The benefit of intentional investment in Ministry Training

Simon AttwoodOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Simon Attwood lives in Glasgow and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2014-16.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Newcastle but have spent the last 7 years in Scotland after completing an anatomy and physiology degree at Dundee university. I’m currently a UCCF staff worker with the CUs at Strathclyde and Caledonian

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I was on the Relay program with UCCF as a graduate and went from that to train on the ministry associate program at Chalmers church in Edinburgh alongside training at Cornhill Scotland.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

I had a lot of investment in my life from UCCF workers I have been under the care of over my time at university. Their example encouraged me to seek opportunities to serve in the years after university. In my time on the Relay program I was asked to visit Chalmers Church as a potential place of further training, after the application and interview progress I was offered a place on the program and decided that it would be a great opportunity to further my skills in ministry and try out potential areas of service for the future.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

It wouldn’t be going too far to say without the investment of the Bonar trust I wouldn’t have been able to complete my training at Chalmers. The intentional investment in ministry training is invaluable to myself and many others.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

I work full time as the UCCF staff worker for Strathclyde and Caledonian Christian Unions, mentoring, training and coordinating students to live and speak Christ centered and intentionally evangelistic lives whilst at university.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

Challenge – helping students to persevere in an increasingly anti-Christian university culture.

Joy – Seeing lives changed by the truth of the gospel and seeing people drawn ever closer to Christ by getting to grips with the bible for themselves.

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Simon, you can find all the information here.

Good for my head and heart

Martin Smith

Martin Smith is in his final year as a pastor in training at Charlotte Chapel.  He shares his experience of the Bonar Trust’s January Preaching Workshop.

 

 

I’ve been so helped by the Bonar trust over the last four years of receiving support, but few things have been as markedly beneficial as the time spent with other church leaders in training.

Our days together in January were the second time that we have gathered together with Robin and Paul to dedicate out time to growing as preachers and leaders.  Robin and Paul both taught on how to handle specific sections of the bible which was followed by preaching groups where each of us preached and received feedback.  The clear focus of the retreat was on handling and teaching God’s word well.  It was so helpful in that it gave a clear reminder of the centrality of preaching in the life of the church, as well as practical help on how to faithfully teach the word.  You might think,  that pastors-in-training  would know that teaching the bible is a big deal and shouldn’t be needing so much help! But it can be astonishing how easily priorities get obscured, and how bad habits when handling the bible can creep in and the basics can be forgotten.

I greatly benefitted being encouraged to keep preaching amidst its challenges, and by being reminded of how important it is to get to the heart and the aim of each bible book and passage is.  Considering these things in an environment of honesty, humility and passion for the gospel with fellow workers, was good for my head and heart as a servant and follower of Jesus.  I really believe that that input and those relationships are vital in equipping and sustaining those who plan to spend their lives teaching Christ in Scotland and further afield.  Thanks to all involved, can’t wait for the next one!

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Martin, you can find all the information here.

It’s not just funding

A few weeks ago, a group of 12 Church Leaders in Training met in St Andrews for the second Bonar Trust Preaching Workshop.  Their aim was to grow as disciples of Jesus as God spoke to them by his Spirit through his word and to help each other to become better preachers.  The Workshop was led by Robin Sydserff of Chalmers Church, Edinburgh, and Paul Clarke of St Andrews Free Church – two of the Trust’s Directors.
We asked Paul what they got up to…
What happened during your time together?
We were together for just a day and a half, and there was definitely no rocket science in what we did! We had two main sessions… one on Preaching Old Testament Narrative (Robin) and one on Preaching from the Gospels (Paul). But the bulk of our time was given to listening to one another preach. Each delegate brought with them a full-length sermon that they had preached recently – they preached it ‘live’ to a group of 6 and then received some constructive feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the talk.
What is the aim of the time together?
We know that one of the main ways (the main way?) that God leads his church today is through the preaching of his word. We know that preaching is the bread and butter of the Church Minister’s week… every week…. and yet all too often, preachers can go for years without receiving any real help on how they can do that vital task better. Some of the men on the conference have been preaching for years but have never received any feedback on their preaching. We started these little workshops with the simple aim that all of us might become better preachers of the glorious life-giving word of God.
What are the benefits?
The friendships that have grown among the Church Leaders in Training over the last few years give a wonderful context to a workshop like this. I suppose there might be a danger of a competitive spirit between the delegates in this sort of environment but we had none of that – just real warmth, trust and mutual support as we tried to help each other to become better preachers for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. I learnt a huge amount from listening to these young men preach & came away excited to think about the way that God might use these 12 in Scotland in the years to come!
How does this fit with the vision of the Bonar Trust?
The workshop happened because some of those who are funded by the Trust asked us to run it. Until recently, we have thought of ourselves exclusively as providers of funding for those being trained in Christian ministry. Others are now encouraging us to provide some hands-on preaching training as well. These small workshops seem to be a great complement to the other preacher training initiatives already happening in Scotland and we are therefore hoping to run a handful of these workshops each year. Watch this space for details!
Come back on Thursday to read what one of the church leaders in training thought.

Building links with the Free Church

On Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Calum Cameron lives in Edinburgh and was support by the trust in 2015-16.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m 22, originally from a wee place near Inverness, and I’m training to be a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I studied for three years at Highland Theological College UHI, and I spent a year working full time as a ministry apprentice in Kilmallie Free Church, a church in a busy community near Fort William.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

A strong desire to serve God and serve others with my gifts; to teach and communicate God’s word to others; and to help and support people pastorally with their burdens and struggles. After much prayer, time spent in God’s word, and opportunities to test my gifts under the leadership of my local church, it became clear to me that God was leading me to serve in this way. I was also encouraged and supported by my church leadership, family and mature Christian friends who knew me well, and who were able to provide me with guidance and wisdom.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

The Bonar Trust generously supported me for a vital part of my living costs during the year I was working full time in Kilmallie Free Church. One of the barriers to going full time was the cost of living expenses, so it was a real blessing that God was able to provide in that way through the Bonar Trust.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

I’m now continuing to train for ministry as I study theology at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, and I work part-time for St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

I have found that a great challenge of working in ministry is time management. Some weeks it is difficult to balance sermon preparation with time spent with people, church events, activities and meetings, along with reading and writing essays, and trying to maintain a healthy balance between work and rest.

A profound joy of working in ministry is the opportunity both to witness God’s transformation in people’s lives as they respond to the gospel, and to see Christians grow and develop as they are discipled.

If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Calum, you can find all the information here.