Testimony of Conversion
My childhood was, as I perceived it, pretty average. I had friends, but I wasn’t particularly popular. I was good at school but not a high achiever. I liked soccer but rarely played on the team from the beginning. I was a normal kid without big worries and exuberant joys, but with many thoughts. I remember how I often lay in bed at night, unable to sleep, thinking about a thousand things. One of those thousand things was my own life. Did it have any meaning? Even if our sun would explode someday? What purpose did my life have if everything passed away? I was not very clever, but consistent thinking and acting were valuable to me. I didn’t want to accept a “narrow-minded answer” to this vital question. If I was going to live, I wanted my life to have meaning. But I found none. Not from my parents, my religion classes, and not even on television.
I was deeply frustrated. Was all the effort, all the studying, all the getting up early for the few occasional, fleeting pleasures worth it? Wouldn’t it be consistent, rational, or better if I put an end to it all? So it came to pass that I got myself sleeping pills from the pharmacy to end my life. I sat on my bed; the pills dumped out in front of me, and I couldn’t do it. I was too much of a coward. I remember crying with grief and anger at myself and praying – I don’t know why or how – “God if You exist, show yourself to me. You are my only hope that any of this makes sense!”
Years went by. It so happened that I would become an exchange student at an American high school for a year. Exciting! I decided to enjoy American society – even in its absurdities. For me, this included the whole subject of “religion.” I eagerly went to church youth classes, not to learn but to teach: I had a missionary zeal to teach religious America the modern theory of evolution and rid them of their Adam and Eve fairy tales. Fortunately, the youth pastor took me on and offered to meet with me every Wednesday afternoon for an ongoing discussion. I gladly accepted and spent the rest of the week diligently studying biology and physics books I had specially sent from Germany. Soon, however, I realized that his questions were neither superficial nor “redneck,” and my answers were neither irrefutable nor compellingly logical. He made me think a lot, and I became open to listening to the Bible with an open mind. With him, I explored the question of the world’s creation, the existence of God, and morality. And I was amazed at the incredible complexity, depth, and truth in this “old book.” Faith did not come to me suddenly but gradually. I first came to know God as Creator and as “the truth” (John 14:6). I was fascinated by Him. And so I prayed then, “If I have only you, I ask nothing of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 73)
When I returned to Germany, it was not easy. I wanted to serve God with everything I had. Not yet out of great love, but because I knew He was “true.” I read the Bible for hours, threw away my TV, visited various churches…My parents and friends thought I was brainwashed. I was a bit off-putting with my new faith (and immaturity in living it out), but this God fascinated me more and more. I got to know him and myself better and better – with my head and my whole inner man. At that time, I became very aware that I did not fulfill God’s standard, but God is perfect, and to be able to accept me, He had punished His son in my place. This good news became more and more important to me. His love, His undeserved benevolence in the face of my sins, which I had regarded as “normality” all my life, thrilled me on a much deeper level than scientific musings. The King of the world suddenly became my beloved. And this joy changed everything. Today I can say that God answered the desperate boy’s prayer. And He became so much more than just the “meaning giver” of my life – He came close to me. He became my God, my Lord, my Savior.
Therefore, I confess with complete certainty: Grace has been granted to me, the Grace I am not worthy of. I did not ask for God; I lived utterly separated from him, I did not care about him, I even rejected him and lived against his commandments in all aspects of my life. Nevertheless, he drew me to himself in love and gave me the desire to see Him. Given this love, I repented of my sins and agreed with God: my life deserved death, I was lost, and I contributed nothing to my salvation.
I was entirely convinced that the Triune God existed and rewarded those who turned to Him not by means of good works but by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. His reward is eternal life; the reason is the righteousness of His Son; the means is faith; I am only the one who profits.
Call to Ministry
Out of gratitude and love, I committed to a life of sanctification for God’s glory in obedience and submission. I deny all in me that does not submit to God and ask God through the Holy Spirit to work the fruit of the Spirit in me. I want the crucified life so that it is no longer I who live but Christ in me.
It was my subjective conviction that God has called me to lead in the church of God someday. I did not take this conviction very seriously because neither the circumstances nor the need arose. And I do not think that subjective convictions necessarily imply the will of God. Additionally, I was occupied with leading my family while also being asked to join the board of a Christian school where I was teaching.
Even after we planted the church, my prayer was always for God to send other men who could become elders (for example, brothers from the ERB Frankfurt).
After a year, God had not answered our prayers, and I started praying and talking with my wife about the idea of becoming an elder myself. I knew that I would love to serve as an elder, and I viewed it as “a good work “(1. Tim. 3:1). I told the church that I would be open to serving as their pastor and asked them to take the next six months to pray, observe and judge whether or not I fulfilled the biblical qualifications of eldership. After that, all the church members thought I met the qualifications and said they would be happy to follow me as their pastor.
At the same time, I was in contact with the elders of our shepherding partner church, ERB Frankfurt. They supported my desire to become a pastor. On October 2nd, 2021, I was ordained Pastor by Tobias Riemenschneider, Pastor of ERB Frankfurt.
I am convinced the Holy Spirit has “made “(Acts 20:28) me Pastor of this church by Grace alone. My conviction rests on many months of prayer with growing confidence this to be my calling, my heart’s desire for this work of serving the Lord Jesus and his Bride as a pastor, the testimony of my brethren concerning the qualifications of eldership and their joyful submission, the supervision and support of the Pastors in Frankfurt and also the personal growth in prayer and service that God has granted me since the beginning of our church plant (which is evidence to me that God is graciously working in me to form me into the man I need to be for this office).