New Publicity

The Bonar Trust has recently updated all its publicity. As Trustees we hope this will give you greater clarity about the vision and ongoing work of the Trust.

We now have a General Overview booklet available that covers the various aspects of the Trust’s work.

We have also updated our Profiles booklet, introducing you to some of the individuals the Trust has funded in the past, some we are currently funding, and some of the partner churches and training institutions we work with.

Additionally, we have updated our giving information. You can now download the new Giving to the Trust booklet with all the different ways you can donate to the Trust. We also have a new document for those who are interested in leaving a legacy for the Trust.

Jonny Gilmour

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Jonny Gilmour tells us about his experience as a second-year Minister in Training at Chalmers Church Edinburgh.

Jonny Gilmour

What led you into training for gospel ministry?
I became a Christian when I was quite young and was very fortunate to be around a gospel teaching church throughout my youth, as well as having Christian parents who told me about Jesus from a very young age. When I went to university, I began to teach and preach the Bible and found that I had an aptitude and a real love for doing so. I was encouraged by the (hugely supportive) elders of the church I attended as a student to carry out some further training, so I completed the Cornhill training course in Glasgow whilst working as a youth worker for that church. 

During that year, my convictions about the importance of the good news of Jesus, the importance of his word being taught clearly, and my love for his people grew. I therefore felt drawn towards vocational gospel ministry in the future, but thought that I would benefit from a few years of working in a different environment first. I trained as a litigation solicitor and worked in law for a few years, all whilst continuing to teach the Bible and becoming an elder in my local church, Chalmers. The opportunity to pursue further vocational ministry training then arose in Chalmers, and it felt as though it was the right time and definitely the right place to begin further training, with a view to moving into vocational gospel ministry.


What training had you done prior to your current role, if any?
Prior to commencing my current role, I had completed the Cornhill course in Glasgow and worked for another church as a youth worker for a year. I was then a non-vocational elder with Chalmers for 3 years before beginning full time training in the summer of 2018.


What does training look like day to day?
My Minister in Training role is an example of partnership training, which means that my training input comes both from a local church, in my case Chalmers, and from an external training provider, in my case Edinburgh Theological Seminary (ETS). Locating training in a local church was important for me. The primary reason for that is that that’s where training is located in the New Testament. Local churches have a responsibility for identifying and discipling elders and leaders for the future, whether those leaders are vocational or not, and the partnership training model means that at least part of ministry training input comes from a local church.

For me, a significant part of that has involved teaching the Bible regularly and receiving feedback on that teaching. It has also included regular training seminars in practical ministry and Bible handling from more senior ministry staff. Perhaps the most important aspect of locating training in a local church doesn’t actually relate to competencies, however. Giftedness to teach the Bible is a key qualification for any church leader, and a key part of my training is in how to teach the Bible better. Other key qualifications for any church leader are a love for the Lord Jesus and godliness, so locating training in a local church family means that training is part of a bigger picture of discipleship and accountability.

In addition to training with a local church, I also have training from an external training provider in ETS. At ETS, we are able to spend time on elements of training that a local church like Chalmers just can’t realistically cover, like learning biblical languages. ETS provide all of that input in a really robust way and, wonderfully, the teaching comes from lecturers who love the Lord Jesus, love his word, and love his church.

Those two elements of training input – ETS and Chalmers – are physically separate, but each aspect bleeds into the other. What I learn at ETS is therefore shaping the way I approach what I do with Chalmers, not least how I preach and teach the Bible, and what I see in church life in Chalmers makes me reflect differently on what I’m studying at ETS. They are a really good complement to one another.


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
I have learned a huge amount over the course of my training so far. The biggest learning point has not been new, however, but has been a deepening conviction in something I was already conscious of: that God is a speaking God, and that his word is powerful. The highlight of my training so far has therefore been personally witnessing the impact of God’s word on people’s lives. Seeing Christians growing in their faith as they study the Bible, particularly with other Christians, and witnessing people who aren’t yet Christians really engaging with Jesus in the pages of the Bible, is a genuine privilege.


What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
When I finish training, I hope to lead a local church somewhere in Scotland as a Minister/Pastor. My sense is that I am more likely to lead an already existing church rather than planting a new one, as many of my peers have done. I have been wrong many times before though, and I’d very happily be proven wrong again!


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The Bonar Trust has already played a significant role in my training. The trustees organise conferences, where groups of people involved in training roles in churches gather from across Scotland to study the Bible together, to teach it to each other and receive constructive feedback from more experienced Bible teachers. This is tremendously helpful, not only in sharpening each others’ teaching and preaching, but also in growing a network of likeminded church leaders across the country.

Additionally, I receive financial support from the Trust. I have a young family, so taking a step out of a secure job in law and into training for vocational ministry on a part time church salary was not without risk. Without the financial support of the Bonar Trust, there is no way I would have been able to do what I am doing, so I am very thankful for the work of the trust, and for those who contribute that work.


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


James Amour

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. Today’s post introduces James Amour, who is a first-year ministry apprentice at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.


James Amour

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I worked in a marketing agency as a digital designer. 


What are you learning on your study programme at Cornhill?
I’m learning that my body doesn’t like early starts as well as how to study the Bible, how to interpret passages truthfully, and how to faithfully and effectively convey these truths to others. 


What does ministry look like day to day?
My days are very varied but an average day would consist of some reading and studying in the morning. Then, in the afternoon I might have a meeting or study with someone. In the evening I might have a ministry to attend such as the student ministry or home group study. 


What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
The most important thing I’m learning is what goes on in a church behind the scenes. It’s quite humbling to see the paid staff as well as church members so committed to their roles and tasks. Everyone is working hard and diligently to see the people of Edinburgh come to Christ. It’s inspired me to be a red-hot church member wherever I end up in the future. 


What are you learning through mentoring?
My mentor is Liam Garvie. Meeting with Liam on a weekly basis is undoubtedly the highlight of the week. He teaches us how to read and study the Bible for ourselves, we review and discuss books, and ask him questions about ministry that might be on our minds. 


What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not yet sure if I would like to return to secular work or be involved in paid-ministry. 


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

Rowan Corrigan

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Rowan Corrigan, a first-year ministry apprentice at St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh, tells us about her experience as an apprentice so far.


Rowan Corrigan

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before my apprenticeship, I studied Physics for 4 years at Heriot Watt before spending a year on the Relay programme with UCCF based at Napier University. 


What are you learning at Cornhill?
Cornhill is really helping me to be able to listen to God’s voice. I’m really enjoying digging so deeply into the Bible and unpacking its riches. Every week, I feel as though I am blown away by Jesus and His fulfilment of the Old Testament. It’s helping me to love Jesus more. 


What does ministry look like day to day?
The highlight of my week is always the teenager groups. It is such a joy to see so many young people excited and being built up to speak and live for Jesus throughout their years at high school. I spend a lot of time during the week meeting with a variety of women from around the congregation and am enjoying continuing to meet with students. 


What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
A massive thing that I am learning right now is seeing how much of working in a church is learning to listen to God and to watch Him at work within the congregation. It’s an encouragement to see that all of the work is led by God and not by man. It is such an encouragement to watch the Spirit doing amazing things around the church daily.  


What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by a woman at my church who I have been meeting with for the last 4 years. By openly talking about my struggles, I am often reminded and encouraged that we do not face the Christian life alone, and that we all walk together to bring us closer to Jesus. 


What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not really sure what my plans will be post-apprenticeship. I’d love to stay in ministry, potentially as a women’s worker for a church.



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