Ralph has a wealth of experience as a Christian leader, but he was not brought up in a religious setting.
"I'm not religious and I never have been. I simply have a relationship with the wonderful God who created us all, and life is infinitely better with God than without him. 'Religion' exists where man tries to reach God in his own strength - man-made rules and laws that we cannot possibly live up to. 'Relationship' is when we allow God to reach down to us through Jesus Christ, enabling us to become his friends."
Ralph became a Christian in 1979. School friend Dave Chapman had invited him to a church youth group, and he had attended sporadically for a while. But some remarkable things happened and he nearly lost his life more than once. "...I had a lightbulb moment. I realised that God had saved my life supernaturally, and that without Jesus I had no hope."
God had a plan for his life. But discovering that plan was both painful and at times frightening.
"Life can throw some very difficult circumstances at us, and God may allow us to face big challenges. We can't always explain why, but we do have a God who promises to help if we ask."
When he became a Christian Ralph was already a semi-professional musician, and music became his first opportunity to get involved in helping other people to find God.
"School friend Mark Barnett and I formed a new rock group 'The Reaction' [fan site] which played in both the secular world and at Christian youth events. I also took a Sunday School class and joined the youth leadership team. I was in the ministry from day one!"
Heather and Ralph were married In 1987. Together they have started three new churches and Ralph has helped with the process of planting five other churches. He has also worked as a pastor, an evangelist, and a worship pastor. Ralph and Heather have initiated or helped with numerous Christian outreach initiatives in the UK. Heather's parents also planted a church in KL, Malaysia and worked as missionaries in the Philippines, Thailand and Seychelles.
Ralph studied English at university and has written for Christian and secular magazines and newpapers since the early 1990's. He manages the real life stories website. He also has an MA in Church History and has written a book on the Charismatic church throughout history entitled Eternal Flame. In 1995 he was ordained in the UK with the Assemblies of God Churches and is now ministering in New Zealand. He has a passion to see Christians of all streams working together and has worked with projects involving most of the major Christian denominations in the UK.
To read Ralph's story in detail click HERE
The Burden family 2015: Ralph, Joel, Emma, Lucy, Heather & Hannah
The Reaction in 1982: Mark Barnett, Paul Barnett, Ralph, Richard Bradshaw