I’ve grown up in church all my life. My concept was ‘attending church = going to heaven.’ There was no 'spirituality' or deep understanding.
Then, four years ago, whilst singing on a usual Sunday morning I had a ‘grounding moment’ when suddenly I realised what a tiny part of the world I was, and thought "do I really believe this? Is what I'm singing actually how I feel?" I prayed that somehow, I'd develop some sort of 'passion' for God and mean what I sing.
Later that year I went along to Devon Christian Youth Camp (a summer camp for young Christians) - while I was there, it was as if God was really close by, it's a hard feeling to explain; I didn't really understand it, but whatever was going on I liked it. So a couple of months later, I got baptised.
I'm fortunate enough to have been learning musical instruments since a young age, and my guitar playing has been a really amazing tool for developing this 'passion' for God, I've had opportunities to play many times, and now regularly lead the songs in services and whilst I do so, I feel that same feeling as at DCYC - that God's really close by.
Probably some of the most amazing experience's I've had as a Christian were over the last couple of years. 'Soul Survivor' (a Christian festival, in which 28,000 15-18 year old's attend over the three weeks it's on) was a big change for me, it was there that I began to realise faith isn't something you just believe, in the hope it might turn out true one day, but it's an almost tangible relationship.
Here's an example... since Soul Survivor, I've spent a lot more time praying and making sure I 'listen' too, because although I prayed throughout my childhood, I never thought about waiting for God to tell me what HE thought too. God speaks to different people in different ways, and for me at the moment, it's when we're singing and I get that DCYC-feeling: I get 'visions'; like memories only they haven't happened to me. Most of the time, I can make sense of them but other times it's something which someone else needs to hear - which is a fantastic feeling, sharing something you've seen and somebody else says that's what they came to that service for!
As you can see, faith has suddenly become very real for me, and it's exciting because I'm not sure what the next stage is going to be, but the feelings I felt back in 2007 are still here, whatever's going on I like it!