1 How did you become a Christian?
I grew up in a Christian home and committed my life to Christ at a young age, in many ways I don’t remember a time when I didn’t believe in God. I always had a sense of his presence with me and his loving care for me. However, I don’t think it was until my late teens that I started to grasp the full necessity of what Jesus did on the cross and how much I needed to respond to his offer of forgiveness.
2 What lessons have you learnt since that you would want to pass on to a younger Christian version of yourself?
So many! But I think the one that has a great influence on so much of life, is the importance of rooting my identity in Christ and rejoicing in the fact I am a child of God. This truth profoundly changes how I see myself. I can worry less about what others think of me, my relationship status, if I am successful or the circumstances of my life. Instead I can rest in the fact I am a child of God who loves me and cares for me.
3 How would you describe your prayer life?
A work in progress! God continues to show me my need to pray more and ensure I am dependent on him. There is always the temptation to think I can do things in my own strength but I am learning to pray more as it is only God who can bring real and lasting change.
4 Which two or three Christian books apart from the Bible have most influenced your faith?
I remember the first time I read Pilgrims Progress and how struck I was by how it so beautifully articulated the Christian life. Hole in our Holiness by Kevin De Young really got me thinking about the importance of pursuing holiness. I think my generation can shy away from holiness from the fear of seeming legalistic. But this book challenged me to see that holiness is becoming like Jesus. And I should be longing to see this in my life more and more. Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortland was a wonderful book from last year. I really appreciated digging deep into what the Bible has to say about Jesus’ heart towards me.
5 Who or what have been your biggest Christian influences?
My biggest influences have been the ordinary Christians who are walking faithfully in their unremarkable situations through the ups and downs of life. My family, my navigator leaders while at University, my close friends and my church family. Those who have suffered or still suffer and keep holding onto God because they know he is their rock and refuge.
6 What are the main challenges you believe Christians face today?
The temptation is to fit in with the world around us. It is hard to speak out or hold onto Biblical truths and values when they are so at odds with what the world values and praises. I think we also face a real challenge to prize comfort above anything else.
7 What encourages and what discourages you?
Working in ministry, one of the greatest privileges is seeing people grow in their love for God and understanding of his character. It is so encouraging seeing women I have been discipling grasp how the truths of God’s word connect with their life. Singing praises with God’s people is also a real source of encouragement. This has been one the things I have missed most during this past year.
Discouragements? Bad coffee! In all seriousness, seeing the effect of sin and suffering on the lives of those I love. It heightens my longing for the new creation!
8 What makes you laugh?
Noticing the quirks of life with friends. See the world through the toddler eyes of my nephew. The madness of my crazy springer spaniel.
9 What would you want to say to the wider evangelical world?
The words of Paul in 1 Cor.15:58 ‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.’ The world will tell us that following Jesus is old fashioned at best, bigoted at worst. However, it is the most valuable thing we do with our lives. Let’s keep looking to Jesus and serving him in all we do.
10 Which Biblical person do you most look forward to meeting in glory and why?
Gosh, it is hard to pick one. Maybe Jonah? It would be interesting to hear what happened next in his story. Or talk to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego about their experience of the fiery furnace.
Rachel Sloan is Women’s Ministry Coordinator at the FIEC. Previously a Primary School teacher she lives in Edinburgh where she is developing a love for running.