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.
What 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.