Along with Carolyn I was recently asked to become an elder of our local church, Brightons Parish Church, Falkirk. We were ordained as elders on 23rd October. We were asked to write a mini-biography to introduce ourselves to the church – obviously most of them know us quite well but it was good to be able to speak and reflect a bit more deeply about why we’re here. My article is reproduced below.
Keith Wansbrough – Bright Lights Nov 2016
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov 3.5-6, NIV)
I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and I grew up in a Christian family. I was always aware of God and learned lots about him and the Bible in Sunday School. As a teenager I attended the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle (founded by C. H. Spurgeon’s son Thomas), and after a summer camp when I was sixteen I realised I couldn’t just rely on my parents’ faith, I had to make a decision myself. I made a public confession of faith (through adult baptism) at that point, and have been trying to follow Christ ever since.
In 1997 I left home for the first time and flew to Glasgow to study for a PhD in Computer Science. It was a huge transition and I was very aware of God going before me and providing for me. It was during my time in Glasgow that I met Carolyn (at Queen’s Park Baptist). In 1998 my supervisor moved to Cambridge and I followed him there; Carolyn and I commenced a long-distance relationship which taught us a lot about communication. In Cambridge I helped with the church youth group and attended an intense and rewarding multicultural Bible study group for graduates.
In 2000 we were married and Carolyn moved down to join me. We spent five years in Cambridge, during which time Aidan was born, but when Megan was on her way we decided to move back to Scotland to be close to family. Throughout our lives both of us had mostly attended city churches, but when we arrived in the Braes we were determined to join a local church and be part of a local community. Carolyn has told the story of how we were welcomed into Brightons when Megan was just six days old, and we’ve been here ever since! We transferred our membership, and Aidan and Megan were baptized here.
Over the last 11 years what I’ve most valued about Brightons Church is the sense of community, being part of God’s people working together where he has placed us. He has confirmed more than once that this is where he wants us to be and to serve.
One strand of this has been youth work: many years ago I was asked to help with the Junior Sunday School, and from there I progressed to Triple S, until soon after FLAIM was formed we were asked to join them. Working with the S1-S3 age group is so rewarding, as the young people are beginning to ask questions and develop a faith of their own. We’ve also been involved in the Holiday Club committee for several years. Our church is blessed with so many young people, and we have such a responsibility to teach them about Jesus and lead them to him; yet in doing this we find God speaking to us and blessing us also.
The opportunity to dig deep into God’s word with friends and talk and pray together in the fellowship group I lead on alternate Monday nights has been another strand – wherever two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, he is there with us. More informally our friends in the congregation over the years have been a mutual support and encouragement.
Serving the church as a deacon, and now as an elder and Up and Coming convenor, is a third strand. I’m excited to have been asked to serve the congregation in this way, and I look forward to finding out what God is planning for us as a church. To God be the glory.