ONE life to live {an only God story}

A tweet one Sunday afternoon, particularly caught Ben’s attention. He reached out to the writer and they met over coffee. {common to meet over coffee} Ben got to know Alan Clayton’s story. Alan comes and goes across the pond between his homeland of Ireland, the United States, and Asia for business. {common} When he’s here in San Francisco, he comes to Epic.{becoming more common} He’s come over to our home for dinner. He’s a part of a small group. {Note: No matter how long or short your stay in a place, plug into a church community and small group.}

God was drawing Alan into our church community through Ben’s teachings, authentic hospitality, accessible worship, and the fellowship with others - his words. He left on Sundays ready to merge his faith and his work. He was experiencing the incredible way God infuses us with His Spirit -  to speak and live in a way that bridges our belief in God to our gifts and passions. For Alan, it was God using his passion of resourcing start-ups.

But this was what Alan was seeing God do on his work trips. What was happening back in Kinsale, Ireland? God was doing something significant in Alan’s heart towards his hometown. Kinsale was no longer a place where he lived only to consume its beauty and serenity and opportunities. It was becoming a place where he began to ask, “what can I give, rather than what can I take?”


Alan grew up Protestant. Gwenn, his wife of 23 years, grew up Catholic. In their married life, they have been a part of diverse churches in the city, remote farming villages, and suburban towns. Church leaders have poured into their marriage and spiritual journeys along the way.

As they look back on their career path - their leadership opportunities, they see how God has provided at just the right time. Now they stand together looking forward and are trusting in the same God that has seen them through so much.

“We’ve been given A LOT.” {His words}

And with that abundance, Alan and Gwenn graciously invited me and Ben to visit them in Kinsale. They introduced us to their life and family and countryside. They invited their friends over to listen to our God story.

Alan and Gwenn, with a fresh awakening in their souls, handed over the lead role to God for their family, home, community, and country. They did their part and watched God do His.

In that setting, in the town of Kinsale, a small group was birthed. {only God} Together with their friends and family, they were inspired to BE the church rather than it being a place for Sundays only. Add ten new friends to the story. Ten friends whom Gwenn and Alan had never shared their faith with before! {only God}

Their heart beats to have “one church, one faith, one Lord” in Kinsale seven days a week. To be singing to the Lord a new song (not the same song Alan sang as a choir boy over forty years ago!) To shine on the lives of young people in their town and to do mission in a place where promoting Christ is mostly thought unnecessary and even, unbiblical.

But the Scriptures teach in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism,one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

So Alan and Gwenn are taking this ONE life they have been given and what is left of it, this ONE faith they have in God, this ONE vibrant heart for their community, and their individual and unique giftedness to be ON mission with Him. They’re doing their part and believing and trusting in God to do His.

Because there’s a church community on this side of the pond that is praying alongside them, resourcing them as that small group grows deep and wide. A church community that Alan Clayton stepped into on a work trip where he discovered afresh and anew that God is alive and on the move! {only God}


God wants to get glory from your story. As we say at our church, how are you leveraging the temporary for the sake of the eternal? Where do you see God at work in your career, your relationships, your network, your community where He’s wanting to shine and show off - it’s just He wants you to make Him known?

you can follow Alan on Twitter @thealanclayton and Gwenn @BizResultsAcad