I grew up on a farm in the Adelaide Hills, running through corn patches and building cubby houses with my sisters on the banks of our creek. I have great memories of my childhood. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian family. We attended the local Lutheran church diligently and prayed together at meal times.
I was one of those kids that always asked “Why?” I needed to know why the world was the way it was. This was especially so when it came to God. Due to my upbringing, belief in God was my default mode — but that didn’t stop me asking and pondering a lot of deep questions.
I wanted to know why Christians trusted what the Bible said. I wanted to know why church was so boring when God actually seemed very real and interesting to me. I wanted to know what the bigger purpose to life was — and whether Jesus provided good answers to this. I sensed that he did, but there weren’t many people around me who seemed excited about it. Yes, they went to church, but as soon as the service was finished, most people would talk about the blandest things, like footy and TV shows and work.
Eventually a youth group started at our church. I loved the opportunity this gave me — along with my friends and my sisters — to talk about God in ways that were relevant to us. I attended a lot of Christian camps during high school which were even better. One of them proved life-changing.
I was 16, and during a devotion early in the week, a couple of the leaders presented the gospel simply and clearly. I finally understood: my sins had separated me from God, and Jesus died in my place, forgiving my sins and bringing me back into relationship with God. A song was played during this devotion — Love Song by Third Day — and I teared up as I understood the immense price Jesus paid for me. He didn’t just die for the whole world: He died for me — Kurt. It all made sense.
I came home from that camp with a different outlook on life. That night, I didn’t want to go to bed — I just wanted to talk to God. I went outside the front of our house, which was on a quiet country road, and I sat up on the fence under a sky full of stars. And I talked to God like he was a good friend, because he finally was.
Around this time, I found a church nearby full of young people who loved God and were living for him. This was a big contrast to my experiences growing up, and it fast-tracked my spiritual growth.
Meeting God personally didn’t put an end to my many questions: it fuelled me all the more. As high school pressed on, I was confronted with many challenges to my faith, like the theory of evolution, different cultures and world religions, and the suggestion that the Bible was a book of fairy tales. University, where I studied my Masters in Architecture, was especially testing for me in this regard.
But I knew God personally, so I had confidence that I would find satisfying answers. And I did. The more I faced major intellectual challenges to the Christian faith, the more certain I became that God was real, that this brought purpose to every area of life, and that the good news about Jesus was a message worth sharing. The deeper I dug, the more my faith grew.
This, however, came with a downside. Intellectually I was growing — and so was my bookshelf — but I wasn’t seeing much spiritual maturity in my life. Even as I was involved at church, I was hiding habitual sins, and I wasn’t walking closely with God. This eventually reached a breaking point. The Holy Spirit’s conviction overcame me, and I vowed to stop all these intellectual pursuits until I began consistently living out the truths I already knew.
This was a humbling process, but a necessary one. It was greatly helped along when God led me to defer uni for a year to live and serve voluntarily in South-East Asia. There, my eyes were opened to a new world — of poverty, deprivation, and joy at the simple things in life. God also wove compassion into my heart for people whose childlike faith and desperation for him was far greater than my own. This was such a turning point for me that, several years later, I lived there for another year and returned many times during my summer breaks.
At church, the role of youth and young adults pastor had been vacant for some time, and our pastor tapped me on the shoulder for this role. I was accepted, and stepped into the world of ministry. As an introvert, this came with some difficulties. But I was part of an incredibly supportive staff team, and I was empowered to maximise my strengths — which included teaching, developing leaders, and taking teams to the mission I’d lived at in South-East Asia.
I saw many young people grow in their faith and get baptised during this time. There were seasons of amazing growth — some nights we ran out of chairs as hundreds of young people came to worship Jesus, hear the Bible explained, and witness their friends get baptised. Ministry certainly came with its challenges, but for all I hear about burnout and people getting hurt by churches, that was not my experience at all. God was very good and faithful to me.
During my fifth year of ministry, I had a growing sense that God had something new for me around the corner. Towards the end of the year, this conviction grew so strong I couldn’t ignore it. After praying with friends and mentors, I let my church know about my plans to resign. The staff team were sad, but supportive all the same.
I quit with no clear idea of what was next and few plans for the future — just a desire to unfurl my sails and see where God’s Spirit would lead me. Within weeks, I met a beautiful American girl called Angie. Around the same time, I met Warwick, who offered me a role at the Canberra Declaration. This collision of events would eventually mean that I could continue working while meeting Angie’s family and friends in the United States.
We have since moved back to Australia and married. My role at the Canberra Declaration continues, where I am blessed to rally all of the gifts and experiences God has given me to stand for truth and Christian values in the public square. Angie and I are currently preparing to serve long-term in South East Asia.
My journey with God has had many ups and downs, but if there’s one characteristic of God’s that stands out to me most, it is his faithfulness. He has loved me, sent his Son for me, and never left or forsaken me. I owe Jesus my life, which is why I continue to love and follow him with all that I have.