I love the passion that you can see in someone’s life when they really know who they are, and why they’re here. Pete Harris is an awesome example of this – he’s currently sat across the table from me, finishing off revision for the last exams of his degree, and chatting to me all about his exciting plans for going after the dreams that God has put on his heart.
I’ve known Pete for just under a year, and if I was to describe him in one word, it would be faithful – he’s faithful in serving, a loyal friend, and generally a top lad. He’s also got an amazing testimony of finding a real relationship with God, and letting his faith shape who he is and how he lives. Here’s his story:
I grew up in a Christian family – I went to church every Sunday, and always believed in God. Everything that I learnt as a kid has been a strong foundation that has stayed with me. I became a Christian when I was seven, in kids work at church. I didn’t see much of a difference between church and school – they were both places where I just learnt things that I knew were true.
When I was ten my parents started chatting to me about baptism – and I began to ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. God gave me a Bible verse, and from there I started to learn how to hear from God. I got baptised later that year, and loved church.
When I was about twelve, my parents stopped going to that church, and at this point I was only going about once a month. I began to realise that my faith is my responsibility: if I want to worship, I need to make space for it – I didn’t want to be spoon-fed. From this point, I’ve let the Spirit lead me.
When I was about sixteen, I found that I didn’t really have any community. I felt God tell me to go to Faithlife, so I went and joined the youth group. Around this time, I started sixth form, and struggled with comparing myself to other people. I was always the quiet kid, and struggled with self-confidence, and that led me to looking to all the wrong places to sort that out.
I had bad relationships, got involved with drinking with friends, and started to find that church people can let you down. I saw that people in the church put on a face to make them look better than everyone out – but people in the world loved me more. I found more acceptance with my friends from college, who didn’t judge me for the things I was doing, and they didn’t pretend to be any better.
This is what I took with me when I went to uni. I’d spend most days getting drunk, and even high with my friends – because I knew that it would make me a part of things. It worked – I had a lot of friends as a result. But all the while, I knew that whatever I thought of Christians, God was still good, and I knew that there were some Christians that did get it right.
I never lost my faith. Every night I’d come in drunk, go to my room and pray it would never happen again – but I couldn’t resist the peer pressure. I knew that the way I was living wasn’t the way that God was wanting me to – it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.
I never gave up on church. I’d go out on a Saturday night, get back at 5am, get up at 8am and go to church – I didn’t want to let that part of my life go. Eventually I made the decision to drop out – I didn’t want to do the course any more, and I couldn’t carry on with the way I was living.
The two things that really meant something to me were God and music – and that’s what I wanted to do.
Now: Pete has just finished his degree in music production, he’s been fully plugged into church, leading worship, heading up the P.A team and helping out with the youth and student work, and growing in God. He’s looking at plans for the future – thinking about how he’s going to carry on pursuing the path of God and music, and he’s thankful for the people that God has put in his life to support him in that.
“He is clothed with strength and dignity; he can laugh at the days to come” – Proverbs 31:25