James Porter to be licensed for the ministry in Connor Presbyterian Church near Ballymena.
Family, friends and the congregation will celebrate with James as he is licensed for the ministry at a service in the church on Sunday, 10th June 2018.
James was baptised in Wellington Street Presbyterian, Ballymena by Rev. David Alderdice and worshipped briefly at Loanends when his family lived at Nutt’s Corner, but James states that his most formative years were spent in Connor:
“In 1997 we moved to Connor and the late David Cathcart “welcomed us in out of the cold”. We joined the Church there and the rest is history”, he quipped.
James believes that the fellowship there has been very influential on his life and faith. He is thankful to have had many Godly leaders and ministers throughout the years.
He went on to say: “I grew up in a Christian home. We were sent to the usual church activities, but nothing was compulsory. I remember being asked in P6 if I was a Christian. My conclusion was that because my parents and grandparents were Christians, then I must’ve been one too.”
“When I started secondary school, aged 11, I went through that teenage rebellious stage and stopped going to Boys’ Brigade and other youth events. My dad, a few months later, asked me if I would consider going back to B.B? I eventually went along with my friend, Mark Mawhinney, and there I heard the story about the Wide and Narrow Roads in Matthew 7.”
James recalled: “Struggling with anxiety I didn’t ask for an explanation, but I fretted, asking, what road am I on? That week I received a message to come to Youth Fellowship from several elders, Geoffrey Allen and David Preston, and so I went. (I confess girls where the bigger attraction!) That night we heard the story of Nicodemus and it was then that I realised, that in order for me to walk the narrow road towards enteral life, I had to be born again. That night I surrender my life to the Lord. It wasn’t easy, I fell away for a few years, but God brought me back to himself again, to which I am truly grateful!”
Ever faithful, God began to reveal his plan for James’ life and soon blessed the young man with clear direction.
The 25-year-old remembers: “I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t thought about it shortly after my conversion, aged 11. Many had joked that I’d end up a “wee Presbyterian Minister” someday! Little did I know that my Grandmother had been praying that a grandchild would go into the ministry!”
“At age 17, I was asked to take on more leadership roles within B.B. Youth Fellowship and Bible Class and I felt that something was going on in my life. I was also asked to speak at our youth service, and I realised the Lord had a plan for my life. I spoke to my then minister, Richard Murray, and he said that he felt I had the gifts for ministry, but he encouraged me to do another degree and see how the Lord would lead me. In my second year of my Business degree I really felt a call to go into the ministry, and yet I really wanted to teach! So, when the doors closed to apply for PGCE, I applied for the ministry and I was accepted.”
James reveals that he thoroughly enjoyed studying at Union Theological College, despite toiling with Greek and Hebrew. He is now looking forward to serving his ‘assistantship’ in Templepatrick Presbyterian under Rev. Richard Kerr.
Looking ahead to the next phase of his life, James added: “My hopes for the future are to continue growing in my love and devotion to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That I will be a faithful minister of His word to those whom I have the privilege to minister to. That God will use me to present the gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear and consistent way. That I will be used to encourage people to see the need of Jesus in their life, and to build up his people in their faith.”
James Porter to be licensed for the ministry in Connor Presbyterian Church
Everyone in Connor is absolutely thrilled about James’ licensing. Offering congratulations on behalf of his ‘home’ congregation, Rev. Phil Thompson said: “A licensing service is not only a significant occasion for the person being licensed to ministry and their family, but the church family they have been nurtured in also. We are delighted that James has been called by God into full ministry and has been obedient to that call. It is a great encouragement for his church family to see James reaching this point and we look forward to welcoming to Connor members of Presbytery and those who have been significant in James’ life.”