My name is Christopher (Chris) Steggles, and I live with my wife Sue in Eastleigh, which is a town close to the City of Southampton in the UK. We have been married for 34 years and have three daughters now all living away from home. Professionally I am a retired Information Technology Consultant, a field I went into in 1968.
I had been loosely connected with the Church since I was a child I went to Sunday School and maintained some connections over the years. But I became a Christian in 1970 in the Open Brethren. They gave a solid grounding in Scripture, and I was baptised in 1971. I had some problems with alcohol in the years 1972-1975 but came back to a relationship with Jesus and was an active member of one of the Restoration Churches in London. But my problems with alcohol were not quite over – and my first marriage came apart in 1981. God’s Grace cannot be measured – despite all my problems, He brought Sue and me together, and I started to resolve my alcohol problem. It took some time – and with active participation in both Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the Church I finally achieved a measure of sobriety.
With 23 years of sobriety, I have now been very active in AA over the past nine years. I have a clear vision that the level of fellowship achieved in AA is what we so desperately need in the Church. Philip Yancey talks about this in his books – he refers to the Midnight Church as demonstrating the deep commitment of AA members to one another.
I have shared this vision with two of our pastors – I am not sure they fully understand it, but I have their support, and my senior pastor has arranged a suitable mentor for me.
I believe that God has called me to preach the message of real commitment to both Jesus and each other within the Church. A meeting on Sunday and a mid-week home group that does not meet every week are a mere shadow of what I believe God is calling me to. Real revival depends not only on prayer but on Christians living out the Gospel by really demonstrating that they love one another.
For this I do need some formal Bible College training – it’s a missing area for myself, and it will show commitment to my church leadership team. Why CLI? I am retired on a modest pension, and UK Bible College fees are simply unaffordable.
In terms of prayer, please ask God to show clearly to me the path He wants me to take. Step 11 of the AA program states that I should seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry that out. That’s what I need!