Enabling growth in leadership skills

Alistair ChalmersOn 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.

Alistair Chalmers lives in Edinburgh and is currently supported by the Bonar Trust.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Wales to Glaswegian parents and at age 12 I moved to Romania with my parents on the mission field. Romania was home for seven years, during this time I worked alongside my father in the church that he pastors. Whilst in Romania I felt a deep desire to go into ministry and Christians around me encouraged me to walk down that path. I moved to Austria for 3 years, got married, and then in 2013 my wife and I moved to Edinburgh. We moved to Edinburgh because we knew that I needed training and Bible College seemed to be the next step, so I studied at the Faith Mission Bible College. During my studies, our desire to share the gospel grew and my desire to preach and to lead a congregation grew even more, further training was required. I joined the Ministry associate program at Chalmers Church Edinburgh and am currently in my second and final year.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I joined the ministry associate at Chalmers Church Edinburgh in August 2015.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

My desire to preach the Word of God and to see the church of Christ built up is what lead me into training for gospel ministry. I have always enjoyed seeing people grow in their faith and become more spiritually mature in Christ.

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

The Bonar Trust has supported me with grant money over the last two years and has been a huge blessing to us. These grants have made it possible for me to get my training at Chalmers Church and have given me the opportunity to grow personally and in leadership skills and gifts.

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

One of the biggest challenges I find in ministry is being able to adapt talks and Bible studies to suit all ages, especially when you work with people whose ages ranges from 12-70.

One of the greatest joys about being in ministry is seeing somebody just understand what the Bible is saying, when people have that ‘lightbulb moment’ and everything makes sense. After the lightbulb moment, it is amazing to see how that knowledge of the Bible and of God changes the way they live their lives, the way they worship God with everything they have, and the way they view God.

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

Supporting women as well as men

Rachel SloanOn 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.

Rachel Sloan lives in Edinburgh and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2010-2012.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Belfast but I left when I was six, hence no accent! I lived in England for 7 years before moving to Edinburgh when I was 13 years old. Edinburgh very much feels like home now! I grew up in a Christian family and committed my life to Christ at a young age.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I  undertook the Ministry Associate Programme at Chalmers Church which included involvement in the church and completing the Cornhill course in Glasgow.  After finishing this 2 year programme I started working at Charlotte Chapel as their Women’s Ministry Coordinator.  In 2015 I started studying part-time for a Bachelor of Theology degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary while continuing to work at Charlotte Chapel.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

From my final year of high school I was heavily involved in youth work particularly with Scripture Union.  I always had a passion to tell others about Jesus and to teach the Bible.  Leaving university I knew I had a desire to be involved in full-time ministry but was unsure how and what it should be.  I trained to be a teacher and a couple of years into teaching the desire hadn’t changed so I started exploring options.  A conversation with my minister, Robin Sydserff, led to me applying for the apprenticeship programme at our church.

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

Leaving a full-time teaching job to start the ministry associate programme was made much easier through the support of the Bonar Trust.  It meant financial concerns were less of a worry and I could concentrate on my training.

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

Within my role as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Charlotte Chapel, I lead bible studies, disciple younger women, organise events and much more. I am particularly passionate about training and equipping women to grow and develop the gifts and abilities God has given them for service.

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

The greatest joy is getting to speak to people about the gospel and Jesus on a daily basis. I love being able to open the Bible with people and show them how God speaks to them  through it today. It is even better when you see God transforming lives by His Holy Spirit.
The greatest challenge is to retain a desire for personal Bible study and prayer. When spending your work hours in the Bible it can be easy to let personal habits slide. I have learnt time and time again that when I am not deepening my relationship with God I am much more tempted to rely on myself. In those times I either become proud or feel overwhelmed. To keep going in ministry I need to be growing in my dependence on God which comes through spending time with him.

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

Support for those church planting

Ali SewellOn 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.

Ali Sewell lives in Edinburgh and has been supported by the Bonar Trust since 2012.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Preston in England. Married to Julie with a 2 year old daughter, Emily, and another one on the way in Feb 2017. Prior to moving to Edinburgh to train for gospel ministry I worked as an outdoor activities instructor in the Highlands of Scotland and still enjoy all sorts of sports when time allows. Realistically I spend more time reading books and going to children’s soft play areas and parks.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

Julie and I moved to Edinburgh so that I could take part in the Ministry Associate Programme at Chalmers Church which included involvement in the church and completing the Cornhill course in Glasgow. After finishing this 2 year programme I went on to study for a Bachelor of Theology degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary whilst taking up an assistant role at Christ Church Edinburgh. I currently in the final year of the degree which has been incredibly helpful and seems to have flown by!

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

People at my previous church suggested I had gifts which would be suited for ministry, and I began the Ministry Associate Programme to test whether this was right and, if so, what form of ministry might be right. Shortly into the programme I felt that full time ministry was a way in which I could serve God and other people, including Robin the minister, agreed and encouraged me to seek a way forward to full time leadership of a church.

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

Coming to train for ministry from paid employment and with a family to look after would have been essentially impossible without the ongoing financial support of the Bonar Trust. It’s continual support has allowed me to invest time in my training and to reap the maximum benefit, rather than seeking to finish as quickly as possible due to financial pressures. I am certain this training has set good foundations in place for a lifetime of ministry. The personal support and encouragement of those at the Trust has also been a great help.

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

I’m still completing my degree but working in a local church at the same time with a range of different responsibilities. After training I expect to be involved in church planting in Scotland with the Free Church, I’m currently looking to identify locations with little or no gospel witness where this would be of most benefit.

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

One great joy is recognising more and more how the bible contains the answers to the difficulties people are facing whoever they are and whatever their challenges. It’s a privilege to be able to connect people with God’s word so that they can see he knows them, cares for them, and has acted through the death and resurrection of Jesus to secure their eternal future if they put their trust in him.

A major challenge is the constant recognition of my own failures and weaknesses. The challenges of time pressures, especially while studying, mean that I don’t speak this good news of the gospel to people as much as I would like, and often plans move forward slower than I would like!

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