James Edgell is a Children and Families Worker. He worked for Eden Churches before moving to Ipswich.
I was very blessed to be brought up in a Christian home with parents who loved God and who displayed God’s love by the way they loved me. I also grew up in a very large Baptist church in Essex and every Sunday I would go to Sunday school.
It was in April 1993 that my family took me to Spring Harvest and it was at the kids’ group, called Whizz Kids, that I actually made a personal commitment to Jesus.
When I finished sixth form – having done one year of sixth form – and I ventured out into the real world and got a job at a local supermarket, just round the corner from my house, I started to think ‘What’s life all about? What does it mean to be living this life?’. At this point in time I was still part of my church, now teaching Sunday school and declaring to others at church that I was a Christian. But I found myself living very differently, very distant from God. God did not have much of a play in the decisions I made.
I made that conscious decision to say ‘Am I going to carry on, living the way I was living, making selfish choices and decisions that were casing me pain?’ or am I going to say to God ‘God I’m sorry. Will you forgive me and can we start again?’.
I was invited to go on a sports ministry tour of the USA. A local guy from my church was involved in sports ministry in this country and invited me to spend some time in the States, coaching some football and teaching children about the love of God. I went on this tour in 2004 and it changed my life. I developed a deeper level of love for God.
In 2008 I moved down to Moorlands Bible College and started my four year course in children and family work with applied theology and it was there that I really began to see my relationship with God grow. In my final year at Moorlands we got the opportunity to go and do an overseas placement and serve within a ministry context.
One of the ministries that I was really excited about was Urban Promise. They are based in Camden in New Jersey and they work with children in the most deprived and violent city in America. Seeing how much time, effort and care they put into every single child that comes to their programmes shows to me that they follow and worship a God that cares for that person as an individual.
It was in May 2013 that I applied for the job of the Eden Churches’ Children and Families Worker so that I could really get stuck into a ministry context. Sharing the love of God with these children is a real joy, seeing how they engage with the Bible and how their eyes widen as they see how Jesus engages with different people.
Having God in my life means I can face anything with His help. Everything I go through in my life, every struggle, every challenge that I face, I know that God is with me. We know that as Christians we have the hope that one day God will restore all things and that we will be with Him in Heaven.
For me this is such an exciting thing. It is what drives my work with children and families; that God wants us to know His love.