New Trust Administrator

The Bonar Trust has recently appointed Sydney Tooth as Trust Administrator.

Sydney grew up in Texas but has called Scotland home for the past 8 years. After finishing her Theology degree at the University of St Andrews, Sydney was a Relay Worker with UCCF in Aberdeen before earning her Master’s in Biblical Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

She has just completed a PhD in New Testament at Edinburgh and currently lectures part-time at the Faith Mission Bible College alongside part-time work with the Trust. She is married to Doug and they both attend Chalmers Church Edinburgh where they lead the youth group together.

If you have any questions about the Trust, please get in touch with Sydney at administrator@bonartrust.org

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.

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.

It’s not just funding

A few weeks ago, a group of 12 Church Leaders in Training met in St Andrews for the second Bonar Trust Preaching Workshop.  Their aim was to grow as disciples of Jesus as God spoke to them by his Spirit through his word and to help each other to become better preachers.  The Workshop was led by Robin Sydserff of Chalmers Church, Edinburgh, and Paul Clarke of St Andrews Free Church – two of the Trust’s Directors.
We asked Paul what they got up to…
What happened during your time together?
We were together for just a day and a half, and there was definitely no rocket science in what we did! We had two main sessions… one on Preaching Old Testament Narrative (Robin) and one on Preaching from the Gospels (Paul). But the bulk of our time was given to listening to one another preach. Each delegate brought with them a full-length sermon that they had preached recently – they preached it ‘live’ to a group of 6 and then received some constructive feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of the talk.
What is the aim of the time together?
We know that one of the main ways (the main way?) that God leads his church today is through the preaching of his word. We know that preaching is the bread and butter of the Church Minister’s week… every week…. and yet all too often, preachers can go for years without receiving any real help on how they can do that vital task better. Some of the men on the conference have been preaching for years but have never received any feedback on their preaching. We started these little workshops with the simple aim that all of us might become better preachers of the glorious life-giving word of God.
What are the benefits?
The friendships that have grown among the Church Leaders in Training over the last few years give a wonderful context to a workshop like this. I suppose there might be a danger of a competitive spirit between the delegates in this sort of environment but we had none of that – just real warmth, trust and mutual support as we tried to help each other to become better preachers for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. I learnt a huge amount from listening to these young men preach & came away excited to think about the way that God might use these 12 in Scotland in the years to come!
How does this fit with the vision of the Bonar Trust?
The workshop happened because some of those who are funded by the Trust asked us to run it. Until recently, we have thought of ourselves exclusively as providers of funding for those being trained in Christian ministry. Others are now encouraging us to provide some hands-on preaching training as well. These small workshops seem to be a great complement to the other preacher training initiatives already happening in Scotland and we are therefore hoping to run a handful of these workshops each year. Watch this space for details!
Come back on Thursday to read what one of the church leaders in training thought.

Supporting those in the Highlands

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.

Al MacInnes lives in Easter Ross and is currently being supported by the trust.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Canada and moved to Scotland as a boy. I am married and have two young children. I am a designer and artist by trade, but am now training for the ministry with the Free Church of Scotland.

What ministry training are you undertaking/did you undertake?

While I was working as a designer I did some part-time study at the Highland Theological College. I am now a candidate for ministry with the Free Church. I am studying part-time at Edinburgh Theological Seminary while working as a pastoral intern at Rosskeen Free Church in Alness/Invergordon.

What lead you into training for gospel ministry?

I have felt a call to ministry since my teens. It was something I really wrestled with for years, not so much that I did not want to do it, but more of a struggle to know what form of ministry/pastoral work I was being lead into.

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

The help I have received from Bonar Trust has been a great blessing.  Life as a student, with a young family at home, can be very financially challenging. The support I have received from the Bonar Trust, and other brothers and sisters in Christ, has made my training possible.  It is not only a blessing to receive the financial support, but a great encouragement to know that others are lifting us up in prayer.

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

Honestly, one of the biggest challenges in gospel ministry is the daily need for faith in Christ. Like in every other line of work there is the constant temptation to rely on ones own ability and strengths. There is a daily, constant, need to look to Christ as opposed to self.

With that in mind, one of the greatest joys is to be repeatedly surprised by the goodness of God. As we step out in weakness, he meets us with his strength. We are only at the early stages of ministry and already we have countless examples of how God has met our needs in ways greater than we imagined.

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

Message from the Chairman

The vision of the Trust is to train gospel workers who will share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people of Scotland. The primary purpose of the Trust is to provide funding for this training.

Since its launch the Trust has focused its work in promoting Ministry Apprenticeship Programmes in churches and funding individual apprentices. It’s been encouraging to see these programmes beginning in a number of churches across Scotland and people being trained. We’d be happy to come and talk to you or a group from your church about starting an Apprenticeship Programme. The Trust is now looking to expand its work and fund exceptional in individuals in their post-apprenticeship training through ‘Leaders in Training’ grants. We believe this is an important next step in training leaders for the Church in Scotland.

As the number of people and programmes supported by the Trust has grown significantly (a trend we expect to continue), the Trust’s financial resources are now the limiting factor. And therefore we need to attract significant additional financial support to further the Trust’s work Again, either myself or one of the other Trustees would be very happy to meet with you to talk further.

Above all we need to pray for gospel workers: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)

In Christ,
Robin Sydserff