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.
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.