Drawn to Christ
As a 15-year-old growing up in the city of Coventry, I had one focus in life — cycling was my passion. Every day I would be out with the local cycling club, training or involved with time trials. I was not really that good but I just loved the sport.
So it came as a surprise when a good friend of mine invited me along to her church youth group. I politely declined. I had never even considered whether there was a God or not and I had no concept as to what a Christian might be.
My friend, however, persisted and eventually found a key to get me along. It was Christmas time and another interest had started to develop in my experience. She told me that there were some nice girls there, and so I agreed to go along to the Christmas party!
My friend was right. There were some really attractive girls at the party and it was no real difficulty to be there. I still had no concept of what Christianity was about and there was no epilogue to conclude the party, but I was impressed by something that night that caused me to want to go again.
There was a lad three years older than me who, at the end of the party, invited me to follow him. Dutifully I followed, because there was something about him that fascinated me.
He led me into the kitchen, threw a tea towel to me and told me that he and I were doing the washing up. I might have thought this would have put me off church for life.
After all, whoever heard of a 15-year-old voluntarily washing up? But Ian (the young man) was so much fun that I was impressed by his character and it seemed only natural to agree to attend the next young people’s meeting.
I went along on the first Wednesday of the New Year to the meeting, where a man called Dave led what to me seemed like a church service. The meeting consisted of singing a few ‘choruses’, a Bible reading, and then Dave spoke about Jesus from the Bible.
This was the very first time that I had been confronted with religion and I remember thinking to myself, ‘Why do I need religion?’ But that thought was thrown into confusion by Ian, who clearly had got it!
I became a regular attender and I confess that I really did enjoy all that went on there. The message from the front seemed to make sense and Ian seemed to me to be living proof of all that was being taught.
Deep inside, I knew that I did not have what was being ‘preached’ and that I wanted it. It was at an inter-church meeting in Rugby, when an older man spoke about the need for personal salvation, that God the Holy Spirit convicted me of the sin within me.
I was in a state of confusion and unhappiness for a few months. Was I one of those who had rejected the gospel? Would the Lord ever offer it to me again? These thoughts were my constant companion.
But then an evangelist called Arthur Dean came to take a special youth weekend and after the evening service spoke directly to the youth group. He asked each one in turn to give testimony to salvation in Christ.
I was towards the back of the meeting and was urgently trying to think of what to say. When my turn came, I could do no more than say that I was not a Christian.
What came next surprised me: the speaker asked me if I wanted to be a Christian. At that moment, the challenge that I had felt in Rugby returned and so I said with great conviction that I did.
I went into another room with a leader and prayed and received Christ as my Saviour. My sin was dealt with. My heart was relieved of its burden and I was saved! God had given me his salvation as a gift of his grace.
That was a long time ago. Many things have passed under the bridge, and now I am pastor of a church in Ogmore-by-Sea.