Martin Little followed God’s call to ordained ministry, somewhat reluctantly at first.
As a former indie-band leader in Edinburgh, Martin enjoyed releasing his own music and playing gigs in the USA. It was whilst he was playing in the band that he became a Christian, and although he misses the guitar solos, he says that God had other plans for his life.
Powerful experiences of God have shaped the decisions he has taken and in July 2017 Martin was ordained a deacon in the Church of England. He explains in more detail his journey to faith and the priesthood.
I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland but wandered away in my teens. I started asking questions and wanted to find out answers for myself. I spent ten years away from church but continued to have conversations at university. I guess God was always on my case!
I eventually came to faith myself when I was 24 through an evangelical Scottish Episcopal Church in Edinburgh when a friend invited me along to an Alpha course.
It was here that I experienced God in a really powerful way. I had been going through a particularly hard time and felt a very great burden of guilt about a particular thing I’d done. I cried out to God and asked him to take that away. I felt all of the guilt wash away there and then and at that moment I knew I was converted and soon committed myself to following Jesus.
One of the lovely things about that moment; the moment at which I had that experience of feeling the guilt being taken away, I remembered the words from my childhood in the Roman Catholic Church: “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.” There was a lovely sense of God bringing together my faith and making it truly personal to me.
The drawing together of those different strands is probably why I’m an Anglican; I enjoy the liturgy coupled with my experience of a personal conversion.
From Alpha at 24 to ordination at 37, it’s been a long journey. After university, I spent three years at a church Edinburgh; going along, learning more, and getting involved. That was a formative time for me.
They had a vacancy for a youth worker and someone suggested I go for it. At the time I didn’t know what I was doing with my life; I was working for the Royal Bank of Scotland which wasn’t me at all. It took me a long time to come around to the idea that God was pointing me towards ministry in the Church.
But it was another powerful experience of God speaking to me and of him saying, “I really want you to do this” that was the tipping point for me. I remember saying in prayer, “If you want me to do this you’ll have to show me.” At that moment, right there in front of me in the book of Lamentations was a verse about learning wisdom in youth – it’s one of a few instances of the word “youth” in the Bible – I took from that a clear answer from God. I went forward for the Youth role at the church and stayed in the role for five years.
Shortly afterwards, I began joining the dots towards ordained ministry and took a job as a Worship Pastor in Bath. I had applied for the job with some reluctance because of the distance; it felt like a mad decision, but God was in it and calling me towards it. If we hadn’t uprooted as a family from Edinburgh to Bath and followed God’s call, I don’t think I would have ever got around to training for ordination.
I’ve now been studying for two years, and now I’m ordained I can begin my curacy in East Clevedon Benefice.
Coming down South was significant, as was embracing being an Anglican more fully. I sometimes reflect on all of the things that had to have happened for me to be where I am today. I live my life forwards but it’s only by looking backward that it all makes sense. At the time, you have to trust that God is there in the decisions you make.