The Catalyst Festival is way more than the main meetings – there’s a whole load of other stuff going on and people involved. Here we chat to Ben from the Catalyst Youth team. 


Hi Ben – tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Ben Rowe, one of the elders at KCC Southampton. I oversee youth work, students and Sundays and love it all. I’m overseeing the youth work at Catalyst Festival and will be preaching on the last evening in the youth venue.


You were involved last year as well – what was your highlight?

There was a moment in a time of worship where a song started spontaneously and loads of young people fell to their knees singing! It was amazing to be in such a moment where God was so powerfully meeting with young people – loved it!


Sounds amazing! What’s in store for this year – any big changes or surprises?

This year is jam-packed full of great stuff for the young people. We want to be part of the festival much more so we are joining the adult meeting for Mike Pilavachi’s first sermon. Also, the seminars rather than being age-specific are going to be much more focussed around practical workshops. So we’re really excited about encouraging young people in their specific passions to glorify God and extend his kingdom.


You’ve been a youth leader for a while – what’s your funniest moment been?

Hmmm that’s a tough one – so many, it’s such a great job! You get paid to have fun with young people!

I took one of our young guys and a couple of leaders to Ukraine last year. I had no idea where the conference was or where we were staying. On arrival we were told we were camping, which was quite funny watching the girls faces, but it got funnier!

After a few hours in the back of a car in the middle of the night we got out amongst a few small huts on the side of a mountain. Tom (17) and I were then put in the back of and old lorry with a load of camping equipment, speakers and guitars. The doors shut and we sat in the pitch black with equipment getting thrown all over us as the lorry went up this mountain even higher. We had no idea where we were, where we were going or if we would make it! I had to laugh as Tom kept asking me was this normal for an international trip and did I know where we were going!!! Nope, but its all for the kingdom!


Epic! One last thing – how does Catalyst Youth fit alongside what the Newday guys are doing?

Newday is a fantastic event and as a few of us are part of the Newday team so really value and appreciate what it has and is achieving in the nation and beyond. There are elements that we would want to use from such events but the Festival needs to serve young people in its own way through the people that are part of Catalyst. Inevitably then it will look different to Newday and of course feel different because of the festival style. The bottom line is that we want young people to get excited for Jesus and realise the extravagant love He has for them and that living for Him is a privilege and the greatest adventure on offer.

By Karen Kircher

Karen Kircher

Since leaving the water industry in 2000, Karen has enjoyed working as a consultant in the areas of leadership and organisational development, establishing Leading Leaders in 2007.