pandemic restrictions the work moved online over the past three summers and it went global. Titled Walkin’ In Step, the event this year had leaders, intercessors, and students from five different countries and spanned over seven time zones.

Afterwards we received enthusiastic feedback:

How sweet it is to see all these diverse people come together because they love the Lord and want to learn more.

I love that young people are learning what I only just learned in my 60’s. This is great news for all of us as we seek to advance the kingdom of God.

How do I live my life in step with the Spirit?

So here is the story from two of the event’s leaders, Ashley Patton and James Nicholson, telling how testimony, koinonia, worship, teaching and prayer combined to create a context where the Holy Spirit was welcome to move in sovereign power:

When the leadership team met to pray back in late April, we sensed the need to not teach a new curriculum but to offer a space for students to grow deeper and apply what they’ve been learning over the past few years.

The question that helped guide us in our theme was “How do I live my life in step with the Spirit?”

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We intentionally included testimonies that helped support the teaching from both our young leaders and our OWLS (older wiser leaders). These testimonies gave voice to how they have experienced the Holy Spirit working in and through them and revealed the true beauty of those “ah-ha” moments when something finally clicks! It was powerful to hear their stories. 

Figuring out how to play games online has taken some practice!

Thankfully, we have a few years under our belt and have some favorites.

The Game of Things always creates lots of laughs. It’s amazing to see how games draw us all together and help create a deep sense of community and fellowship. 

One of the benefits of hosting events online is the way it engages people who are more shy or quiet. Some don’t come on camera straight away, but when a question is put in the chat they are engaging well and participate in the activity.

It was great to see participants coming out of their shell across the weekend and engaging more fully in what the Holy Spirit was doing among us. 

This year worship leading was shared by James in the United Kingdom and Marcia in the United States. Our worship times drew us deeper into God’s presence and allowed him to speak to us as He desired. International leadership is so cool! 

Small group times were really powerful this year. Our teachers provided us with questions to be considered during small group time. Our small group leaders did an amazing job at offering a safe place for students to ask questions and grapple with the teaching content. The fellowship shared in these groups was so special and we continue to hear life-changing stories from this time! 

One of the things that the team is particularly grateful for this year was our amazing team of intercessors. We were COVERED in prayer. Shortly after the event team was formed we also had intercession cover over us. This was key during the planning stages of the event and we were greatly encouraged through what the Holy Spirit spoke over us that was revealed through our prayer warriors.

We were blessed at the event to have so many intercessors joining us no matter what time of day it was for them. Their presence was truly felt and their prayers were vital in enabling this event to happen successfully. 

Impact Made through Upward Challenge

After the event we asked our participants “Could you tell us something that God did in your life or something that he said to you at Upward Challenge this year?” we heard this:

Deeper understanding of Holy Spirit as a person and a desire/commitment to talk to Him more and cultivate my relationship with Him!

Constantly learning to see the moves of Holy Spirit.

He helped me to recognize that the Holy Spirit is someone that I can talk and spend time with.

We have another Upward Challenge Global event planned for Saturday, September 17, 2022. We look forward to gathering our global family once again!

To God be the Glory!

It is only through the grace and love of God that we were able to make this weekend happen. We thank you for your financial support, your encouragement, and your prayers.

We never do these things alone, and we were reminded of that time and time again. Our love for God (and for one another) continues to get deeper and deeper. How good it is to know we will never find the end of His love.

It’s always deeper than we think. 

Ashley Patton and James Nicholson


Ashley is the Youth and Young Adults Coordinator for Dunamis Fellowship Canada, and James is a member of the Leadership Team for the Dunamis Fellowship in Britain & Ireland.

If you are interested in learning more about Upward Challenge and our Youth and Young Adults work, contact Ashley Patton, at ashley@dfcanada.org

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