In the latest of our new deacon profiles, we meet Ian Jones who serves at Burscough Bridge St John.
After completing his degree in French Language and Literature at Sheffield University and living in France for two years, Ian became a languages teacher in a secondary school. Then, as a sales rep for a textile design studio he travelled extensively in North America and Canada. For the past 20 years he has lived in Wigan with his wife.
Ian’s journey to ordination was a long one, and at times difficult. Ian said: “I first felt that the Lord's call on my life, one day, would be to enter ordained ministry, when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I just didn't think it would take quite so long to be realised. I first explored the calling I perceived whilst nearing the end of my French degree in the early 1990s, and had the usual series of interviews with a DDO team in Sheffield, but they chose not to send me to what was back then known as the selection conference.”
Ian went forward again in 2005, and whilst this time he got to the selection conference, he was not recommended for training.
Ian said: “I felt the Lord was calling me to try one last time in 2010, and the current DDO, David Parry, put me through to what was now called a Bishops' Advisory Panel. This time, I was recommended, and went to train at Trinity College, Bristol. I think the moral of the story is, if you think God is telling you something, keep exploring it. He may well be saying, ‘Yes, but in My timing, not yours.’"
Before ordination, Ian was a Youth Leader, then Youth Pastor, Cluster Group Co-Leader, Baptism Preparation Leader, Cell Group Leader and PCC Member.
Ian said that he felt drawn to St John’s for a number of reasons: “when I was sent the parish profile to read through, pray over and ponder, my wife and I were bowled over by a real sense that the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully in the church. We were excited by that, and wanted to participate in the Spirit's work here.”
Whilst Ian will take part in all of the different ministries at St John’s, he has a particular interest in outreach and developing men's ministry, building on the work of the previous Curate at St John's: “That means, for me, a combination of leading blokes into a deeper relationship with Jesus, centred around prayer and Bible reflection, whilst also having fun doing typical 'blokey' things (e.g. quad-biking, paint-balling etc.).
“Another deep interest of mine is getting the church out of the church building, meeting people in the community, and chatting to them about Jesus and life over a cup of tea or coffee. So I'm pondering how we might put that into practice here at St John’s.”