We are Found: Manchester
I don't remember the exact week/day/hour I gave my life to Christ. I can’t say there was a big ‘moment’ for me, it was a looong gradual process. I grew up in a Christian family who attended camps annually, church weekly and prayed daily. But I lived my life for myself alone, and I liked that. God could make an appearance when it benefitted me, however he sometimes was unnecessarily in the way of my daily life and routine. He didn’t have a place in how much I drank at the weekends. He didn’t have a place in what I decided to wear. There was definitely no room for him in my non-Christian relationship. So most of the time he was better ignored.
I went off to university in Manchester ready to become the best me imaginable! I did all the things I dreamed of doing as a fresher and…. It was lonely. One evening, I bumped into an old friend. He invited me to a church bible study that evening. No student turns down a free meal, so I accepted the invitation. From then on, things improved; I went on the student weekend away, attended church each weekend, made great friendships. Of course I felt ‘comfortable’: I was with Christians, I’d grown up with Christians – it all fitted together. I was happier in Manchester, but in life I was still very much lost. I was blind.
God had not yet opened my eyes to how sinful I really was, how much I needed saving and the utter astounding significance of Jesus’ death.
We studied Romans in my second year at student bible study and, long story short, I was shown just how much my attitude towards Christianity was one of ‘ticking the boxes’.
Attend church weekly, check. Latest pink NIV bible in tow, check. Living with Christians, check. Post a verse on social media, check. None of these boxes I’d ticked were necessarily bad, but how foolish to think these would save me. I had not committed my whole life to Christ. Chapter 8 in Romans completely spelt out to me the huge sacrifice of what Jesus had done for me on the cross, and a desire to live my life committed to him took over from then on.
I became involved in More Precious a couple of years back when my sister started sending me links to the blog. I found the posts relevant as well as challenging and encouraging. One thing that made me keen to see the work of More Precious grow was the desire the team has to reach and teach teenage girls. This had significant personal relevance for me; those teenage years were the times I felt so far from God. I saw the passion that More Precious holds for encouraging and building young girls up in living a life for Christ. I looked back at my 17 year old self and thought how much I would have benefitted from a resource like this. I think MP is an excellent tool for women’s ministry where the word of God is central to all they do.
I know MP has a place in the city of Manchester reaching the young girls and women with teaching, advice and encouragement/support.
Living in such a big city, it can sometimes be overwhelming thinking how to reach the people of Manchester with the good news of Jesus. How can 'little me' make an impact in a city of 2.5million?! If I met everyone in MCR individually for a 30-minute coffee to tell them about Jesus it would take me… 142 years… with no sleep. That is a pretty daunting prospect (especially to someone who naps daily!) But the great news is that I’m not on my own! There are so many groups of people in Manchester with the same desire to share the good news of Jesus with our city: churches, charities, Christian Unions & families!
On a personal level I often think, if I struggle to even tell my colleagues “I'm going to church this evening”, how am I supposed to be pointing people in Manchester towards Jesus?
2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
We are jars of clay in this world, Clay jars are delicate. They look durable but how easily they chip and crack. What a reminder! It is God’s plan to glorify Christ through our weakness. What a joy to know he is using us weak people, jars of clay, to make known the wondrous treasure that is life in Christ. It is God who is working powerfully and continuously through our cities.
I love to reflect on my own testimony when I'm daunted with telling others about Christ. I love to be reminded that no one is ever too far/too old/too content/too 'sorted'/too disinterested to hear the gospel and be brought into a relationship with Jesus Christ! For me, it comes down to -
The reassurance: It is Jesus alone who saves.
The drive: God uses us, in our weak state, to bring his news to earth.
The goal: For the people of Manchester to come to a real and living faith in Jesus Christ.
Alice is a speech and language therapist in Manchester, where she loves being part of her church, Holy Trinity Platt. When she's not working she spends her time quoting F.R.I.E.N.D.S, exploring the Lake District and trying to find ways to exceed the recommended daily intake of sugar.