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.
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.
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?