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God-given Talents – Robin Gamble

Robin Gamble is vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Idle in Bradford and the diocesan evangelist.

Robin uses popular culture to make God accessible to those outside the church, by running events such as ‘The Gospel according to Queen’, ‘Bart Simpson meets Jesus’ and ‘The Beatles Bible’. Robin features as part of the book ‘John Sentamu’s Faith Stories’ published by Darton Longman and Todd (Feb 2013). (ISBN: 978-0-232-52978-4).

Watch a short video of his faith story here:


The 54-year-old, who is married to Maureen and has two children, Zoe and Phil, said becoming a vicar was not a life path anyone would have predicted.

He confesses to being a tearaway as a teenager, causing his parents no end of grief.

Robin grew up on a tough council estate in West Bowling, Bradford, and was eventually expelled from secondary school.

"I was very insecure at that age and went further and further off the rails," he said.

"My parents dragged me along to Sunday school every week. I guess I believed it all but found it impossible to imagine doing anything about it. Church looked the most boring place in the world where time stood still."

After his expulsion, Robin said he was gently challenged by their local vicar to discover Jesus for himself.

"We had a series of conversations and he challenged me to give my life to Christ," he said.

"It totally changed me and I went for it one hundred per cent."

Robin said he immediately told everyone he met about Jesus.

Later during an evening church service he felt God call him into ordained ministry. Aged just 18, Robin was enrolled at theological college where he trained for five years.

"In one respect it was very intimidating because I was a rough Bradford lad who had never been anywhere and was surrounded by all these sophisticated middle class people. They were actually very loving, caring and patient towards me."

Robin first ministry would see him transform St Augustine's Church, in Bradford, which was on the brink of closure when he took over.

He quickly – and sometimes controversially – became known for his off the wall, fresh approach to evangelism.

"I do think that Jesus is the most fantastic thing in life," Robin said.

"I can't handle the dull, repetitive, religious way that we sometimes do everything in church. I see great signs of hope as more and more churches and Christians are embracing evangelism and following Christ's example. We are seeing churches growing and people coming to faith.

"God's Kingdom is like the mustard seed, it will grow. But if you leave it in the packet on the shelf not a lot is going to happen.

"Everything I've done in my ministry has all been about trying to lead people to Jesus Christ."

Robin said he has overcome periods of doubt and depression during his journey through the love and support of fellow believers.

He now leads a countrywide training course, Leading Your Church Into Growth, dedicated to equipping Christian leaders to doing just that.

"Jesus is the source of that rare thing called joy," he added.

"It's about so much more than having a good time and I believe he is the only place where you can truly find it."