I don’t come from a church going family and in growing up had little to do with the church and very little understanding regarding what Christians believed (although I thought I knew!).
Whilst at University I started arguing with Christians to show them the error of their ways, to my total surprise I came to the conclusion that they were right and I was wrong. I had discovered the truth about Jesus. As all this was going on, my contact with the church was minimal. It was a great surprise to be told that part of the Jesus package was church. I played rugby on Sundays, why would I want to swap that for going to a church service?
My experience of the love of God led me to make the sacrifice and I began to worship Him with other believers on a Sunday. I quickly realised that there was a big gulf between church people, most of whom had been brought up in a church environment and myself, for whom it was all so new.
Many years later, when I felt called by God to lead a church I was reminded of those early experiences. I recognised that part of my calling was to equip the church to help those who have not been brought up within a church community to discover the truth about Jesus and to become part of such a community.
This series of blogs is my way of communicating lessons that I have learnt over the last 20 years of leading churches and seeking to do this.
Written By Tony Thompson
Tony is the leader of Hope Church Luton. He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.