I grew up in a Christian home, a minister’s home in fact. And to be honest I really don’t ever remember not believing in Jesus Christ or the Bible because it was such a part of my life. I’m very grateful to my parents and the many positive Christian examples I had around me growing up. When I was still a child I chose to confess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and be baptized.
When I look back over my life probably my greatest faith struggle came during my teenage years while growing up in a large church. The Senior Minister of the church at that time made some morally bad decisions and as a result lost his position. Watching this occur in the life of someone I respected so much had a huge impact on me and hurt me deeply. Within a short period of time following this event, I watched as four more people whom I loved and respected fell in one way or another-some leaving the faith entirely. I learned the hard way that, even though I could look to many for a positive role model, many others would disappoint me and let me down. I learned a valuable lesson during those years that the only thing I could ever be sure of was Jesus!
In the midst of this I played soccer for my high school and was faced with many questions regarding my faith from my non-believing soccer coach. As we practiced drills my coach would quiz me in front of the team with questions such as: How can a loving God send people to hell? How can you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven? What about the person who has never heard about Jesus? What happens to them? Doesn’t evolution prove that God isn’t really the Creator? Don’t misunderstand me– he wasn’t just trying to pick a theological “fight”. He was honestly searching for answers and thought a “preacher’s kid’ would know. I gave the best answers that I could at the time and would often go home and ask my Dad about these issues. Over time, the questions my coach had asked me seemed to develop into my own personal time of doubt and I found myself questioning the very faith I had so adamantly stood for in high school.
During college I continued to wrestle with them. The primary question for me was “What if I had been born into a Hindu or Muslim home? Would I also be a dedicated Hindu or Muslim, just as I currently was of my parent’s faith? In an attempt to answer that question, I did some personal research on Jesus in comparison to other religious leaders. I examined some of their claims and found that Jesus was the only one who claimed to have lived a sinless life. And even more compelling was that those who were closest to him also supported the belief that he was sinless! Most importantly, however, I became convinced by the evidence that Jesus walked out of his own grave just as He predicted he would. This brief time of doubt in college only served to solidify my convictions and belief in Jesus Christ and as a result I have never looked back or doubted my decision to follow him.
Eventually I felt like God was calling me to go into the ministry. While in seminary I served a church in Kentucky and following graduation moved to Indiana where I was the Associate for a year and Senior Minister for 7 years. Today I am thrilled to be involved in planting Journey Christian Church and am blessed as I watch God work in the lives of those who attend. I have also been blessed with a wife and four delightful children-all of whom I learn from and am challenged by on a daily basis. I’ve found Jesus to be a faithful friend who continually calls me out of my comfort zone and challenges me to take risks and grow in my faith. I can hardly wait to see what lies ahead!
— Derek Dickinson