James Amour

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. Today’s post introduces James Amour, who is a first-year ministry apprentice at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.

 

James Amour

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I worked in a marketing agency as a digital designer. 

 

What are you learning on your study programme at Cornhill?
I’m learning that my body doesn’t like early starts as well as how to study the Bible, how to interpret passages truthfully, and how to faithfully and effectively convey these truths to others. 

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
My days are very varied but an average day would consist of some reading and studying in the morning. Then, in the afternoon I might have a meeting or study with someone. In the evening I might have a ministry to attend such as the student ministry or home group study. 

 

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 what goes on in a church behind the scenes. It’s quite humbling to see the paid staff as well as church members so committed to their roles and tasks. Everyone is working hard and diligently to see the people of Edinburgh come to Christ. It’s inspired me to be a red-hot church member wherever I end up in the future. 

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
My mentor is Liam Garvie. Meeting with Liam on a weekly basis is undoubtedly the highlight of the week. He teaches us how to read and study the Bible for ourselves, we review and discuss books, and ask him questions about ministry that might be on our minds. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not yet sure if I would like to return to secular work or be involved in paid-ministry. 

 

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.

Rowan Corrigan

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Rowan Corrigan, a first-year ministry apprentice at St Columba’s Free Church in Edinburgh, tells us about her experience as an apprentice so far.

 

Rowan Corrigan

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before my apprenticeship, I studied Physics for 4 years at Heriot Watt before spending a year on the Relay programme with UCCF based at Napier University. 

 

What are you learning at Cornhill?
Cornhill is really helping me to be able to listen to God’s voice. I’m really enjoying digging so deeply into the Bible and unpacking its riches. Every week, I feel as though I am blown away by Jesus and His fulfilment of the Old Testament. It’s helping me to love Jesus more. 

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
The highlight of my week is always the teenager groups. It is such a joy to see so many young people excited and being built up to speak and live for Jesus throughout their years at high school. I spend a lot of time during the week meeting with a variety of women from around the congregation and am enjoying continuing to meet with students. 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
A massive thing that I am learning right now is seeing how much of working in a church is learning to listen to God and to watch Him at work within the congregation. It’s an encouragement to see that all of the work is led by God and not by man. It is such an encouragement to watch the Spirit doing amazing things around the church daily.  

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by a woman at my church who I have been meeting with for the last 4 years. By openly talking about my struggles, I am often reminded and encouraged that we do not face the Christian life alone, and that we all walk together to bring us closer to Jesus. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I’m not really sure what my plans will be post-apprenticeship. I’d love to stay in ministry, potentially as a women’s worker for a church.

 

 

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

Dan Reisinger

Each week we’re introducing you to people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week we hear from Dan Reisinger who is a first-year Pastor-in-Training at Harper Memorial Baptist Church in Glasgow.

Dan ReisingerWhat led you into training for gospel ministry?
Church leaders recognised some raw gifts in teaching the Bible and discipleship and a genuine pursuit of godliness in public and private life, and they offered me a training role. After 3 years as a ministry trainee, I grew in godliness, gifting, a love for God’s son/word and people, and a real desire for pastoral ministry. That and some more church leaders recognising this helped me find a suitable next role.


What training had you done prior to your current role, if any?
I have done 3 years as a ministry trainee in 2 very different locations (Blackpool+Chessington). While there I have done the North West partnership training course and have completed the London Cornhill training course.


What does training look like day to day?
Harper is a great church to be training at, with a great team who are very focused on discipleship and training. There’s lots of opportunities to get stuck in with a wide range of ministry experience, and also times of shadowing Alan, the senior pastor, through some more unique and trickier pastoral situations.

Some ministry opportunities include: preaching+leading Sunday gatherings, leading a mid-week home group Bible study and a mid-week evangelistic/discipleship course, starting up+leading+teaching a weekly young adults work, 1-to-1s, and some involvement with local CU’s.

I also have the privilege of doing the Pastors’ Training Course at Cornhill Scotland, which breaks up into 50% classroom study // 50% home study once a week.


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
I have learnt/been reminded and challenged afresh about lots even in the short time I have been at Harper. Some of these things include: the reminder that faithful gospel ministry often includes consistently doing the ordinary, often overlooked things to love and serve ordinary people in everyday life; the power of God’s word to transform lives; that our ministry is a creaturely one, we are limited and finite and so we are wholly dependant on God to be at work in and through us, and even often despite us.


What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training?
The desire would be to go into pastoral ministry wherever the Lord calls and brings me.


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The Bonar Trust has played a pretty vital role in my training already and I hope will continue to, as I would not be able to afford to work full time at Harper Church apart from the generous grant they have given to me for this year.

 

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

Benjamin White

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Ben White explains his work as a first-year ministry apprentice at Cornerstone Community Church in Stirling.

 

Benjamin White

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Last year I spent ten months working with UCCF, through the ‘Relay Programme’. Prior to that I studied ‘International Relations and Geography’ at The University of Aberdeen.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I spend Monday and Tuesdays studying at Cornhill. It’s split into two aspects; we have lectures where we have been studying Exodus, looking at a Bible overview and how to preach. The other aspect is preaching class, where we give expositions of a given passage ourselves. It has been a real joy to study God’s word in more detail and to have an opportunity to think about how one expounds on God’s word. It’s a really great time!

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
I work alongside Cat Thomas at Cornerstone and together we head up the Student and Youth ministry. That takes up the bulk of our time but I also help with the ‘Mainly Music’ toddlers’ group on a Friday, I attend and sometimes lead my Church Community Group, alongside being involved with many other aspects of the church family. 

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
It is hard to condense what have been a really excellent two months so far. I really love Cornerstone and count it as a blessing to be doing a ministry apprenticeship here. We have been preparing a Bible overview with the youth and it has been great to show them how the Bible fits together and how parts of the Bible that they thought dry and dull are filled with excitement and ultimately point to Jesus. With the students we are looking at what it means to be a Christian; it’s been really encouraging to see them challenged by God’s word and to how they are responding to it. I am learning how to prepare and teach different sorts of biblical literature. The Bible overview has been particularly challenging in trying to distil the key themes of the Bible, but it has been a rewarding process and my own understanding of God’s word is growing.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I am mentored by our Pastor Calum Jack. I really enjoy our time together every Wednesday, but it can often be challenging reflecting on where I am not honouring God with my life. I have always struggled with perfectionism and it has been really great learning how to work to God’s expectations not mine. 

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I have a number of different plans that I am pursuing. I know that wherever I end up I want to be proclaiming Jesus’ name in whatever opportunities I have.

 

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

 

Kat Andrews

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. This week Kat Andrews shares about her experience as a second-year ministry apprentice at Bruntsfield Evangelical Church in Edinburgh.

Kat Andrews

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
Before the trainee programme I worked in museums doing collections care/conservation. Most recently I worked for the National Trust for Scotland in a couple of their Edinburgh properties.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I am studying at Cornhill as part of my apprenticeship. I’m learning a range of different things, but one of the things that most stands out is that I’m getting a better grasp of how the whole Bible fits together and how the wider context helps us understand it. I’m also enjoying the opportunity to study some of the more difficult parts of the Bible, for example we recently looked at Revelation. We also discuss some of the practical aspects of what working in ministry is actually like, which is really useful. Getting to spend time with other people who are doing something similar to me is also a great opportunity to share experiences and support each other.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
Day-to-day my ministry at Bruntsfield is quite varied. My main focus is student and youth work, along with some more general women’s ministry. I meet with students to study the Bible one-to-one and help organise and run student lunches. I also do Bible studies with the teenagers during Sunday services. I lead a weekly women’s Bible study and also help with the food bank we run. The rest of my time is spent preparing the Bible studies and my Cornhill assignments.

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
I think the most important thing I am learning from the trainee programme is a growing love for God and for teaching his word. One of the greatest joys in the last year or so has been seeing women of all ages grow in their relationship with God as we study the Bible together.

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I meet regularly with Alistair, the assistant pastor at Bruntsfield, to discuss my work and different areas of ministry. I also meet regularly with an older lady in the church and, externally, with the women’s worker from another church.

This, along with spending time working alongside the other members of the staff team, is giving me a growing understanding of what working in ministry is like and is helping me to develop my own gifts.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I have a growing desire to see teenagers and students particularly, as well as women in general, grow in their relationship with God and develop their gifts whilst serving the church. After the trainee programme I would, God willing, love to work for a church in a women’s/student worker role.

 

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

Ashley Gardner

Each week we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Ashley Gardner describes his experience as a first-year Pastor-in-Training at Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh.

Ashley Gardner


What led you into training for gospel ministry?
My own internal desire to serve the Lord Jesus in a full time capacity. Having explored various others options and coming to a deep dissatisfaction. This was accompanied by encouragement from elders/retired pastors and the doors being opened by the Lord as they were pressed on.

 

What training had you done prior to your current role?
1 year Cornhill and a ministry apprenticeship at Charlotte Baptist Chapel.

 

What does training look like day to day?
I currently lead a ministry (11-18 y/o). We teach through the Bible and teach topics relevant to our culture seeking to prepare them for life in the world as Christians. We meet socially to develop relationships key to the Christian life.

I lead services, preach, and have access to elders meetings within my local church. I also serve on a variety of other ministries: evangelistic/service orientated.

My studies take up 4 days in the week at Edinburgh Theological Seminary.

 

What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
Lots and lots, there is so much to be grateful for. Highlights have to be the growth in Bible handling. As Bible handling is the bread and butter of ministry, it’s key to work hard at trying to understand and apply the text. Cornhill was instrumental in this, as was sitting under excellent expository preaching at Charlotte Chapel. 

The formation of character in my own life has also been a highlight. Character is key in ministry and I recognise my many shortfalls. Graciously God is changing me. Recognising the depths of my sin against the backdrop of the richness of God’s Grace in Christ has enabled me to reflect deeper on what my salvation means. Therefore, ministering to others, not out of a sense that I’ve made it, but that Christ is the one we look to. 

 

What do you hope to do when you’ve finished training? What stage are you at with these plans?
I hope to go into some form of full time paid gospel ministry, maybe an Assistant Pastor. I am keeping my ear to the ground, developing relationships with pastors and being open to where the Lord is leading. I’m also submitting to the elders over my care and listening to their recommendations.

 

What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
So far, the Bonar Trust has been a financial benefactor. It is right to say that it would not have been possible to pursue ministry training without the support of the Trust. There are also opportunities in the future to provide some preaching and teaching development, something I’m eager to be involved with.

 

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

Sarah Carson

Each week, we’re introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In today’s post, Sarah Carson, a second-year ministry trainee at St Andrews Free Church, tells up about her apprenticeship experience.

 

Sarah Carson

What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I studied Theology at St Andrews.

 

What are you learning on your study programme?
I love Cornhill and am learning so much there! We’re taught the basics of Bible handling and then given lots of opportunities to put what we learn into practice. We’re also given a overview of some key books of the Bible as well as studying how to teach different genres like Old Testament Narrative or New Testament letters. We also think practically about what it’s like to be in ministry and how we can best serve the people we work with, as well as having an introduction to some key Christian doctrines.

 

What does ministry look like day to day?
As part of my role I work mainly with students, reading the Bible one-to-one and in small group contexts seeking to disciple and encourage them in their knowledge of and love for Christ. There’s also lots of opportunity to train others in their ability to teach the Bible, and along with our women’s worker I work with the female Bible study leaders seeking to equip them for the ministry they’re involved in. I’m also involved in helping with the kids’ work, teaching Sunday School and Scramblers and helping to train our Sunday School teachers and do lots of administrative tasks for the day-to-day life of the church family. So, there’s lots to keep me busy, but I love it!

 

What’s the most important thing you are learning from the apprenticeship? What have been your highlights?
I’m learning just how central the Bible is to everything we do as a church and to the Christian life. One of the big things I’ve been learning and convicted of recently is that the gospel is the power of God and it’s sufficient both for Christians and non-Christians. It’s such a privilege to read the Bible with Christians who are at different stages of life and Christian maturity and to point them to Christ in the highs and lows of life. One of the things I was most nervous about when starting the training scheme was reading the Bible one-to-one with people but it’s definitely become one of my highlights. There’s nothing better than reading the Bible with someone and watching as they begin to understand some big Bible truth and think about how it applies to their life, while having your own heart changed and faith encouraged at the same time!

 

What are you learning through mentoring?
I meet regularly with our women’s worker to discuss all things work, life, and ministry. I’ve been learning so much through these regular meetings as I learn from her wisdom and life and ministry experience and also as we talk about different areas of theology and holiness. We’ve read and discussed books which have helped me not only in my discipleship of others but also my own personal growth as I seek to put sins to death and grow in Christlikeness.

 

What would you like to do after your apprenticeship?
I think this is the question that every apprentice dreads! But I’d love to be involved in ministry in some capacity, whether that’s in a full-time capacity or as an active member of a local congregation. Throughout my time as an apprentice I have seen so much of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of a church and have grown in my understanding of and appreciation for the gospel, and so with the skills and knowledge I have gained I would love to be using them to serve the Church, wherever that is and whatever that looks like!

 

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

Scott Hamilton

Each week we’ll be introducing you to different people supported by the Bonar Trust. In this week’s post Scott Hamilton tells us about his experience as a first-year Minister in Training at Chalmers Church Edinburgh. 

Scott Hamilton


What led y
ou into training for gospel ministry?
This was a combination of two things. The first thing was a growing desire to do ministry and be involved on the front lines of God’s work in a local church context. The second thing was encouragement from men and women, peers and those older than me, to seriously think about training for gospel ministry. The combination of these two things has led me to where I am now. 


What training had you done prior to your current role, if any?
I’ve been involved in ministry in one shape or another around Edinburgh for the past seven years. I spent one year as an intern with UCCF. I then worked as an apprentice at Chalmers Church for two years before working for UCCF again for another four.


What does training look like day to day for you?
The training role has three main threads. The first one is being directly supervised and trained by my minister in my local church. He knows the intricacies of ministry better than I do and is able to watch me and offer input when needed (often!)

The second is being given an area of responsibility in a local church context (in my case, the music ministry) and being given enough autonomy to learn what it looks like to lead a group of people through change and growth. 

The third is theological study. I am primarily trained in my local church by the elders and others, but theological training is hugely helpful to understand how to handle the Bible and teach it to others. I’m hugely grateful to Cornhill and Crosslands for this training.  


What have you learned over the course of your training? What have been the highlights?
It has been such a privilege to see the Lord work through weak and sinful people like me! It’s been wonderful to see those who don’t yet know Jesus come to know Him as their Lord and Saviour. It’s been hard and wonderful to see the Lord shape me over the previous years, to show me my sinfulness and to remind me of the cross and His sovereignty at all times.  


What role has the Bonar Trust played in your training?
The Bonar Trust has essentially backed and supported individuals like me as we embark upon the necessary training needed for long-term gospel ministry. It’s been prepared to back us financially and continue to back us financially as we dedicate the hours needed to understanding the Bible, the gospel and sharing it with those who know Jesus and don’t yet know Him.

 

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

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.