Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Calum Cameron, a first-year Minister in Training at St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh.
What led you into training for gospel ministry?
Several years ago, through opportunities in my local church, I found that I had a strong desire to serve the Lord with the gifts he had given to me. I really loved preaching and handling God’s Word in a variety of settings. After some time of testing, praying and discussing, it became clear that the Lord could use me in full time pastoral ministry. I found clarity about this primarily in two ways: my own personal desire to do it, along with the wisdom, advice and recognition of my church leaders.
What training had you done prior to your current role, if any?
I’ve enjoyed a helpful combination of local church experience and theological training – both essential components of training for pastoral ministry!
I studied theology at undergraduate level for three years at Highland Theological College UHI, followed by another three years at Edinburgh Theological Seminary. During this time, I was a ministry apprentice in Ferintosh Free Church up in the Black Isle, then I was a ministry apprentice in Kilmallie Free Church over on the West Coast. In 2016 I became a ministry candidate for the Free Church of Scotland, and during my first three years in Edinburgh I worked in a training role at St Columba’s Free Church. In May 2019 I finished my bachelor’s degree, and in September I passed my final ministry exam and was licensed for ministry in the Free Church of Scotland.
What does training look like day to day?
In my role at St Columba’s I have opportunities to lead worship services and preach regularly, both through expository series (going through and unpacking a book in the Bible) and standalone sermons. I also have the privilege of leading small group Bible studies and one-to-one discipleship with young men. I’ve spent a lot of time working with our student group. Some of my time is spent on admin and various office tasks. I attend leadership meetings and regular training seminars. I also receive regular input, supervision, and feedback from my ministers and elders.
My master’s (at ETS) is mostly research, essays, and self-study throughout the year, but each term all the postgraduate students get together fortnightly for seminars where someone will present their thesis followed by a time of discussion. It’s so great to dig deeper in God’s Word together!
What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
One of the key things I have learned is how little I actually know! The further on I go in my training, the more I am humbled by the glory of God, the rich depths of his word, and the extravagance of his grace in using someone as weak and limited as me. It’s such a privilege to spend so much time in study, reflection, and prayer. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own personal character, with all my flaws and faults – leading me to be even more intensely aware of my dependence on Jesus. I’ve learned so much about discipleship and the pastoral complexities involved in getting alongside people and their various problems and struggles. I’ve loved learning about the history of the church – there’s so much to learn from the people of God who have gone before us! I love biblical theology and seeing how God’s amazing plan of redemption can be traced from beginning to end. It’s hard to choose highlights because it’s all so exciting!
What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
I am already licensed for ministry in the Free Church, so I will be considering various opportunities here over the next year and a half – there are so many avenues of service, including vacant congregations who need a minister, planting a new church somewhere, or taking up an assistant minister post in a more established congregation.
But ultimately, my hope is to help make Jesus known in Scotland. I think that sometimes the problem in Scotland is hostility and opposition. But it’s very easy to overstate that. I think for many people in Scotland today, the reason they don’t believe is ignorance and apathy. In other words, people just don’t know who Jesus is. As Paul put it, how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? My hope essentially is to tell people about Jesus, to proclaim his good news, and to help equip his people to love him and live for him in this world. I’d be thrilled if God can use me to help with that, even in a small way! The where and how is something I will be praying about over the next year and a half.
What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The Bonar Trust generously supported me financially during 2015-16 while I was working full time as a ministry apprentice in Kilmallie Free Church. This opportunity absolutely would not have been possible without God’s amazing provision for me through the Bonar Trust, and I’m still incredibly grateful!
The Trust is also supporting me this year in my position as a Minister in Training – an amazing opportunity I would not have been able to experience without the kind generosity of the Bonar Trust.
If you would like to give to the work for the Bonar Trust and support more individuals like Calum, you can find all the information here.