I grew up in a nominally Christian home, as in; we went to church at Christmas and Easter.  The reality was however that it was not much more than the name we filled in on forms which asked for our religion, and on those we would say Anglican.

As a result I grew up with the view that Christianity was a dead stuffy thing that people did "religiously" in a vain attempt to be right with God. As I saw it their conduct demonstrated that there was no relationship, there was no life in it and that by implication God was not real.

And then at the age of 38 that changed.  My marriage had been crumbling and my then wife had sought refuge in Christianity. She appeared to be convinced that the solution to all our problems would be in finding a way to convert me, and I had a number of pastors "come round for a chat". In my arrogance I was only too happy to take these as opportunities to explain to them how little they knew and how silly they were. I did however start going to church with her on occasions. Looking back I can now see that I viewed Christianity and Christians through glasses that were coloured by my experiences of church I saw around me.

Somewhere in the process someone gave me a book called "Is That Really You God" by Loren Cunningham which I started reading and found that it absolutely captivated me. It is a reasonable short book which is a simple account of Loren taking God at His word, and how the vision that he had received from God became the reality which today we know as YWAM.

Suddenly here was a man who had a real and living relationship with God and I was captivated by the fact that the account is filled with absolute evidence that God is real, and not only that, but more importantly, that He involves Himself in the lives of His people if they are obedient to Him.

Shortly after reading it I discovered that Loren Cunningham was speaking at the church we had been going to in Durban, South Africa and that YWAM were holding what was known as the "Go Festival" which was happening in a stadium in the city later that day. Needless to say I went to both.  Being a guitar player, music has played a significant part in my life, and on that Sunday morning I found myself humming Amazing Grace in the shower, which I knew from a Rod Stewart album, without really knowing the words or their significance. When we arrived at the Go Festival as I read the program I found it had the words of Amazing Grace which was the first worship song that they played. I made a commitment to the Lord that day.

I guess my Christian walk followed a fairly typical pattern that most new Christians follow. I became involved in church life and within 2 years I had started leading worship.  There were many occasions during worship when the presence of God was almost tangible.  I remember one particular occasion when in a small men’s group I was leading worship with the group all sitting in a circle.  In one of those exquisite, quiet moments I was sitting with my eyes closed and sensed God's presence so strongly that I opened my eyes and looked at the empty seat next to me, expecting Him to be sitting there.  His presence was so strong that I was convinced that He was sitting right there and that I would be able to reach out and touch Him.

Over the next 5 or 6 years I discovered that often my passionate desire for the presence of God was less than convenient to the conduct of the church service.  On a number of occasions there would be a flow of words from the congregation that followed a thread as God spoke through his people, and while this was building it was interrupted in each case by the pastor as he stood up to preach, completely disrupting Gods flow.

As my passion for God grew I found that often I was at odds with the Church leadership as I questioned why we did things the way we did.  I found myself longing for more of God, longing for the power of God to be allowed to flow.  I became convinced that there had to be more than this.  I came to understand that if this was all there was to the Christian life then Christ's death was in vain.  The more I have clung to God and walked with him the more I have become utterly convinced that this is true.

For some time now we have stopped going to church, believing that by definition church is not something we can go to or belong to, because biblically we are the church.  Yet our actions continue to belie this biblical truth. When our Christian friends found out that we no longer "belonged" to a church they were for the most part really concerned for us, fearing we would fall away. And yet the opposite has been true, and we have grown closer to God as He has taken us on a thrilling voyage of discovery.

Since Christianity is a relationship and not a religion it therefore follows that just like any relationship it depends solely on the actions, hearts and conduct of the parties to the relationship.  Since God is constant it therefore follows that my Christian walk is solely dependent on me. As we have pressed in to God we have more and more come to understand that we, all of Christianity, are getting it wrong.  A large part of what we do as Christians, things we accept as a normal and integral part of Christianity, are simply not biblical.
As we have worked through this we have become convinced that there is a message that God would have us bring to His people. For some considerable time I had argued against this, convinced that I am really not qualified to do this, and that to do so would be presumption.  I have argued with God that "I am a man of slow speech".  The fact is this is true, I am not qualified to do this, judged by the standards of the world, but as I have wrestled with this I have become utterly convinced that this is what God requires of me, and it would be severe disobedience for me not to do it.  

So while I am painfully aware that I am hopelessly inadequate to the task I also know that it is not about me, it really is about Him and being obedient to His leading.
In the form then of a "Letter to The Church in the 21st Century" this is what I believe God wants to say to His people.