I got back last night from Spring Harvest, 19 years since I last went, and 55,000 people went this year. So some thoughts in the order they occur the me.
1. Diversity:Over my 20 years as a christian, I have had the choice of reformed events at places like Swanwick, mainstream evangelical at Spring Harvest, more charismatic at New Wine/Soul Survivor, and something alternative at Greenbelt. And there are so many more options. And Spring Harvest had so many options, it took me two days to get my head around where to go and what to do.
Despite that diversity, I am so fussy and self centered. My ideal personalized event would include, early morning prayers with liturgy, morning discussions over theology and fresh coffee, then an afternoon of visiting art galleries and museums, then an evening of a hog roast dinner, and David Crowder late night worship, with a really late night cafe and theology discussion. Thanks goodness most christians aren't like me ;-)
2. Depth:Spring Harvest took 55,000 people through multiple streams, with a theme that included, understanding creation and spirituality, holistic mission, social justice and engagement with the world. I have never ever, seen something so daring, so deep and bold with so many people. The balance of content and delivery in multiple spaces and multiple ways was superb.
3. Identity:The main reason I went was for my kids, who got to make new friends, be with current friends, go to concerts, wear t-shirts, make stuff, pray, sing, create, and experience God together. In a country where they hardly every see other christians, it was very enabling for them. And wonderful for us to talk about what they were learning and experiencing.
4. Mission:My eldest daughter came back from a seminar, about human trafficking, and was so moved, she wants to do something with her school, and is planning a presentation to her head-teacher, and for her age group at church. So cool to see a christian event connecting intimacy with God and involvement in real mission.
5. Celebrity:There always has been and will always be christians who are well known. The issue for me is not whether we have celebrities, but what kind? I like the fact that Spring Harvest did not advertise the speakers and worship leaders in advance.