Lucy Thompson

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Lucy Thompson, a second-year apprentice at Chalmers Church, Edinburgh.

Lucy ThompsonWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I did Relay with UCCF in Stirling, and prior to that studied Geography in Dundee University.


What are you learning on your study programme?
I am studying at Cornhill and absolutely loving it! Currently thinking about the ‘shape of pastoral ministry’; what is it biblically speaking, where are our natural strengths and weaknesses, how can we grow and encourage one another in this area, how do men and women differ, how to minister to different age groups, etc. It’s proved to be an encouraging and valuable module.


What does ministry look like day to day?
A lot of the ministry I get to be involved in is with students. I co-lead a Bible study group of about 10 undergraduate girls. I meet up regularly with a couple of them to read the Bible 1-to-1, and check in semi-regularly with the others to see how they are doing in their walk with Jesus. I teach the 6 year olds weekly in the Sunday School, which has been a special joy to see their love for God grow, and how good they are at asking each other and me questions. I help out at Impact (youth club) every other week, my first time working with teenagers.


What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
I’m increasingly seeing how rich God’s word is! The cliché is true of the more you know, the more you realise how much you don’t know. This has been made especially clear through group apprentice training sessions I think. The sessions help spur me on in reading God’s word, reminding me of the riches it contains, giving me glimpses of how as a Christian I can be captivated by God’s word for however long I live and always keep seeing something new and amazing about who God is, being reminded of something I had forgotten or misplaced, something new about what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do. That might all sound a bit abstract but the implications aren’t. It makes me hopeful when I do my daily Bible reading that God is speaking to me, and there is something he is saying that I can cling to or meditate on throughout the day. In turn it means I know how rich God’s word is to feed the people in Chalmers I minister to, allowing me to point them more clearly to Jesus. The sessions also help remind me of the crucial connection between learning about God and turning that into praise and worship and thankfulness.


What are you learning through mentoring?
Roger and Jessi Day mentor me (Assistant Minister at Chalmers and his wife). I’m learning so much from time with them, but what has struck me particularly over the past few months is how they have consistently not just tried to help me practically, but they’ve always pointed me to back to Christ and his love and sufficiency for me. By receiving that myself I hope I am learning how to do the same for others.


What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m still trying to figure this out, but longer term I would love to be and have been encouraged to be involved in ministry in a full time capacity, perhaps as a women’s worker in a local church.


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

Cal Morrison

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Cal Morrison shares his experience training as an Assistant Pastor at Calderwood Baptist Church in East Kilbride.

Cal MorrisonWhat led you into training for gospel ministry?
I had always been interested in learning and teaching the Bible, particularly in a Word Ministry. In 2016 the church I am part of were looking to train somebody, and I had been considered. I thought and prayed about it, and it happened that at the same time a completely opposite opportunity arose in my father-in-law’s business. After looking at past experience in life, work and ministry, past desires, affirmations of others, and my own conscience, it became clearer in my mind what I thought God had been preparing me for and what I desired to do.

After 2 years of Bible training in CTC [Cornhill Training Course] I was asking similar questions again in respect to PTC [Pastors’ Training Course]. One of the things that was difficult with CTC was getting funding, I had always been on the backfoot, and it always seemed to be a challenge of faith. This then became a factor for PTC – Would it be the same struggle to get funding? Does that indicate I shouldn’t do this? I had many doubts and fears again. But eventually I came to conclude that this was figured out and clear 2 years previous. If this was the right trajectory then, I should trust God and press on.


What does training look like day to day?

The various ministries I lead or am involved in are:

Youth Ministry – Bible Class is on Sunday mornings during the service. I generally oversee this, and one of our leaders plans the program and organises the team. Youth Fellowship is on Sunday Evenings. I organise the team for this, prepare the programs and studies, we create dramas and songs, and visit other people too. In all of this, I will be discipling young people, but also training leaders to disciple young people.

I have been working with other youth coordinators locally to start partnering in the gospel, both the leaders and our youth. And something we are working on also is getting all the youth coordinators together in the region, in the gospel partnership we belong to, and planning bigger youth events or conferences.

Prison Ministry – We visit HMP Addiewell twice a month taking their Sunday service. I plan the preaching program for this and preach on a monthly basis.

Preaching – Part of my role as an Assistant Pastor is to preach and lead services on a regular basis. We partner with other churches, so often I will be preaching and leading services 2 or 3 times per month, whether morning and evening services at our church or others. There has been quite a lot of opportunity to preach and also to lead the services, and as such I spend time during the week preparing for these.

Discipleship Explored – I currently co-lead a Discipleship Explored group studying Philippians and leading group discussions and prayer on this.

Children’s Ministry – On Thursday nights I join a team in our children’s ministry for primary school aged children. I am just part of the team, so will be on different duties each week, whether preparing food, facilitating games or presenting the teaching.

Web and Publicity – We try to have an active online presence, regularly updating sermons and content, both on social media and our website. I have always had an interest also in media and design, so I do most of the graphics, media and publicity, whether for online pages and content, or for posters and publicity for events or ministries we do.


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
That ministry is hard, unpredictable, tiring, often unmeasurable, stressful, yet full of pleasant surprises, joyful moments with so many gospel opportunities. I have been learning that many people have various expectations, and I myself often have expectations, but in the end I learn that I often cannot see what God is doing in people’s lives, it is hard to measure and track, and easy to get discouraged. But then often there are surprising moments of encouragement, whether it’s what someone says or does, seeing others built up in faith and speak about Jesus. Having people encourage me and build me up. Seeing people become united in heart and mind and purpose. Having the opportunity to study, learn, teach and preach the Bible is one of the greatest privileges and highlights of ministry, to show people from the word of God how amazing the gospel is and how great Jesus is! I love having the opportunity to work with other leaders too, being in a position to develop them as leaders and in their own faith, and to work with young people alongside others.

My training in Cornhill has been invaluable in terms of teaching and preaching the Bible, whether in studies or sermons and such, but one of the biggest learning curves having the opportunity to be so involved in the local church is how to apply that pastorally, seeing the very wide range of people and situations the word of God is speaking to. This has been really helpful, and seeing other teachers, preachers, pastors do so, whether from the pulpit or in personal interactions, has been very beneficial.


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The support of the Bonar Trust has enabled me to go into full-time ministry as an assistant pastor of a church and training in PTC. This support has enabled me to be trained both in the local church for gospel ministry in the thick of church life, and also in Cornhill having the support of a network of training ministers with a pattern of theological and practical training to help not only ourselves develop in gospel ministry but to multiply in gospel ministry, training and developing others.

Without the support of the Bonar Trust, particularly as a 30-something husband and father of two young children, I would not be able to do gospel ministry full-time and be trained to do such. I likely wouldn’t have as much of a capacity or ability to multiply, giving the time to develop others for gospel ministry, as I myself would have limited time and a lack of support and training.

I definitely appreciate not only the personal support from the Bonar Trust, but that there are people, like the Bonar Trust, who are dedicated to enabling others to be trained and prepared for gospel ministry. As such, I think of Paul’s comments in Philippians in respect to those who would partner in the gospel, and to defend and advance the gospel. This is what the Bonar Trust are doing, and I am thankful for the opportunity and privilege to be a part of that.


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

Caelan Barnes

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Caelan Barnes, a second-year ministry apprentice at St Andrews Free Church in St Andrews, Fife.


Caelan BarnesWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I studied Pure Mathematics at the University of St Andrews.


What are you learning at Cornhill?
In general we’re learning how to handle scripture that we might effectively teach it to other people. Recently we’ve been looking at Old Testament narratives, Revelation, and John’s Gospel, as well as the more systematic topics of union with Christ and aspects of pastoral ministry.


What does ministry look like day to day?
Most of my work revolves around three things: administrative tasks, preparatory work for teaching engagements, and then enacting that work in the teaching of scripture to others. On the administrative front I organise our monthly student lunches as well as maintain the church’s website, make service sheets, and any other tasks that the top brass assign me. As for the teaching situations that I’m preparing for, they include preaching, Sunday school, student Bible studies, and 1-to-1 discipleship. All in all it’s a rather mixed bag! 


What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
It’s difficult to isolate one thing because as I’ve learned: ministry is rather varied. I think the biggest thing I’ve grown in though is my ability to teach biblical truths in various contexts. Be it in the pulpit, Sunday school, student Bible studies or 1-to-1 discipleship situations I have grown much in my ability to helpfully and clearly guide others to the truth.

There’s two things I enjoy particularly though. First, studying God’s word, particularly the initial stages of understanding the passage and then nuancing and sharpening my application later on in the preparation process. Second, helping others to see for themselves how the Bible shapes their lives. Often individuals can be struggling with a certain issue that’s only symptomatic of something deeper that they don’t realise. Helping them to see this for themselves by asking good questions and then guiding them to the application of scripture to that situation is very rewarding. It also helps me grow in my godliness as I frequently unearth subterranean issues in myself while I’m helping people unearth theirs!


What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by Hamish Sneddon. As he’s mentored me I’ve been learning perseverance in the strength that Christ gives us as we carry out the work of his gospel. I’ve found my time as a ministry trainee difficult and constantly returning to why we do it and who’s power we do it in has been a recurring theme in our supervision meetings.


What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
At this juncture in my life I don’t think further formal ministry is the immediate next step. That’s not to say I’ll never do it, I just don’t think now is the right time. Instead my current plan is to return to studying in St Andrews, transitioning into philosophy, whilst continuing to serve in as large a capacity as they’ll allow me at St Andrews Free Church.


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

Kirsty Scott

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Kirsty Scott, a first-year ministry apprentice at Hawick Baptist Church in the Scottish Borders.

Kirsty ScottWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
For the past 4 years I have been working as a primary school teacher in the Scottish Borders.


What are you learning at Cornhill?
So far we have been working through a series of Bible Overview lectures tracking God’s incredible salvation plan. Within our smaller teaching groups I have had the opportunity to prepare and deliver some talks expounding Bible passages. My favourite part so far has been an in-depth study of the book of Exodus.


What does ministry look like day to day?
This term my day-to-day ministry opportunities are wrapped up in learning, planning, and preparations. My current priority is that I will be able to build relationships with a new core of young people in Hawick. I have also scheduled in meetings over the next few weeks to build relationships with gospel-minded Christians in the town who are already working in schools to see how I can support this work. I organised events in the lead up to Christmas, for example, a Christmas Craft Afternoon in order to invite people of all ages to our Christmas services and a Christmas Party for young people as a promo for what will be happening in Youth Group in 2020. I am  developing a teaching plan for children and youth that we can run with in 2020 and part of this preparation involves delivering some training for our Sunday school leaders.


What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
Making myself available for gospel opportunities! I have been praying for opportunities to meet young people. I was recently at a Christians in Sport training and equipping night and as a result I met a lady who is involved with a junior running club and so hopefully I will be able to have an opportunity there to use my love of running to go and help with this running club and meet young people in the town.


What are you learning through mentoring?
Martin Smith (Lead Pastor, Hawick Baptist Church) and Agnes Brough (Cornhill Scotland) mentor me. We have a focus on three big principles: character, competence and convictions. The apprenticeship is an opportunity for me to grow in all three areas and to help me on my way we have identified some helpful reading material for me to work through and provide feedback on during my supervisions. This term I am reading a book called Christian Youth Work by Mark Ashton and Phil Moon to help me as I seek to develop a gospel centred foundation for our youth ministry.


What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I hope that there will be an opportunity for me to continue to work for or at least continue to serve the local church in whatever capacity is needed.


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