My story by Pastor Roy Hickson

I have been a Christian since 1993, although I did have a Christian background as a young boy when I attended the Salvation Army. I had not attended church or lead the life of a believer from the age of 9 to about 20. By this time my life was not how it should be and I had no sense of personal responsibility: I would always make promises, but I was never able to keep them. Each time I gave my word, I genuinely wanted to keep it but was never able.

As I had a lack of motivation in my life, I suffered from depression, which was compounded by a problem with alcohol (as with all things it started on a social base). During this time I was working very long hours within the catering industry. At best this was very high pressure and had a culture of bullying. This only made my drinking worse as I would drink more to cope. This also meant that in the first ten years of my employment, I had at least 15 different jobs and found it difficult to hold onto work.

I had developed an attitude where nobody was going to tell me what to do. So instead of standing up against the culture, I very much became a part of it.

The crunch point came after yet another day of heavy drinking, which had started with a very strong polish vodka. I collapsed outside a local pub, ironically named the King's Head. At this time my body was also in a mess: I was thin through drink and very yellow as my liver was struggling to keep up with the amount of alcohol in the system.  So I was laid flat out on a pavement, not being helped, but kicked by people going by and some friends shouting to bring me round. It was then I heard a voice that seemed familiar, but I hadn’t heard for along time, it was the Holy Spirit, that is God's Spirit, talking to mine. It said “I haven’t called you to this. You are meant for more”.  I knew this was God, as I recalled the same feeling from being a young boy in the Salvation Army. Almost as soon as I got up from the pavement my life began to change.

I knew I could not deal with drinking until I dealt with the “why”. It was because I was unhappy and knew I needed to change. Within a month I had cut the drinking in half and over the next 2 years, I would still fail now and then but I had drastically reduced, and no longer felt the need to drink. During this period I tried a few churches until I found one that I settled down in. I was baptised, and over the course of another few years, God began to show me He had plans for leadership in my life. I had never actively pursued it, but if that was what God wanted I would do.

So in time, after small group leadership, and training given to me by my pastor, it began to grow. I had the opportunity to go to bible college for 2 years, which  I did. It taught me a lot about myself, and then a great opportunity came to be involved in a church plant, which I stayed with for about 4 years. After this time I had become a bit church-tired. This happens if you base you identity in what you do, rather than your relationship with God.

So, in 2006, I headed back to Lincolnshire and stayed with some friends and had a time of recovery and rest. Since then I have been with Alford Community Church, originally as a kitchen assistant and slowly building back into a place of ministry, and where I felt able to minister. I learned valuable lessons about not taking for granted what you have, and learning to put God first.

I have been ordained since then and received a good deal of additional training and bible instruction, which has become invaluable to me. I am now married, and the senior minister of Alford Community Church. It has been a faith journey and will continue to be. But I continue to seek God's will, plan and purpose not only for myself, but for this amazing church He has given me responsibility over.

If this should encourage you in any way, it is that God uses the ordinary people of the world to do extraordinary things. I didn’t feel qualified but God qualifies those He calls. What’s he calling you to? Do you want to see what God can do with your ordinary life? Then why not come to Alford Community Church, where I and many other people are waiting to welcome you.

God bless Roy Hickson, Pastor at Alford Community Church.