As I entered my teen and young adult years, any embryonic thoughts of God were placed in my back pocket and the church was left behind. I moved out at 17 and as a result, finishing school, work, athletics and years later friends, partying and aspirations of climbing the corporate ladder took precedence. Yet even through these times, I could sense God's presence, His continued wooing. Then when I was about 24 I realized it was time for a change, it was time to respond to God's invitation, whatever that meant. I moved from Toronto to be closer to some of my family (this in and of itself is a work of God). I asked my Landlord where the closest United Church was and she instead invited me to attend her Free Methodist church, a denomination I had never heard of before. In fact I was not very familiar with many things of church still. I accepted her invitation and began going every Sunday to the FM church. I started to listen for God, and I heard about not only how much God loved me, which I never doubted, but what it meant to live for God, something I hadn't heard or at least recognized, during my minimal United Church experience. I started attending Bible Study, and the more I pressed in to God, the more He poured into me. It was not long after that, that I gave my life to the Lord, He always had my heart, at least in my ignorant understanding of what that meant, but now He had my life. Very quickly and dramatically my life changed. I started a youth ministry at our church about a year later, and subsequently became a lay pastor within the Free Methodist Church in Canada. With whom I now approximately 13 years later, serve as an associate pastor at a fabulous church.
I am an avid reader, and a lover of learning and academia. Before I accepted Christ, I had learned a bit about Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, Scientology and other "religions" to get a better understanding of who this God is that was wooing me. In the end I knew it was Christ - it made perfect sense and confirmed what I already knew in my heart. So too it was with my Church/Theological heritage. While I loved the FM Church, I wanted to more about it. I studied, taking the myriad of courses offered by the denomination such as "The Heart of Free Methodism" and "Wesleyan Theology" among others, and fell in love with our heritage, our foundations, John Wesley and our ethos. I considered Calvinism vs. Armenianism. I experienced Baptist, Pentecostal, Salvation Army, Christian Reform, and United Church services among others, yet each time it was confirmed that the Free Methodist Church in Canada, is where God was and continues to call me to serve. Not that I do not find value in the other expressions of the Christian faith, indeed I do, in fact I have filled the pulpit in each of those denominations. Nor do I think that we as a Free Methodist denomination have everything right, cause we don't, but my theological and church heritage is Free Methodist. It is not my heritage because it is the church of my Father, or the church of my friends, it is my heritage because it is the church God has placed me in, and called me to serve, and for this distinction I am grateful.