All Christians are on a journey of faith. Here are some personal stories of how people have come to faith and are continuing to grow in faith.
I was brought up in Langdon Hills, Essex, and for our family (my mum, dad, younger brother and I), church was a major part of our lives. As well as going to church on Sundays (sometimes morning and evening and Sunday School in the afternoon), I belonged to the Brownies and girls gym class; and I loved it. After all, it was where a lot of my friends were! There were many social activities connected with church and our family was part of most of them. As a teenager, my circle of friends was still mainly connected with church and we formed our own group which met after the evening service for a time of discussion on Christian things. We also went on holiday together and day trips too.
Ours was a Methodist Church and one year, when I was just 17, someone organised a coach to take all the teenagers from the Methodist Churches in the area to Cliff College, a Christian training college in Derbyshire, for their festival weekend. For the first time I was challenged to make my being part of church something more than a place to meet my friends and doing things I liked doing. I heard that the God I had been learning about since I was a small child wanted a relationship with me and I needed to make a response. The man on the platform said “Come to the front, if that’s you” but no way was I going to walk to the front with a whole lot of people watching me! But in my heart I said “yes” to God and so began for me the relationship which has developed over many years (I’m 73 now). I soon learnt, however, that one’s Christian faith cannot remain private as we are required to tell others about the love God has for us and how He sent His son Jesus to take the punishment which we deserved by dying on the cross for our sins. I have also learnt that I need to talk with Him in prayer on a regular basis and listen to Him speaking to me, usually in the quietness of my heart. This often happens when I read the Bible, but also sometimes with an audible voice and through pictures and visions.
I met my husband in Derbyshire at a Christian hotel, Willersley Castle, not knowing that we would eventually live in Derby. We began married life in Hampshire, and then moved to Kent, followed by a move to the Stenson Fields area of Derby (each time because of my husband’s job). Here I continued my faith journey as part of an ecumenical church. Over the years I have fulfilled various church leadership roles. We have 3 sons, all of whom are Christians. I was christened as a baby but when my sons were baptised by total immersion at the churches they attend, I realised that this was what I needed to do too and this took place four years ago.
Our youngest son lived with us until recently and because he purchased a house on Mackworth to be nearer his new job in another area of Derbyshire, we moved across town to Mackworth as well. We don’t have a car so we needed to find a church to be part of that we could walk to. We found St. Barnabas on the internet. After we found a house to move to, my husband and I went along to Barney’s morning service. Straight away God’s Holy Spirit witnessed to my spirit that this was to be our spiritual home when we moved house. We did, however, have to wait more than another 6 months before the move went through. Barney’s is so welcoming and we quickly made friends. At the time of writing we have been at St. Barnabas for a year and love being part of what goes on there; who knows where God will lead now...
I gave my life to the Lord through the christening of my children. We were living in Burton-on-Trent at the time. To have our child christened, we had to attend the church for a period of time, and a couple came from the church to talk to us about the christening but they also talked to us about Jesus and about having a personal relationship with him.
After that, I thought I was a Christian, but over time, I came to realise that I was not really and the Lord opened my heart to hear the message of salvation. I was invited to a men's breakfast and a guest speaker gave a talk and a powerful testimony of how he came to Jesus. At the end of the talk he asked if anyone would like to give their life to the Lord and he would pray a prayer for them to receive Jesus as Saviour. I realised then that I needed to give my life to Jesus, so I did and it was the best day of my life! I then went on to be filled with the Holy Spirit and was later baptised by full immersion.
Over the years I have grown in intimacy with Jesus, even when things have not been easy for me.
When I came to St Barnabas, I felt that this was the place for me and I was made most welcome sensing a real peace in my heart. This church feels like my home and my family.
I used to go to Sunday School as a child with my sister but stopped going when I was 15 years old. I never forgot about God and have prayed many times over the years that I didn’t attend church.
When I had my own children, we lived near to St Barnabas Church and they attended there for Rainbows and Brownies. One of my children wanted to know more about the Church so we started attending each Sunday. After a few years we moved from the area and stopped attending Church again.
After many years away from St Barnabas my daughter wanted to get her son Christened there. She invited me to go to St Barnabas with her. To my surprise my husband also wanted to come with us which was wonderful. We arrived there and were greeted by a very friendly and warm congregation. We recognised a lot of people that we knew from the previous visits years ago and it was lovely to catch up with everyone.
We now attend weekly with our children and grandchildren. Our weekly visits have renewed my faith and kept me strong through some difficult times. I am so glad that we came back to St Barnabas. We all feel part of the Church family now and could never imagine being away from it. We have a lot to thank God for.