Former car thief Darren Edwards sets up alternative church in Lincoln
A former car thief who found God is to launch an alternative church in Lincoln.
Darren Edwards, 28, grew up on a council estate in Northampton and indulged in a life of crime.
But after "talking to God" and being told to move to Lincoln, Mr Edwards turned his life around and hopes to help others achieve the same.
"I was brought up without a dad on a rough council estate in Northampton," he said.
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"I used to steal cars, I started smoking at the age of 12 and I have done most drugs you could think of.
"I suddenly started seeing miracles when my daughter was at Sunday school and I felt as though God was telling me to look into religion and not to dismiss it.
"I started reading the Bible and overnight my life changed.
"I used to drink about 14 cans of beer a day and hardly slept, but when I became a Christian that changed immediately."
Mr Edwards will be moving to the Moorland estate in Lincoln with his wife Laura, and children Liam and Sophie.
And he has plans to launch an alternative path to God, known as the Ignite Elim Church.
"I was praying to God and he told me that Lincoln was the place to go," he said.
"I was a bit unsure to start with as I thought Lincoln was a posh place and I wanted to bring the church to people like me.
"But then I found out about the Moorland estate and it is perfect.
"I am going to take the church to people who wouldn't normally be able to get to church or who might not have thought about church.
"We won't be keeping to the traditional practices of church, we will be a group of people coming together to find God.
"I am going to be wearing my cap and tracksuit rather than robes and this is going to be a church for the people."
The church will be using the Moorland Community Centre from September and it will be more likely to be hosting a barbecue than Bible studies.
"My church is going to be relaxed and we will go wherever people want it to go," said Mr Edwards.
"If they want to pray, we will pray. If they want to sing, we will sing.
"As a pentecostal church, we expect supernatural things to happen like healings and I have seen that happen first hand.
"I want to be able to bring that to others."
For more information on the church, visit www.ignitelincoln. co.uk/public_html/Ignite_Elim _Church_Lincoln.html