Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Adam McNinch. Adam recently finished a 3-year Minister in Training programme at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh and he is now a Church Planter in Training at Charlotte. He’s working on planting a church in South Queensferry in 2020.


Adam McNinch

What led you into training for gospel ministry?
Three things.

(1) An inward conviction:  I say conviction rather than feeling because feelings come and go and, in any case, they’re not to be trusted (Jer. 17:9!) What I am talking about is a settled conviction that has grown over time and hasn’t gone away.

(2) The affirmation of others:  I fully believe that it is the church who sends (Acts 15:22) – so inward conviction alone isn’t enough.  It was very important for the members and elders of my church to decide whether this next step was right for me.

(3) Conducive Circumstances. I was encouraged to go to the FIEC’s first ever Hub Conference in 2012 and this was a useful event to attend as I considered vocational ministry. It still took a few years for things to come together. It wasn’t until 2016 that we decided it was the right time to start training. Edinburgh Theological Seminary was on my doorstep and allowed me to study theology without uprooting my family. The recent creation of the Pastor-in Training role at the Chapel allowed me to minister in the church I know and love to people who know and love me. 


What training had you done prior to your current role?
Between 2010 and 2012 I studied part-time at the Cornhill Training Course in Glasgow. I’ve also picked up various bits of training over the years through Moore College, 9Marks, CCEF, TNT Ministries and at Charlotte Chapel with Paul Rees, Liam Garvie, Tom Lawson, Peter Grainger, Colin Adams and others – taking advantage of any useful training I can find!


What does training look like day to day?
On top of getting ready for the church plant, I teach and preach at the Chapel, meet with people, and lead services.

It has been great to have Andy Paterson on the staff team at the Chapel. Andy joined us in September 2018 as a part-time Associate Pastor. He also serves part-time as the mission director of the FIEC. Andy has considerable experience and gifts to help me. He spent 24 years pastoring Kensington Baptist Church, a large inner-city church in an ethnically diverse area of Bristol. Whilst at Kensington, Andy was involved in four church plants, cross-cultural work and local community projects. Andy has already provided me with relevant books to read, highlighted training events to attend, and is a great guy to have in your corner as a church planter.

I’ve joined the Urban Planter Incubator Course hosted by Neil McMillan of The Free Church of Scotland. This is a 2-year programme working through Redeemer City to City’s Church Planting Intensive training materials. This involves guided reading, reflective questions, group discussions, peer mentoring, and support. There is also a monthly church planters’ gathering which I have attended.

I have arranged to spend time shadowing church planters of two recent plants as part of my development and I am to gain further experience like this with other church plants in the coming year.

In September I started CCEF’s Dynamics of Biblical Change course through their partnership with Biblical Counselling UK. Dynamics provides a theoretical and practical introduction to the biblical counselling approach developed by CCEF who have been setting the pace in biblical counselling for over 40 years.

These are the aspects of my training that have already started but I will also pay attention to other relevant opportunities as they crop up in 2020.


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
It has been a highlight to learn from experienced pastors like Paul Rees, Liam Garvie, and Andy Paterson. It has been a joy to serve with a godly elder group who love our church in a sacrificial way. Studying at Edinburgh Theological Seminary has been a privilege – what a resource to have in the centre of Edinburgh! I also mustn’t forget the annual Bonar Preaching and Leadership Conferences that beneficiaries of the Bonar Trust get to attend. I’ve learned so much from Robin Sydserff and Paul Clarke as well as my peers who make up the group.


What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
God willing, myself and a team of people from Charlotte Baptist Chapel will plant a new church in Queensferry in 2020.

A group of us already live in Queensferry and we’ve been enjoying meeting together to learn from the Bible over the past three years and praying for each other and for the community where we live.

Our vision is to see lives transformed in Queensferry through Jesus to the glory of God.

And our great desire is to be a church where we love God and love people; where we grow as we depend on God in prayer and learn together to obey his Word; where we bless our community and share the transforming good news about Jesus Christ.


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
Without the financial support that the Bonar Trust provides, along with the support of my church and family, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing at the stage and age I am.


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

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