Taking the first steps in a new life and ministry
Sitting with Phil Worthington on the eve of his graduation, he reflected on his life and exactly what had brought him to study at Regents. His journey to this point was by no means a conventional one, almost getting trapped in the USA not once but twice, he could look back and see how God had rescued him from disaster to a place of destiny.
Phil had not been a Christian most of his life, although his parents were, he described himself as a “bored church attender”. 15 years ago Phil had followed what he thought was a dream, to marry a woman he had met online in America, only to discover he was entering into a nightmare. The woman he married had illegally tricked him into marrying her as she was a serial bigamist.
After a turbulent time, he eventually escaped that situation to find himself trapped in an unhealthy working relationship where he was being used. With his visa now out of date he thought his life as he remembered it before travelling to the USA was over. He recalls going to the chapel in the airport and bargaining with God. He prayed that if God would help him return home safely he would promise to go to church. In what he would describe as the miraculous intervention of God, he was allowed to board the plane and return to British soil. Not to be one who wasn’t true to his word Phil attended an ‘Alpha’ course at his home church in Birmingham where he gave his life to Jesus.
Phil eventually married Grace and they got fully involved in the life of Christian Life Centre in Birmingham, volunteering and helping for 18 months. Phil was keen to study further but was not sure if ministry was for him. A conversation with his Pastor brought some real clarity when he suggested that ‘Bible College is not necessarily about knowing what to do but it’s a great place to find out’.
Phil looked at a range of colleges and courses but eventually settled on Regents, to study on the Church Leadership track. Never one for taking the ‘straight forward’ approach to things, Phil decided to access college full time, however he opted to commute from Birmingham each day. He explains that ‘with my wife working and Birmingham only being 45 minutes from Malvern, I was able to study full time, stay connected to my local church and keep in touch with friends and family.’ Travelling back and forward gave him time to reflect and process the teaching he received.
Phil explained that learning from experienced pastors and bible teachers at Regents really inspired him and whilst he was challenged academically to step up, he has responded well to the challenge. He believes that the previous work and life experience that he had really helped him in discovering himself and his calling and was excited in 2014 to be accepted as a Minister in Training within Elim.
Standing on the verge of a new adventure, with God front and centre in his career, marriage and family he is expectant for all that God is leading them into in the months ahead. Phil will begin a new role in pastoral ministry within an Elim church this Autumn. He reflected on his study expressing “Gaining a degree at Bible College was just the first step and who knows where God will take our family!”
To find out more about part time or full time courses of study at Regents Theological College, checkout www.regents-tc.ac.uk.
Question: What disasters or situations have you had to overcome in you life? What helped you through and overcome them? Leave a comment below.