Blog

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.

Phil Pickett

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. Today we hear from Phil Pickett, a Minister in Training at St Andrews Free Church.

Phil Pickett

What led you into training for gospel ministry?
In short, I really love God’s Word and the power of the gospel to change lives. Full time Christian work has been on my heart for most of my life. After leaving Nepal in 2005 where my parents were missionaries I had a growing desire to go back overseas as a missionary. That has since broadened into a desire to serve God in full time ministry wherever he puts me.

What training had you done prior to your current role?
I was a ministry trainee at St. Andrews Free Church for two years while doing the Cornhill training course in Glasgow.

 

What does training look like day to day?
During a normal week, I study at Edinburgh Theological Seminary for two days, I have in-house staff training, train student Bible study leaders, lead Bible studies on Wednesdays and Thursdays, meet up with students 1-to-1, oversee the music at church, and preach roughly once a month.

 

What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
The highlight of the past few years must be the in depth discipleship I receive under Paul and Hamish’s supervision [Minister and Assistant Minister at St Andrews]. By God’s grace, this has been instrumental in helping me to grow in character, maturity, and ministry skills. In a similar vein what I most enjoy about training for ministry is studying God’s word with people and witnessing them grow in Christlikeness.

 

What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
Right now I don’t know what I’ll be doing past continuing at ETS part time while working for St. Andrews Free Church. I am open to ministry in the UK or abroad, wherever God takes me.

 

What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The Bonar Trust has been vital in funding my study and living costs over the past few years. I have also really appreciated the preaching conferences for the training provided, and the opportunities to build key relationships with those at a similar stage to me of training.

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

James Burnett

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from James Burnett, a first-year apprentice at Christ Church Edinburgh in Craigentinny.

James BurnettWhat did you do before your apprenticeship?
I worked for a charity based in East Lothian called ELCAP where I supported a young adult with additional support needs towards independent living.

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
At Cornhill I’m learning invaluable Bible handling skills. The main focus of our studies is to be able to understand the Bible as accurately as possible through working out what exactly the author’s purpose was in writing each passage. We are then trained in working out the most helpful and effective way to communicate the truths each passage contains while also appropriately applying those truths to our audience.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
Since starting at the beginning of September I’ve had the privilege of speaking at our lunch club which is a weekly outreach event. I’ve been able to lead our weekly prayer meeting twice and organised our church weekend away and led the programme. I’ve also led and preached at Sunday services.

 

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 how to preach God’s Word faithfully. It’s been a privilege and a highlight to be given opportunities to preach, and I’m grateful to the many people who offer me helpful feedback. I already feel that my preaching has improved greatly through the combination of Cornhill and honest feedback from those who care and want to see me grow.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
My minister, David Court, is currently on sabbatical so in the meantime Ali Sewell from Haddington Community Church is mentoring me. Ali has a real gift in preaching God’s Word and pastoring God’s people and it’s a real blessing to have the opportunity to be mentored by him. He did Cornhill a number of years ago so as well as being able to offer help and advice in regards to church-related things he can also do the same in regards to my time at Cornhill.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
After my apprenticeship I’m very open to whatever I feel God calls me to. At the moment I feel as though I will go to ETS to study Theology but if I feel God closes that door and opens a different one I’ll be happy to walk through it.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Adam McNinch

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.

Robbie Laidlaw

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Robbie Laidlaw shares his experience as a first-year Ministry Apprentice at St Silas Church, Glasgow.

Robbie Laidlaw

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I was a Relay Worker with UCCF, based a Glasgow University Christian Union, and before that I studied Computer Science at Aberdeen University. 

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
It’s great to be able to learn from such experienced lecturers, learning how to teach the Bible effectively. A real highlight has been working through Exodus and seeing how the book works together and good ways to preach through it and learn from it ourselves.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
I work alongside the teenagers and the students; I spend my weeks preparing study material for the groups for teenagers. This term we have been looking at Exodus and Acts. I also get to spend time meeting up with students and discipling them through reading the Bible together.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
One of the biggest things I’ve learned is what church ministry looks like – from the team dynamic of the staff to the responsibilities that come with being in a position of leadership in some form.
A real highlight for me has been working through Exodus with one of my one-to-ones. Being able to read through that and learn together what it means for us practically today, and also seeing his eyes open to how God reveals himself in this book has been wonderful. 

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I meet with Martin, the rector, every two weeks to discuss workload and then to study Ephesians together. It’s a great chance to learn from him and his experiences here at St Silas. I’ve been learning what it looks like to develop and lead a Gospel-focused ministry. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I am unsure just now, but would like to explore further ministry opportunities, working with either students or teenagers. (or both!)

 

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

Calum Cameron

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.

Calum CameronWhat 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.

Struan Yarney

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we meet Struan Yarney, a first-year ministry apprentice at Trinity Church Aberdeen.

 

Struan Yarney

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before I started with Trinity, I worked with UCCF doing their mission and discipleship program called Relay at Robert Gordon University. Prior to my time with UCCF I studied history at the University of Aberdeen for four years.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I’ve been on the Cornhill course since September and am thoroughly enjoying my time there. It’s a real encouragement being in a class full of people who are there to submit to the authority of God’s word and are passionate about trying to teach and preach it faithfully across Scotland. Our classes are currently taking us through a Bible overview, a study of the book of Exodus, as well as instructions in preaching. The detailed study and unpacking of the book of Exodus has been a particular highlight so far.


What does ministry look like day to day?

As the cliché goes, no two weeks or even two days look the same in ministry with many varied tasks often popping up. However, the usual constants are helping lead student suppers (either doing a short talk or lead a bible study) and being part of staff meetings. Fortnightly, I meet with the minister and assistant minister for further study of something we’ve each read in the lead up to meeting. This has been a wonderful opportunity, not least to be able to pluck both of their brains about various ministry things! Other ministry opportunities include preaching, leading services, doing 1-to-1 Bible studies, and visiting older folks in the congregation.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
One of the things I’m learning is the importance of knowing people well in order to minister effectively to them. It seems like quite a simple thing, but more and more I’m learning how crucial it is if I’m going to serve my brothers and sisters well in encouraging them and when teaching them, whether that be in student suppers, 1-to-1’s or preaching. Particular highlights have been doing further theological studies with David (Minister) and Will (Assistant Minister) as well as continuing with student suppers and just seeing a growth in relationships and growth in love for God’s word together.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
David Gibson mentors me and I think he’s been key in helping me see the importance of knowing people well in order to minister to them. Alongside that we’ve spent some helpful time looking at Paul’s narrative of pastoral ministry and a book on ‘The Pastor as Minor Poet’ with Will.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not 100% certain on what I’d like to do post these two years with Trinity. I’m currently torn between going back to work with UCCF as a Staff Worker or going into some form of secular work.

 

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

 

 

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.