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Publicity

The Bonar Trust has recently updated all its publicity.  As Trustees we hope this will give you greater clarity about the vision of the Trust.  You can read more about our vision here.

We are also excited to launch Profiles booklet which introduces some of the individuals we have supported and the leadership positions they have gone into after finishing their training.

We have also updated our giving information.  All the documents can be found here.

Please do share with others who you think would be interested in the vision of the Trust.

Developing as a preacher in the midst of training

Sean Clokey

On Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Sean Clokey lives in Larbert and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2015 until now.

 

Tell us a little about yourself

I am 36 and happily married to Rachel and we have a lovely son. Alongside my current training I serve part-time at Grace Church Larbert.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I am currently in my second year studying at Edinburgh Theological Seminary.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

When I finished University I served as a RELAY worker with UCCF (which I enjoyed tremendously) and it made me think that gospel ministry might be something to consider in the future as a useful use of my gifts and time. Having worked for four years as a solicitor I left my legal career and undertook a ministry trainee scheme at Duke Street Church in Richmond-upon- Thames alongside completing the Cornhill Training Course in London. I then (having got married) moved to Basingstoke to serve as an assistant in a local parish church for three years. While serving there I was aware that it would be useful to do some further training to equip me for ministry, particularly in systematic theology and biblical languages. This led me to study at ETS.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

The Bonar Trust has been very helpful in supporting us in training for ministry through (i) financial help; and (ii) ongoing ministry encouragement. Without the financial support from the Bonar Trust and other trusts and generous individuals we would not be able to train at ETS. But not only has the Trust helped in this way but they have also made it a priority to encourage me in ministry through short preaching conferences. These have been excellent and a wonderful encouragement to keep the focus on developing as a preacher in the midst of training.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

Not finished training.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry

The biggest challenge is to keep going! Ministry is hard and it is for the long term, which means it can be easy to get disheartened. The greatest joy is that in gospel ministry I contribute very little, for it is all God’s work and he, in his grace, has allowed me to be an incredibly small part of his work of gathering to himself a people for his own name’s sake.

 

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

Helping people explore the possibility of devoting themselves to working for the Lord and for his Church in a full time paid capacity

Graeme Shanks

On Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Graeme Shanks lives in Edinburgh and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2014 until now. 

Tell us a little about yourself

My wife and Alex have been married for almost 6 years and God has blessed us with 2 gorgeous little girls Chloe (2) and Grace (6 months).  Outside of Church I love to play & watch sport (mainly football, golf & rugby) and am a long suffering Airdrieonians fan.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I originally graduated with a law degree from Aberdeen University. I qualified as a Scottish solicitor and worked for firms on both sides of the border. However, I had always felt some kind of call to explore full time ministry and to explore the possibility of devoting myself to working for the Lord and for his Church in a full time paid capacity. After a period of soul searching, praying and various conversations I pushed at a few doors. Some sovereignly shut and others sovereignly opened. My good friend Jon asked me to come back up to Edinburgh and train under him. I loved the thought of learning off an experienced guy who was very gifted and good at his job. I wanted to pick his brains and extract every ounce of knowledge that I could from him. I was given a platform to gain experience in preaching, leading and reading the Bible with people. On the ground, I worked part-time for the church and studied part time at both the Porterbrook Network and Cornhill Scotland. I am indebted to Jon for the opportunity and to the congregation for the grace and patience they showed me in those early years, and still do to this day. After this 2 year internship the elders asked me to stay on as the full time Assistant Pastor which I started in August 2014. I am also now studying part time at Edinburgh Theological Seminary on the Bth programme. It is incredible, and so deeply humbling, how God has provided for me and my family every single step of the way.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

On the whole, I fairly enjoyed my job in law, certainly once I was qualified and a bit further up the food chain so to speak. Having your own clients was fun and creating a way for people to achieve their desired goals was satisfying.  I worked in good teams and met some really cool people.  However, I had always felt some kind of call to explore full-time ministry.  I know I know, we’re all in full time ministry, I absolutely affirm that. As Christians we are all on full time mission working for the Lord taking the the good news of Jesus to our workplaces, sports teams, families and Universities.  However, I had always felt a tug to explore the possibility of devoting myself to working for the Lord and for his Church in a full time paid capacity.  I used to love to speak about God with my friends.  There was a belly buzz every time I heard an edifying sermon or participated in a Home Group study.  I loved it when our church gathered on a Sunday and during the week to sing God’s praises and hear from him.  I found myself spending my free time reading the Bible and Christian books and wanting to get to know God more.  I loved hanging out with people and seeing people come to know God either for the first time or more deeply.  And, besides that, people seemed to think I was ‘gifted’ in this stuff.

Now looking back on things, the Lord was growing in me 4 loves;

  • A love for Him;
  • A love His Word;
  • A love for people; and
  • A love for His Church.

If, like me, you feel a ‘tug’ then ask yourself – Do you see the Lord growing in you a love in these areas? If so, then stop and have a serious think. Is this something that God wants me to explore?

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

I am ever so grateful for the support of the Bonar Trust. They have provided the financial resources that have allowed me to gain a first-class theological education. They have also provided a vital support network of peers many of whom I would consider to be my close friends. In the day-to- day grind of ministry these relationships have proven so precious and helpful.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

I am currently the Assistant Pastor at Bruntsfield Evangelical Church and combining my work there with studying part-time at Edinburgh Theological Seminary on the Bth programme.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

A great joy is undoubtedly seeing people come to know Jesus as their Lord, King and Saviour.  There really is no greater thrill than seeing the Lord by His Spirit turn on the light in someones life.  Equally, seeing people grow in their faith and make everyday Kingdom decisions is a joy.  Everything from big decisions like saying no to a career move because they want to devote more time to the church, to the little decisions, like turning off the TV because to view that programme would not be honouring to the Lord Jesus, are encouraging.

One of the greatest challenges would be that there is so much to be done. There’s always more in ministry than you have time for, and so prioritising ‘what needs to get done’ over ‘what I’d like to get done’ is a constant battle. I used to work in a job where I got the satisfaction of finishing a job and leaving work at the office when I left for the evening. Ministry is not like that. Another great challenge is asking the Lord to keep your heart warm towards him. I once heard someone say that ‘the best sermons come not from a man but through a man.’ There is a lot of wisdom there. I always want to guard my own devotional life so as to make sure my service for the Lord stems from a burning love for Him and not from mere professionalism.

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

Supporting individuals for other forms of ministry

David ArmstrongOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

David Armstrong lives in Edinburgh and was supported by the trust in 2011-2013.

Tell us a little about yourself

I work part-time as an electronic engineer and biblical counsellor. In 2013 I set up New Growth Christian Counselling, which partners with Scottish churches to provide biblical counselling. For over a decade I worked as an engineer before taking time out to be a Ministry Apprentice at Charlotte Baptist Chapel when I completed Cornhill Scotland and CCEF’s distance education programme. I am married to Libby and we have three young children Hannah, Nathan and Pheobe.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

  • Cornhill Scotland
  • CCEF Certificate Programme

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

  • To be better equipped as an elder
  • To see if full time Christian ministry would be a place where I could be useful for the gospel.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

  • Provided a grant so that I could enroll on Charlotte Chapel’s apprenticeship scheme

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

  • I have retuned part time to Engineering, four days a week.
  • Work as a part time Christian counselor, one day a week.
  • Help run Biblical Counselling UK

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

  • Joy of seeing and tasting how the gospel saves us from our broken lives and world.
  • To keep praying either in the face of business of life or seeing little fruit in peoples lives.

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

Enabling growth in leadership skills

Alistair ChalmersOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Alistair Chalmers lives in Edinburgh and is currently supported by the Bonar Trust.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Wales to Glaswegian parents and at age 12 I moved to Romania with my parents on the mission field. Romania was home for seven years, during this time I worked alongside my father in the church that he pastors. Whilst in Romania I felt a deep desire to go into ministry and Christians around me encouraged me to walk down that path. I moved to Austria for 3 years, got married, and then in 2013 my wife and I moved to Edinburgh. We moved to Edinburgh because we knew that I needed training and Bible College seemed to be the next step, so I studied at the Faith Mission Bible College. During my studies, our desire to share the gospel grew and my desire to preach and to lead a congregation grew even more, further training was required. I joined the Ministry associate program at Chalmers Church Edinburgh and am currently in my second and final year.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I joined the ministry associate at Chalmers Church Edinburgh in August 2015.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

My desire to preach the Word of God and to see the church of Christ built up is what lead me into training for gospel ministry. I have always enjoyed seeing people grow in their faith and become more spiritually mature in Christ.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

The Bonar Trust has supported me with grant money over the last two years and has been a huge blessing to us. These grants have made it possible for me to get my training at Chalmers Church and have given me the opportunity to grow personally and in leadership skills and gifts.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

One of the biggest challenges I find in ministry is being able to adapt talks and Bible studies to suit all ages, especially when you work with people whose ages ranges from 12-70.

One of the greatest joys about being in ministry is seeing somebody just understand what the Bible is saying, when people have that ‘lightbulb moment’ and everything makes sense. After the lightbulb moment, it is amazing to see how that knowledge of the Bible and of God changes the way they live their lives, the way they worship God with everything they have, and the way they view God.

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

Supporting women as well as men

Rachel SloanOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Rachel Sloan lives in Edinburgh and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2010-2012.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Belfast but I left when I was six, hence no accent! I lived in England for 7 years before moving to Edinburgh when I was 13 years old. Edinburgh very much feels like home now! I grew up in a Christian family and committed my life to Christ at a young age.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I  undertook the Ministry Associate Programme at Chalmers Church which included involvement in the church and completing the Cornhill course in Glasgow.  After finishing this 2 year programme I started working at Charlotte Chapel as their Women’s Ministry Coordinator.  In 2015 I started studying part-time for a Bachelor of Theology degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary while continuing to work at Charlotte Chapel.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

From my final year of high school I was heavily involved in youth work particularly with Scripture Union.  I always had a passion to tell others about Jesus and to teach the Bible.  Leaving university I knew I had a desire to be involved in full-time ministry but was unsure how and what it should be.  I trained to be a teacher and a couple of years into teaching the desire hadn’t changed so I started exploring options.  A conversation with my minister, Robin Sydserff, led to me applying for the apprenticeship programme at our church.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

Leaving a full-time teaching job to start the ministry associate programme was made much easier through the support of the Bonar Trust.  It meant financial concerns were less of a worry and I could concentrate on my training.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

Within my role as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at Charlotte Chapel, I lead bible studies, disciple younger women, organise events and much more. I am particularly passionate about training and equipping women to grow and develop the gifts and abilities God has given them for service.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

The greatest joy is getting to speak to people about the gospel and Jesus on a daily basis. I love being able to open the Bible with people and show them how God speaks to them  through it today. It is even better when you see God transforming lives by His Holy Spirit.
The greatest challenge is to retain a desire for personal Bible study and prayer. When spending your work hours in the Bible it can be easy to let personal habits slide. I have learnt time and time again that when I am not deepening my relationship with God I am much more tempted to rely on myself. In those times I either become proud or feel overwhelmed. To keep going in ministry I need to be growing in my dependence on God which comes through spending time with him.

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

Support for those church planting

Ali SewellOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Ali Sewell lives in Edinburgh and has been supported by the Bonar Trust since 2012.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Preston in England. Married to Julie with a 2 year old daughter, Emily, and another one on the way in Feb 2017. Prior to moving to Edinburgh to train for gospel ministry I worked as an outdoor activities instructor in the Highlands of Scotland and still enjoy all sorts of sports when time allows. Realistically I spend more time reading books and going to children’s soft play areas and parks.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

Julie and I moved to Edinburgh so that I could take part in the Ministry Associate Programme at Chalmers Church which included involvement in the church and completing the Cornhill course in Glasgow. After finishing this 2 year programme I went on to study for a Bachelor of Theology degree at Edinburgh Theological Seminary whilst taking up an assistant role at Christ Church Edinburgh. I currently in the final year of the degree which has been incredibly helpful and seems to have flown by!

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

People at my previous church suggested I had gifts which would be suited for ministry, and I began the Ministry Associate Programme to test whether this was right and, if so, what form of ministry might be right. Shortly into the programme I felt that full time ministry was a way in which I could serve God and other people, including Robin the minister, agreed and encouraged me to seek a way forward to full time leadership of a church.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

Coming to train for ministry from paid employment and with a family to look after would have been essentially impossible without the ongoing financial support of the Bonar Trust. It’s continual support has allowed me to invest time in my training and to reap the maximum benefit, rather than seeking to finish as quickly as possible due to financial pressures. I am certain this training has set good foundations in place for a lifetime of ministry. The personal support and encouragement of those at the Trust has also been a great help.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

I’m still completing my degree but working in a local church at the same time with a range of different responsibilities. After training I expect to be involved in church planting in Scotland with the Free Church, I’m currently looking to identify locations with little or no gospel witness where this would be of most benefit.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

One great joy is recognising more and more how the bible contains the answers to the difficulties people are facing whoever they are and whatever their challenges. It’s a privilege to be able to connect people with God’s word so that they can see he knows them, cares for them, and has acted through the death and resurrection of Jesus to secure their eternal future if they put their trust in him.

A major challenge is the constant recognition of my own failures and weaknesses. The challenges of time pressures, especially while studying, mean that I don’t speak this good news of the gospel to people as much as I would like, and often plans move forward slower than I would like!

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

The benefit of intentional investment in Ministry Training

Simon AttwoodOn Mondays we want to introduce you to some of the individuals who have been supported by the Bonar Trust since it started.  Hopefully this will give an insight into the importance of the trust and how the money supports gospel work across Scotland.

Simon Attwood lives in Glasgow and was supported by the Bonar Trust from 2014-16.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m originally from Newcastle but have spent the last 7 years in Scotland after completing an anatomy and physiology degree at Dundee university. I’m currently a UCCF staff worker with the CUs at Strathclyde and Caledonian

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

I was on the Relay program with UCCF as a graduate and went from that to train on the ministry associate program at Chalmers church in Edinburgh alongside training at Cornhill Scotland.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

I had a lot of investment in my life from UCCF workers I have been under the care of over my time at university. Their example encouraged me to seek opportunities to serve in the years after university. In my time on the Relay program I was asked to visit Chalmers Church as a potential place of further training, after the application and interview progress I was offered a place on the program and decided that it would be a great opportunity to further my skills in ministry and try out potential areas of service for the future.

How did/does the support of the Bonar Trust help you in your training for gospel ministry?

It wouldn’t be going too far to say without the investment of the Bonar trust I wouldn’t have been able to complete my training at Chalmers. The intentional investment in ministry training is invaluable to myself and many others.

If you have completed you training, what do you do now?

I work full time as the UCCF staff worker for Strathclyde and Caledonian Christian Unions, mentoring, training and coordinating students to live and speak Christ centered and intentionally evangelistic lives whilst at university.

Give one great challenge and one great joy of working in gospel ministry.

Challenge – helping students to persevere in an increasingly anti-Christian university culture.

Joy – Seeing lives changed by the truth of the gospel and seeing people drawn ever closer to Christ by getting to grips with the bible for themselves.

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

Good for my head and heart

Martin Smith

Martin Smith is in his final year as a pastor in training at Charlotte Chapel.  He shares his experience of the Bonar Trust’s January Preaching Workshop.

 

 

I’ve been so helped by the Bonar trust over the last four years of receiving support, but few things have been as markedly beneficial as the time spent with other church leaders in training.

Our days together in January were the second time that we have gathered together with Robin and Paul to dedicate out time to growing as preachers and leaders.  Robin and Paul both taught on how to handle specific sections of the bible which was followed by preaching groups where each of us preached and received feedback.  The clear focus of the retreat was on handling and teaching God’s word well.  It was so helpful in that it gave a clear reminder of the centrality of preaching in the life of the church, as well as practical help on how to faithfully teach the word.  You might think,  that pastors-in-training  would know that teaching the bible is a big deal and shouldn’t be needing so much help! But it can be astonishing how easily priorities get obscured, and how bad habits when handling the bible can creep in and the basics can be forgotten.

I greatly benefitted being encouraged to keep preaching amidst its challenges, and by being reminded of how important it is to get to the heart and the aim of each bible book and passage is.  Considering these things in an environment of honesty, humility and passion for the gospel with fellow workers, was good for my head and heart as a servant and follower of Jesus.  I really believe that that input and those relationships are vital in equipping and sustaining those who plan to spend their lives teaching Christ in Scotland and further afield.  Thanks to all involved, can’t wait for the next one!

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