I met a woman over a drink // Ben’s story

I met a woman over a drink // Ben’s story

In January 2000, I met a woman in a bar. She asked me a question:

‘Do you believe in God?’

I didn’t know who God was, who he is. Now that’s where the journey started.

 

Despite being brought up in a Christian home, church didn’t play a key role in my life. In my teenage years I developed a passion for DJ-ing, and that culture led to desiring women, money and material things. When leaving for university came around, my craving was to feed those things as much as possible; I found my value in them.

 

In 1999, three things happened that challenged my worth:

My grandmother – the foundation of our family and a strong Christian woman – died. My dad’s designer clothing business failed. I came out of university with high hopes of a well-paid job, but ended up unemployed.

 

The combination of these events meant I fell on a downward spiral. My drinking and womanising got out of control, even though I knew I found no satisfaction in them. I was in a dark place, and, looking back on it, I now realise I was depressed.

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That’s when I met the woman in a bar. It was a bit of an unusual chat-up line. I said, Hello and she said ‘Do you believe in God?’. I replied ‘Yeah, kind of…’ She said she didn’t know what she believed but had started to investigate Christianity.

 

The mother of the woman I met in the bar had just completed the Alpha course and we decided to give it a go . The week before, I attended a service to suss it out, check they weren’t all mad, and this gave me the confidence to go along.

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I’m quite an evidence based person, and during the course we started to understand the evidence around the life of Jesus. I began to realise the perspective I’d grown up with wasn’t just my family’s point-of-view – but there was also substance to it.

Through a mixture of faith and reason, I started to work out that my security, significance and assurance is in Jesus and not the things of this world.

 

Billie is the name of the woman I met in that bar. We were baptised together on 21 May 2001 and married on 6 September 2003. I thank God every day I am adopted into his family, that he has blessed me with a beautiful family of my own, and that he has my heart.

 

After trying Alpha, we got involved in helping to run it, and led a table of people just like us who were there to find out more about the Christian faith. In 2008, we had the chance to be part starting a church, Emmanuel, in Greenwich, where I grew up. Last year we launched Emmanuel New Cross – a new church in the area – where we currently run our Alpha in a cycle-café called London Velo.

 

To someone thinking about exploring faith or trying Alpha I’d say: you’ve got nothing to lose. Either it’s not real, but you’ve gone, had a nice time and you can leave – or, there’s a chance it’s real and there is a God who loves us, then, why would you miss out on that?

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