Steve Wilkinson, out of the comfort zone
Steve Wilkinson knows what it is like to live a life where he is consistently challenged to step out of his comfort zone. Ordination is another step for Steve and his family as they move to the rural Lacock area in Chippenham Deanery - and he's sure it won't be the last.
When, as a project manager in the electronics industry, Steve felt that it was time to move on to a new job, he did not realise that it would mean a radical change of direction.
"Jesus often asks us to step out of our comfort zones – he once asked Peter to walk on water," he reflects. "He hasn’t asked me to do that yet, but he did ask me to change the direction of my life!"
But as he explored ordination, doors flew wide open. Not that this meant the road was easy. "Starting training involved displacing my family to the other side of the country in the full knowledge that it will all happen again a couple of years later. Tasha, my wife, and our two childre, Beth (14) and Isaac (10) are proving remarkably resilient to the frequent process of moving house."
As Steve has taken each step, he has been amazed by God's grace. "When we respond in obedience to God’s call he is always faithful to us, and while things aren’t easy when you’re living on half your previous salary level somehow somebody always seems to know when you need help, a bit of extra cash, or support."
During training, his expectations have also been challenged. "Before I started training I had a different idea of what training would involve than what turned out to be the case. I suppose I thought that I would emerge with a lot of answers. Actually I’ve come out with a lot more questions, but more importantly the toolkit with which to start to answer them. It was another step along the way for me."
Steve is looking forward to his next step and the part he might play in helping others along the way.
"I hope simply that I can help people make initial, or further, steps on their Christian journey, as others have helped me," he says.
At the same time, Steve is aware of some of the challenges that his new ministry will bring. "I enjoy watching Formula 1 which could lead to some difficult decisions: 8am Communion Service or Australian Grand Prix? Thank God for hard-disk recorders." But more seriously, he concludes:
"I am stepping out of my comfort zone again by living and working in a rural environment for the first time. Like Peter, I’ll be keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus."