Pastor Allan Ellershaw
(Senior Pastor, Carnforth, Lancashire)
On 1st January 2009 I took over the role of Lead Pastor at Carnforth FMC as well as continuing to give oversight to the work of the Free Methodist Church in the United Kingdom in a part time capacity, along with the other members of the National Leadership Team. As from 1st June 2012 I have handed over the national responsibility to others to concentrate on local church based ministry. As I look back over my life to this point, I see how God's providence and grace have worked through so many experiences to prepare me for the work I am currently doing.
I was born at Carnforth before moving to live on a farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales with my parents, three sisters and one brother. I came to faith in Jesus Christ as a small child. At home I benefited from the love and example of a godly, Christian family and enjoyed working among our flock of horned sheep. My love of shepherding and caring for a flock was born on the farm.
At junior school I encountered ridicule because of my Christian faith and refusal to swear. It was there the Lord taught me to how to stand for what I believe despite what others may say or do. After leaving school I worked for Barclays Bank, first in branch banking and then in oversight and administration of 66 branches in the north-west of England. It was in the bank that I learned the administrative skills and procedures that are now proving invaluable in the ministry.
As a teenager I worshipped in the Methodist Church and was part of a Christian Youth Fellowship that often took services in village chapels and it was there as a 16 year old I began to preach. In 1974, my wife, Sue and I moved to Birmingham to study at Birmingham Bible Institute. There we encountered an environment in which spiritual gifts were being used constructively and we grew in our understanding and experience of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit. After graduating from Bible College in 1977, I served as an assistant minister in the Free Methodist Church working alongside Rev J Barrie Walton. It was through Barrie Walton that God showed me what it meant to be a caring pastor and capable leader.
God has blessed Sue and I with three special children; Philip, Elisabeth and Andrew, all of whom are seeking to walk with God. Philip is married to Catherine and they live in Preston with their twin daughters, Maisie and Rebecca & their son, Oscar. Elisabeth is married to Paul Yates and they and their daughters Emily and Heidi live in Garstang. Andrew is married to Bethany and they and their son, Jacob live in Carnforth. Through family life God is teaching me to be a loving overseer of God's family.
It has been a privilege for the last 36 years to serve the Lord through the ministry of the Free Methodist Church with its worldwide network of evangelical congregations. During this time God called me to serve the Free Methodist Church in the UK and opened the way for me to minister in Malawi and Rwanda in Africa, the continent of Europe and USA.
While Christian ministry involves many pressures and stresses, I identify strongly with the psalmist, David, when he wrote: "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16 v 5,6