Each week we’re  introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from James Russell, a first year Minister in Training at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.

James Russell

What led you into training for gospel ministry?
Going into full-time ministry was not something I thought about very much when I was growing up! But while I was working as a worship leader in a church in Belfast God started to work in my heart and gave me a passion for discipleship and preaching, which led me to get some Bible training at Cornhill. It was at Cornhill that I really began to feel called into ministry. As we went through 2 Timothy, I felt a burning desire to ‘preach the word’ and ‘do the work of an evangelist.’ Following Cornhill, I was blessed with opportunities to preach in the local church back home in Northern Ireland and my elders confirmed that I should follow my desire to train for ministry.


What does training look like day to day?
At Charlotte Chapel I am responsible for the young adults and students group (YACC). YACC is a great opportunity to disciple young adults and students as they navigate university or as they enter the world of work. We meet weekly to study the Bible and regularly have seminars and outreach events. I also organise the Christianity Explored course which is a great opportunity to introduce the Gospel to people who don’t know Jesus yet. On top of that I am regularly involved with leading services, preaching and I attend elders meetings. 4 mornings a week I am studying at Edinburgh Theological Seminary. 


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
I have learnt a lot! I think the highlight for me has been studying ecclesiology and thinking through what a church should look like – this has been really well-supplemented by being able to chat to pastors and attend elders meetings at Charlotte Chapel. I think my preaching has also benefited from my training so far as I grow in my ability to handle the Bible. 


What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
When I have finished my training, I hope to go into full-time pastoral ministry in some form. Of course, where I go and what role I might have is entirely in God’s hands so I’m currently just trying to develop relationships as I submit to the leadership God has provided for me and remain open to God’s leading for the future. 


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
Without the financial support of the Bonar Trust I wouldn’t be able to train full time. I am also really looking forward to taking part in the residential development weekends which I’m sure will have a big impact on my leadership and preaching. 


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.

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