Christian Finer has been a member of CCK since he was a student and has been working at the Church for just over a year. Christian chats to Emily Sneyd about life at the CCK offices and shares his enthusiasm about coffee...
CF: I grew up in a non- Christian family and didn’t have any ties to Church, until I was about 12 and met a guy at secondary school whose dad was leading the Baptist church in my town. He invited me along to the youth group and it all went from there really. One Sunday they invited me to take part in a children-led service which in hindsight was a bit of a crazy move! Nevertheless, I went along to support that service and found the people were so friendly and inviting, and they kept inviting me every week. The major point for me was going on their youth weekend which was really fun- we were really naughty and my whole youth group won all the competitions like tug-of-war that were supposed to be for the under 12’s- even though we were all about 14 or 15... We’ve still got the trophy on the wall! Anyway, the important thing at that weekend was when one of the leaders shared the gospel and invited the people who didn’t yet know Jesus to join him in a prayer to ask him into their lives. Although I’d wanted God to reveal himself to me, I had never properly asked him to, so I decided to try it. I closed my eyes and said the prayer, and heard a voice say, ‘I want to know you’. I opened my eyes to see who’d been talking to me and was amazed to find that there was no-one there! I’d actually heard God speak to me.
ES: What a wonderful story! You’ve been working at CCK for just over a year now- what brought you here?
CF: I guess it started when I did the Impact year for the Church; it was such a great year- everyone should do it (thought I’d try to get a plug in there!). I was the operations manager for the Student Work, my main responsibilities being admin, and organising events like the student weekend away and Christmas ball. When my year finished, I was a project manager for a musical technology company in Worthing for a while, but was always praying for something closer to home in Brighton. I got made redundant which was a kick up the bum to have a proper look for Brighton jobs and found brief employment at Lloyds bank. I learned some valuable lessons there and was able to hone my people skills, but knew that ultimately, it wasn’t the job for me. At that time, there was an increasing demand at CCK for someone to be added to the admin team. They needed someone to help organise events and to help with the increasing workload when the third Sunday service was introduced. Yeah, so that’s when I joined!
CF: Well, my role is admin support, basically. The job has changed along the way, but it’s mainly heading up the Sunday department like the teams that serve on a Sunday, and things like the Sunday coffee shop. Outside of Sunday meeting stuff, I organise a lot of the special meetings that we have, like Easter and the baby thanksgiving service, as well as various weekends away and Sent to the workplace days. I also act as PA to Elder Steve Boon, and help him with organisational things.
ES: Have you got a favourite part of the job?
CF: I get to work with a great team of guys, like Matt Simmonds in the Communications department to Dan Sweetman who looks after the Clarendon Centre, where we hold our meetings. They all make things happen, and although we all have varied responsibility for Sundays, we’re a group of guys that are committed to Christ and who love this city.
I also love what we’re doing in terms of serving this City, like volunteering as a Church at the Brighton marathon a few weeks back. I was privileged enough to be one of the main points of contact between CCK and the marathon organisers, and really enjoyed seeing it all come together to be a fantastic day- I’m already excited for next year!
ES: What’s it like in the Church offices?
CF: It’s great fun. I love the passion of every person there; no matter what job they perform, they’re all passionate for Jesus to be made famous in this City. And people will always go the extra mile too, there’s a great sense of team spirit. When there’s stuff that needs to get done, they’re quite happy to muck in, even stuffing envelopes if that’s what it takes! There’s always a ‘let’s get it done’ attitude which is great.
ES: What do you love about Brighton?
CF: I love the creativity here- it’s got such an energetic vibe about it and there’s always something going on. I like checking out the random music and art events, and my favourite thing about the Brighton Fringe festival is a music festival called ‘the Great Escape’- I went to it last weekend and it was awesome! Also, any of my friends will tell you I’m a massive coffee fan, so I love the cafe culture in Brighton. Anneke and I get to live above the best coffee shop in Brighton called Taylor St. Baristas- they do professionally made coffee with this amazing latte ‘art’- It’s a quality cafe, people should check it out!
CF: I should probably say something cool like New York- which looks fun too, don’t get me wrong! But I think I’d have to say Amsterdam. My wife, Anneke is from Holland, so we’ve been many times and I just love it there. It’s got a very similar energy to Brighton, in fact- it’s a very ‘happening’ city.
ES: Have you got any comedy heroes?
CF: I got to see Michael McIntyre when he came to Brighton last year and he was brilliant- what a funny guy!