I am one of those people that can't remember what life was like prior to knowing about Christ. I grew up in a single-parent Christian home. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but we were given a decent grounding in faith and were loved well.
My wife, Donna, and I met at church when we were 12 years old (she was born five days before me - although seeing her, you would think I was far older!). We were friends throughout our teen years and, through a series of events, we re-connected the summer before I went off to college and started dating. Within two years (and a lot of ups and downs) we had married (yes, we were VERY young) and started my career with a company that gave me great opportunities to develop professionally and helped me finish school while working full time. Within a few years of being married, our daughter, Aurora, was born. Donna and I both believed in God, attended church regularly, served in and through the church. We were even in a small group, but we didn't have a meaningful relationship with Christ. We were involved for the wrong reason. Instead of our engagement in the church being driven by our love for Christ, it was more about what was expected of us. We would probably be there still if it wasn't for a series of events that led to our realizing what we were missing this entire time: pursuing relationship with God.
I took an assignment with my employer at the time that moved our family to Chicago from Buffalo. We were there for nearly two years before the same employer moved me back to Buffalo. We met some incredible friends while there, grew together as a couple and enjoyed living in a big city. My son, Aidan, was even born there! Upon moving back to Buffalo, we connected with The Chapel and started to serve again and spend time with others who were serious about growing in their faith. After a few years, I was asked to get more involved in men's ministry. I helped to develop a training program to equip guys that needed a firm grounding in the basics of their faith. I had no business doing it, but in helping to put this together and, subsequently, teach it, I learned a lot about the power and value of small groups and discipleship. I had other guys in my life that were helping to strengthen me, hold me accountable and encourage me toward God's best. I was seeing growth in my spiritual formation unlike anything I had experienced before. This eventually led to a conversation that turned my supposed “career path” upside down to join the leadership team at The Chapel – but it was exactly where God wanted me to be. Looking back, I can see how God had given me incredible opportunities with a global company that prepared me for what He wanted me to do here at The Chapel. I am grateful for the opportunity God has given me to serve with this team! For more information on my story, check out johncamardo.com