My ordination story: Phil Robinson

25 June 2024

Phil Robinson

I am a ‘cradle Christian’ - taken to church since birth by my mum - but could never have imagined that I would find myself becoming an ordained minister.

For most of my life, as far as I was concerned, the people leading services were some special breed of especially righteous humans and this was something that someone like me - with all my flaws, doubts and hugely imperfect faith - could never aspire to be.

However; one thing that I have learnt in my journey of faith is that ordained ministry is not something that you aspire to - rather it is something that you are called to.

God has worked gently and gradually in drawing me to this point - firstly with the gift of friends and mentors as I became involved in church youth work nearly twenty years ago that eventually led me into a position within the Methodist Church in Southport, then being encouraged to consider local preaching and becoming accredited.

Then just at the point that my daughter had started school and I was wondering what to do after four years of being a stay-at-home dad, sending a minister within the circuit to boldly and directly challenge me to test a calling to ordination.

Even then, I was unsure whether this was the right path to take - doubting if it was something I could really do. These doubts persisted through my endorsement by the local circuit, the regional district and then the Connexional panel.

They still periodically surfaced through three years of training at the Queens Foundation in Birmingham and then onto my appointment as a Probationary Minister in the Banbury Methodist Circuit. Even now, I occasionally catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror wearing a clerical collar and think ‘this is crazy!’

And yet…the belief in me exists and continues to grow that, even if I don’t always know what to do, the God who created me, loves me and knows me does know and will continue to guide me in the right direction.

You may be aware of the poem called ‘Footsteps’ where a man is shown by God where he has been carried through the storms of life. When I look back on my life and ministry so far, I can see where God has carried me - through times of mental illness and depression, through our daughter’s treatment for leukaemia, through hardship, through challenge - and brought me through still smiling and still hopeful.

I can also see how I have been blessed in my ministry - I have the privilege of working with several village churches and have experienced the joy of sharing and witnessing the love of God with people at all stages of life and faith. Ordained ministry is by no means an easy path and is full of challenges, but is also often full of blessings. I give thanks to God for all that I have been blessed with thus far and look forward with excitement to the adventure to come.