In two days, I’ll be flying to Singapore where I’ll have the privilege of being able to focus on studying. I’m hugely grateful for the opportunity, but naturally a little sad to be leaving the church that I’ve called home for the last six years. I’ve given my all for this local church – for this small expression of the global movement in which God is doing some truly spectacular things. God, indeed, is not dead. Someone asked me why I was so ‘into’ the church the other day and I think all I can do in response to that question is highlight, purely selfishly, what Kerith Community Church has done for me as a person in the last six years:
I am a better friend
I have experienced true friendship in a way that I’m not sure I ever had before. My friends love me for who I am, not what I can offer them; they’ve taught me to do the same. My friends go the extra mile to show me encouragement, support, loyalty and patience even when I don’t deserve it; they’re teaching me to do the same. They’ve taught me that no one is fundamentally bad; rather, they are simply good people who make mistakes sometimes. I used to have a deep mistrust in people. My friends have shown me that people are worth taking a chance on.
I am more skilled
I arrived as a musician. I’ve learnt so much about recording, graphic design, leadership, teaching, video editing, touring, songwriting, theology, communication and many more skills besides.
I will be a better husband
I’ve learnt so much about how to relate to people; in particular, how to build a loving, honouring, trusting relationship. There are so many couples in our church whose relationships totally inspire me. As a result of my time as Kerith and the stunning examples around me, I will be ten times the man I would have been for my future wife. That’s genuinely life-changing!
I will be a better parent
When I first came to Kerith, I was thoroughly uninterested in working with anyone under the age of 16. Working with Ethos, the youth band at the time was a stretch. Working with Revolution, the even younger youth band was a struggle. Every rehearsal for weeks, I’d leave with a headache. Slowly, I began to feel a real passion for young people – the opportunity to contribute to a young person realizing the immense potential that is inside each and every one of them is a staggeringly exciting prospect that I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about now if I tried!
In the earlier years at Kerith, I also tried my hand at babysitting –
I figured I’d have to get good at looking after children at some point! I distinctly remember people laughing at me about it; they just couldn’t imagine me with children. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with every age group at church and got to lead the 5-11s group a number of times…I love it! In fact, on the day I return from Singapore I’ll be heading straight to the ‘New Wine’ conference to lead worship for hundreds of 3 and 4 year olds. What a shift!
In fact, one of the most heart-warming moments of the last few weeks was saying goodbye to two of the children who ran up to me and gave me a big hug. How cute is that?! I couldn’t imagine looking after children/young people before I came to Kerith – now I’m really looking forward to having my own (although I must admit that I’m not in any great hurry)! I’m so grateful to Kerith for all I’ve learnt about parenting from the incredible opportunities and countless brilliant parents that have taught me so much.
I am a Christian
Of course, I am so grateful to Kerith for providing the environment in which I could encounter God for the first time. I was a pretty staunch atheist when I first set foot inside the Kerith Centre. Slowly, I began to realise that God was not as ridiculous a concept as I had thought it to be. Believing in God didn’t mean renouncing science and better yet, I could have a personal relationship with him. I chose to follow Jesus in 2008 and since then, he has thoroughly transformed me from the inside out. I am grateful that He leads and directs me, comforts and sustains me. I am proud to say that God is all I need and as I start this new season of adventures, it is solely in pursuit of Him, nothing more.
How could I not be passionate about a place that has been so influential to the last six years of my life? For every person that has impacted my time at Kerith, whether great or small, thank you so much. I really will never forget it!
(P.S. If you’ve never been to Kerith Community Church before, I thoroughly recommend going along on a Sunday to take a look. You’ll be so welcomed! Click here for Kerith’s website)