Faith Worked Out: Pippa Gumbel
It is a real honour for us to be interviewing Pippa Gumbel today, a wonderful woman whose work with her husband Nicky through Holy Trinity Brompton church, the Alpha Course and the Bible In One Year initiative has inspired many thousands to grow in their relationship with God. We hope you are encouraged by this newest addition to Faith Worked Out! XO
Quality I’d most like to have: Better organisational skills
Ideal dinner guest: Mary, the mother of Jesus
£10 treat: Some Green and Black’s 70% chocolate
Habit I wish I could stop: Eating too much chocolate...
Book on bedside table: Row For Freedom by Julia Immonen
Could you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become a Christian?
I had been to a Convent school but religion didn’t really affect my life. When I was 18 I was with a friend wanting to get into a nightclub and needing a member to get me in. She gave me Nicky Gumbel’s telephone number. I rang him up and he invited me round and we became friends. He went off to Cambridge and in his second term he became a Christian. I met him again and he said to me that I looked awful and I needed Jesus! I thought he had gone mad.
A short while later, I met a group of young people who were running a fun restaurant in Central London and started going there, not knowing that they were all Christians. There was good music, wonderful homemade food and a compelling atmosphere. Over time they started explaining to me about their faith and showed me John 10:10 in the Bible; ‘I came that you might have life and life in all its fullness…’ and my life seemed very shallow and empty and this life so appealing. That’s when I gave my life to Christ.
Were there times in your life when you have found it hard to live for Jesus? How did you keep your faith during these times?
When I first became a Christian I had lots of ups and downs as my priorities began to change and as I learned that God’s ways are always much better than ours. These new Christian friends & eventually the church community, were very patient with me, praying with me, encouraging me and were always there to bring me back on track.
How have you learnt to trust God with your decision-making and plans for the future?
When I was young I wanted to marry a farmer and have a horse! When I married Nicky he was training to become a barrister but even then, he was very involved with the church. However, I never would have thought I would have ended up being involved in running a large church in Central London, which I absolutely love.
There are always different seasons of life which means new opportunities to trust God. When there have been big changes of life, we have taken time out to pray. but we are also constantly stretched by the decisions that need to be made daily in such a big organisation. We make many mistakes and are always in need of God's guidance.
We love the Bible In One Year App! How would you encourage girls that find it hard to approach the Bible?
Nicky is so disciplined and I don’t think in all the years I have been married to him he has missed a day of reading of the Bible. I am much less organised! There are times when I struggle with making enough time. We love doing the Bible in One Year but on some days, I only get time to read the Psalm! I have found it helpful to listen to David Suchet’s reading of the whole Bible which is a free app and which is one way of at least hearing the bible. Reading The Message version of the Bible is also helpful for a fresh insight.
For girls who don’t have access to mentor figures in their life, how would you encourage them to keep pursuing relationship with God in deeper ways?
There are so many wonderful talks that we can download but we need one another and to be able to work out our faith in a community. I would advise praying and trying to find someone you respect who would support you.
How do you stay excited and passionate about life with Jesus, even when you have been a Christian for a long time?
I love being in an Alpha small group and watching people’s lives change. There is nothing more exciting. I also love worship and getting to a conference to hear new and inspiring speakers.
When life is busy, how do you make time for rest and space with God?
I love walking in Hyde Park enjoying God’s creation and just ‘being’ with God and not feeling that I have to be ‘doing’ anything.
Advice you would give your 13 year old self?
I didn’t know that there was a God who really did love me and had a purpose for my life. At that particular age when I was full of insecurities, an experience of God’s love and knowledge of His total acceptance would have really helped. I would also say that the importance of church and Christian friends is invaluable.