I became a Christian through the Sunday School of a Brethren Chapel in Plymouth at the age of 10 or 11. During my mid-6th form summer holiday from Plympton Grammar School, I spent a month working in the south of France with an Operation Mobilisation team.
This convinced me that rather than working in a bank, which had been my original plan, I wanted to work for God in a more tangible way. From my mid-teens I have had a growing desire to see God's people become all He wanted them to be. This led to my becoming first a Sunday School teacher and then a preacher of God's Word - the Bible.
After spending two years training at the Haven School of Evangelism, I accepted a job offer from Anne, who was one of my old youth group leaders. I was to work for the Christian Literature Centre; first in Newton Abbot and then in Plymouth. (A Christian bookshop is not only a place to find good books, but is also a Christian witness on the high street. Often a Christian bookshop is the first introduction people have to Christianity - before they will ever walk through the doors of a church.)
After moving back to Plymouth, Anne and I realised that God had been preparing both of us for more than just working together in the shop. In May 1991 we were married. Life partners, as well as ministry partners! During the next 20 years we raised our three children (Timothy, Deborah and Susanna), I became a church elder and we sought to come to terms with the changing face of Christian bookselling in Britain.
In 2011 it became clear that the time had come to prepare to close the shop. It had not been economically viable for some years; although we had been able to continue through the generosity of the Lord's people. However, we had an increasing sense that the Lord was preparing us for a new work. What this was became clear early in 2013. The early months of that year were a time of massive change for us. We closed the shop, sold our house, paid all the creditors and moved to a new area of Plymouth. But whilst this was going on, Stephen Ford announced he would be stepping down as the pastor of Dawlish Baptist church early in 2014. When the church approached me, we began to explore the possibility of a move to Dawlish. As a family we went to the Lord with three questions - Why us, why Dawlish, and why now? We cannot claim to know the answer to these questions yet, but it is clear to us that the Lord's hand is in this, just as we have seen Him working in every other area of our lives.
We believe that God is Sovereign in all things. So we know that He not only has our best interests in mind in calling us to Dawlish, but also the best interests of the church and the town of Dawlish itself. How? That we look forward to seeing!
Over-riding all of these personal concerns, we know that God will always work to bring glory to His Name. This has been the primary concern of Anne and I throughout our lives. In spite of our human frailties and failings, our hearts' desire is to see God's Name glorified, His Church built up in its most holy faith, and men, women, boys and girls come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our prayer is that, God-willing, this is what we shall see during our ministry in Dawlish.