Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Ashley Gardner describes his experience as a first-year Pastor-in-Training at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.

Ashley Gardner

What led you into training for gospel ministry?
My own internal desire to serve the Lord Jesus in a full time capacity. Having explored various others options and coming to a deep dissatisfaction. This was accompanied by encouragement from elders/retired pastors and the doors being opened by the Lord as they were pressed on.


What training had you done prior to your current role?
1 year Cornhill and a ministry apprenticeship at Charlotte Baptist Chapel.


What does training look like day to day?
I currently lead a ministry (11-18 y/o). We teach through the Bible and teach topics relevant to our culture seeking to prepare them for life in the world as Christians. We meet socially to develop relationships key to the Christian life.

I lead services, preach, and have access to elders meetings within my local church. I also serve on a variety of other ministries: evangelistic/service orientated.

My studies take up 4 days in the week at Edinburgh Theological Seminary.


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
Lots and lots, there is so much to be grateful for. Highlights have to be the growth in Bible handling. As Bible handling is the bread and butter of ministry, it’s key to work hard at trying to understand and apply the text. Cornhill was instrumental in this, as was sitting under excellent expository preaching at Charlotte Chapel. 

The formation of character in my own life has also been a highlight. Character is key in ministry and I recognise my many shortfalls. Graciously God is changing me. Recognising the depths of my sin against the backdrop of the richness of God’s Grace in Christ has enabled me to reflect deeper on what my salvation means. Therefore, ministering to others, not out of a sense that I’ve made it, but that Christ is the one we look to. 


What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
I hope to go into some form of full time paid gospel ministry, maybe an Assistant Pastor. I am keeping my ear to the ground, developing relationships with pastors and being open to where the Lord is leading. I’m also submitting to the elders over my care and listening to their recommendations.


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
So far, the Bonar Trust has been a financial benefactor. It is right to say that it would not have been possible to pursue ministry training without the support of the Trust. There are also opportunities in the future to provide some preaching and teaching development, something I’m eager to be involved with.


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

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