After my apprenticeship as a blacksmith and farrier, I travelled Europe for seven months in a VW van with two other guys. This journey changed my life. Among other things, I experienced poverty first hand and, paradoxically, I discovered that God had a sense of humour.
When I returned, I decided I needed to do something more with my life than just sitting in the pub every night. I got involved in a school-based youth club and through the friendship of a couple of the leaders I came to experience and find faith in Jesus.
A few years later, I found myself employed full time as a youth worker for a Baptist church in Nottingham, which is where I met my wife. We ran a large youth group together, which developed a genuine sense of community and outward focus.
From there, we moved to Scarborough and focused on young people outside the church. We tried to meet the needs of these youngsters where they were, instead of attempting to bring them to us. During this time, we also took small groups of young people from Scarborough to Romania, where we ran summer camps for gypsy children.
Working with these young people helped me realise that I needed to look more closely at how we develop faith in others. By expecting them to attend church, and in so doing adopt ‘Christian’ culture, we were asking them to distance themselves from their own culture and friends. And then, strange as it now sounds, we were asking them to reach out to their old culture and friends, which they were now isolated from. We weren’t making disciples of Jesus. We were making Christian clones!
Following this, I returned to my work as a farrier. Now free from fundraising and meetings, I spend my time helping my clients explore a spirituality inspired by Jesus. This has been the most liberating expression of my faith so far.
This journey, this adventure of the soul, is my passion.
If you want to know more, check out our Q&A Marathon episode.