Talking ministry: 'God needs people to serve Him'

A minister has spoken movingly of how his path into ministry began after hitting rock-bottom as a teenager before realising he had a calling to support others through his faith.

Nigel Chikanya

Note: this article contains references to suicidal thoughts.

Rev Nigel Chikanya, who has been the minister of Ardrossan and Saltcoats Kirkgate since 2020, was speaking as part of the monthly Talking Ministry series.

At his lowest ebb he attempted suicide, but a chance encounter with a group of Christians convinced him that he had a purpose and led him to eventually begin studying for the ministry.

Mr Chikanya said: "For me, from that moment onwards I had a purpose so the journey started from there where I felt that God wanted to use me to identify people who were in the same scenario as I was.

"Even though I could preach and lead a service I realised the main instrument of my life was to help people - people who were struggling."

Exploring ministry

After this, Mr Chikanya began to explore ministry further by speaking to people from across denominations.

"When the call came in August of 2003 I really fought it and at that time I was hoping to become an accountant so it all came by surprise," he said.

"I went to 50 ministers in my town and asked them 'how did God call you' and 'how did you know'?

"In the end it took almost six months speaking to people. I realised every person's journey is different and my journey looked different.

"Then I shared with my minister, and he said 'I knew you were called!'"

Originally from Zimbabwe, he then studied for a Bachelors in Theology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and at the same completed a degree in Greek and Hebrew followed by a masters in theology.

Mr Chikanya was subsequently ordained in the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa and now enjoys playing tennis, running and volleyball as well as spending time in nature.

Married to Saviour with two sons, Deuel, who is eight, and Dylan, who is one, he transferred to the Church of Scotland in 2019.

Serving God

Reflecting on what he would advise someone exploring their calling he said: "God needs people to serve Him.

"He needs people to work, to come to the fore, to be involved.

"Just like me, you don't need to be thinking big.

"Small things matter and small things put together bring about things that are huge, that people can identify and say, 'Wow! God is at work in this'.

"Don't hesitate to listen to what other people have gone through.

"It's not only a feeling, it's what you hear, it's what you see, it's what you experience which leads you to say this could be God calling on me. It's tough but you will not regret it.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article we would encourage you to contact the Samaritans.

Read more

Each month throughout 2022, the Talking Ministry series will share a personal story from those serving in Christian ministry, as well as discernment resources filled with questions, prayers and reflections to help encourage your own reflection on how God might be calling you.

You can read Rev Nigel Chikanya's full interview and access the resources for January on our Talking Ministry page.