From Lincoln to Afghanistan

18 March 2021

auab-11-195-out-unc-094How are you at getting out of bed each morning? I always consider my willingness to leave the comfort of my bed to be a useful gauge in ‘ministry- satisfaction’. I felt God’s call to ministry early, at 16. By 17, I had a note to preach and bags of enthusiasm. My formal route to ordination came later, following a brief teaching career.

On completion of pre-ordination training, I was stationed in the Lincoln North Circuit where I soon discovered that the more love we gave, the more we were blessed. Looking back, I see a thread running through my ministry; I’ve always had a heart for those who live beyond the margins of Church.

In Lincoln, that desire led me to establish Church2You, a bus-ministry taking God’s people to communities where the Church was not well represented. I also ministered alongside fellow Christians at Mind, Body & Spirit events on the Lincolnshire Showground, where many ‘spiritually open’ people experienced God’s touch.

Out of a desire to reach Lincoln’s thriving evening economy, I established Street Pastors in the city centre. Representatives from 14 churches joined together to provide a caring presence on the streets each weekend. The Church had left the building… and it was right up my street!

As a Street Pastor I found that personnel from the local RAF stations wanted to talk, often sharing very sensitive issues. I contacted the chaplains to establish how we might refer people on – and so began another journey in ministry.

I’m currently in my seventh year as a Chaplain in the Royal Air Force and I love it! Every day I have the privilege of being alongside young men and women who would never dream of going to church, but who invite me into their lives because I’m their Padre.

This ministry has taken me all over the world, from the UAE to the Falkland Islands, to Afghanistan. Each new posting offers fresh opportunities to speak something of God to those who face the daily challenges of military life. It doesn’t come without personal sacrifice, but what I can say is that I certainly don’t have a problem getting out of bed each morning!

The Revd Ian Brown

This article originally appeared in the connexion magazine, issue 5.
Banner image and photos: © RAF Chaplains, TMCP