How I Came To Faith – Ben’s Story

My entire family are Christians, and so, whether they were strong in their faith or not, I grew up always surrounded by people who knew Jesus. As a result, from a young age, I’d heard all the famous Bible stories and I’d had lots of Christian input and guidance offered to me in my life. Looking back, I now see that this was an amazing blessing and one that not many people get to have, but as a child it was all I knew, and so it just seemed normal.

However, whilst I knew and followed the ‘stuff’ that is part of a Christian up-bringing, my relationship with Jesus wasn’t something personal, but largely something that came from the people around me and what they said. I heard it, absorbed it, and simply assumed it was correct without really exploring who Jesus was for myself.

When I started secondary school, I was suddenly surrounded by thousands of other young people who had different beliefs and understandings. I went through a period where my faith was deeply challenged, and, if I’m honest, I began to have doubts about the need to follow Jesus. I looked around at my friends, and it just seemed that their lifestyles were so much easier and more exciting than mine. At this point, because my faith was more of a head knowledge rather than a heart relationship, I struggled to stay connected to God and began to just go along with what my mates were doing.

I told myself I still believed in God, and I kept going to church, however it never seemed genuine. If I’d carried on along this path, I expect I would’ve lost my faith completely – I truly wanted to see why following Jesus was worth it, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t anything more than a ‘feel-good’ story.

Over time, this feeling began to change. It wasn’t through one big encounter, but through a six-year journey that unfolded through a collection of events, and which slowly began to make me realise that God was real and was working in my life.

Church camps and massive youth events, like Soul Survivor, were a yearly occurrence that I really enjoyed. I not only had great fun with my mates, but those environments that were aimed at teenagers, helped me to see that I could follow Jesus whilst still being a young person who could enjoy life.

However, it wasn’t just the flashing lights or cool music or the great fun that convinced me that Jesus was real, it was the times where I encountered him for myself. I had some moments where I was convicted of my sin and others when I was filled with his supernatural peace.  On some occasions I was just left in tears in awe of who he is, just crying in his presence. I witnessed healings, people getting out of wheelchairs, people whose pain would cease, and even a man who was blind receive his sight!

These many moments, spread out over several years, helped me to grow into a genuine relationship with Jesus and were the building blocks of a faith which had him as the foundation.  God became impossible to deny. I realised Jesus was more than a story and was a real person who I loved – not because I was responding to anyone else, but because I was responding to him.

There was never one event that caused me to come to faith, but a collection of moments that made me see that my life should not be based on my parents or the people in my school, but on God and on the personal transformation I saw and found in him.

Written by Ben Rawding

Ben joined the Message in 2020 as a student on The Message Academy course. After completing that year, he stayed on, completing another year in the Academy and interning in the Advance ministry team. Ben has now accepted an exciting youth leading role in the London area, which he is looking forward to starting in September. He has a love for Jesus, K-pop and McDonalds.