I was brought up in a non-Christian home but when I was about 18, I attended a coffee-bar in the Baptist Church in Saltcoats. I remember being quite impressed by the minister. I then went out with a girl who went to this church and I attended a couple of evening services, where this same minister was preaching. I didn’t really think much about it, but then in November 1970 I met a girl called Joyce, and so we started to date. She invited me to come to church with her on a Sunday morning. I did, but it was not a great experience.
She and her family then moved to Kilwinning and, when I heard that she was looking for a Baptist Church, I was able to tell her about the one in Saltcoats. I occasionally went with her on a Sunday morning but then she suggested we could go at night. After doing this for a wee while, it got even worse! Joyce then suggested we go to the YF (Youth Fellowship). This was not good, but I was in love, so I started going along and met a few people I knew from school. It was lively and people were smiling and having fun – not like at church. I remember thinking, “I could do with a pint of that”.
In May 1973, the YF were going to a “Play and Praise Rally”, so I went along as I was now in the badminton team. After the play came the praise. I remember thinking that life seemed to be really good when I was among Christians and, when the guy was speaking, I was convicted that I wanted to be more like them. So I asked Jesus to come into my life. Then came the really embarrassing bit, when the guy doing the talk was asking how long we had been Christians. When it got down to less than a week, it was only me!
I had become a Christian but my lifestyle didn’t change that much. Perhaps there should have been more follow-up by the church but there was very little, if any. It wasn’t until 1979 that I realised that Jesus had to be Lord of my life as well. So that made a difference and I started to grow more as a Christian. Do I have any regrets? Only that I didn’t make the decision earlier.