TeenStreet began in a pizza place in the Netherlands, in September 1992. Four people sat around eating pizza and dreamed of an international conference for teens.
Founders Dan and Suzie Potter explained, "We gave it the name ‘TeenStreet’ because the whole purpose was to give teens a street to travel upon . . . a way to go or live."
After much prayer and planning, the first TeenStreet took place in the summer of 1993 when 56 people met in Offenburg, Germany. The theme was "Living in an upside down world".
Ali was 15 years at the time. She recalls, "TeenStreet was an unknown camp for Christian teens from around in Europe. I arrived in a big hall … all of TeenStreet was in one building. Everything was done in a creative way and it was so much fun! I was touched when hearing stories of people not much older than myself and how God was using them. I really feel like it was a turning point in my relationship with God and my decision to live more fully for Him."
TeenStreet grew rapidly. In 1997 over 1000 people took part and in 2000 the number of participants topped 2000. Since 2003 there have been between 3300 and 3900 people attending the conference. For the first time in 2013, around 4,400 participants from 45 nations came to TeenStreet.
Some of the most popular themes include "Image" in 2000, "Secrets Revealed" in 2003 and "psXXIII" in 2010 (exploring the life of David).
Until 2006 Dan and Suzie were responsible for the TeenStreet Germany programme. For them it was the “best and hardest times of our lives. God trusted us, and OM, with something much bigger than any of us. He could have given His dream to anyone, but He chose us and we pray that we are always faithful to his call.“
And they remember a radical experience at TeenStreet 2002, “We called young people to make a difference in their world. We now meet hundreds of people who stood up in that particular meeting, who lived that choice and today they are serving all over the world.“
In 2007 Irish-American couple Josh and Debs Walker took over the responsibility for the Main Hall programme at TeenStreet Germany. The two of them had been attending TeenStreet since the second congress.
They started out helping with the sports team and with interviews. Later they worked together with Dan and Suzie to plan the main meetings. Their heartbeat for TeenStreet and the teenagers is “to see teenagers reaching others, taking over responsibility, who know and live their gifts and become the ones God wants them to be.”