1. How did you become a Christian?
Through Christian summer camps run by local school teachers (Croydon Schools Camps); the gospel was explained, I believed – asking Jesus into my life; I think it was four years on from receiving Christ that I really began to reckon on what it was to follow Him as Lord.
2. What lessons have you learnt since that you would want to pass on to a younger Christian version of yourself?
That Jesus’ saving is real, and that if we will allow Him, this saving will touch every part of our lives. He is patient with what we hold back, but the more we give, the more He touches and transforms, and that goes for relationships, careers, churches and everything else!
3. How would you describe your prayer life?
I find journaling helps me be honest with God about what is going on with the highs and lows, keeping me thankful as well as focused for each day and season. My wife Rosie and I use the Scripture Union Encounter with God notes for praying together each day, and Morning Prayer in Common Worship keeps me connected with others and immersed in Scripture.
4. Which two or three Christian books apart from the Bible have most influenced your faith?
If I have to choose, I would go for John Stott Focus on Christ, C. S. Lewis The Great Divorce, and Oliver O. Donovan The Desire of the Nations (which I am still trying to understand!).
5. Who or what have been your biggest Christian influences?
All of the above, if I have to single out, the Baptist church in which I was baptised aged 17 which, with school Christian Union, nurtured me; the university CU and Anglican evangelicalism then and since which has discipled me; and black Pentecostalism from Birmingham and beyond which has blessed, inspired and challenged me beyond words.
6. What are the main challenges you believe Christians face today?
Lesslie Newbigin back in the 1990s in Birmingham said that the greatest challenge facing the Christian church in the West was theological cowardice! A pretty striking comment given his years of being part of the church in India. Confidence in the gospel and the Scriptures, their authority and relevance AND the desire to love our culture and communities ‘to the end’ (John 13:1).
7. What encourages and what discourages you?
Local Christian communities like St Clements here, believing the gospel and living it even when it is tough; testimonies and autobiographies of those who have kept close to Christ against the odds. The discouragement of unbelief in the world and church, my own vulnerability to sin.
8. What makes you laugh?
Jack Benny and Mel Blanc, if you haven’t seen their ‘Si’ routine, it gets me every time.
9. What would you want to say to the wider evangelical world?
‘Don’t be afraid’, Jesus has overcome death, He is the one coming in glory, He is the one to whom the world will give an account. He has come to the very lowest place to raise us to be with Him (Phil. 2); whatever happens to us or the church, this is the reality of the gospel in which we and the world live.
10. Which Biblical person do you most look forward to meeting in glory and why?
Mary Magdalene, to ask her what it was like to hear Jesus call her by her name in the garden.
Keith Sinclair is National Director Church of England Evangelical Council, formerly Bishop of Birkenhead now part of St Clements Openshaw, Manchester. He is also chairman of EFAC Trustees
From Evangelicals Now October 2021 here