Apprenticeship or Associate programmes are an important and rigorous first step into ministry. Two years in a local church is a great exposure to church-based ministry, giving the training church and the individual time to think through whether long-term ministry is right. It is important to understand that an Apprenticeship is not an alternative to rigorous theological study but preparation for it. It is not a short-cut to ministry, but the first step of rigorous training over an extended period where the foundations are laid. What are these foundations? Most important of all, learning to preach and teach the Bible and growth in godliness. The nature of an academic study programme in theology at seminary or Bible College can’t easily accommodate this in its curriculum. Moreover, an individual going to seminary with this Bible teaching training under their belt will get much more from their theological studies. That’s why the Bonar Trust funds Apprenticeship Training in partnership with a course like the Cornhill Training Course. The purpose of Cornhill is to instil convictions and competence in Bible understanding and teaching, an invaluable investment for a lifetime of ministry. The Trust will only fund people where there is a rigorous training programme in a local church. The training church is asked to complete a detailed questionnaire.
Church leader training
Church Leader Training (also referred to as Minister or Pastor in Training) is where an individual trains for three or four years in a local church, alongside rigorous theological study, for example, at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, Crosslands Training, or the Cornhill Pastors’ Training Course. During core study time, the individual takes a step back from church work to allow them to concentrate on their studies. This is important. Early in the academic terms, and particularly outside term-time, the local church takes more of the responsibility for focused work experience and training to complement the academic study. Over the four years, the Church leader in training will preach regularly, take on significant ministry leadership, and work closely with the church leader and elders. The key to an effective Church Leader Training programme is partnership – between the individual and the church leader / elders and between the local church and the seminary. They are typically employed part-time in their training churches. There is scope in the model for individuals to spend time in other churches to broaden their experience and to satisfy candidacy requirements.
As with Apprenticeship Training, the Trust will only fund people where there is a rigorous training programme in a local church. The training church is asked to complete a detailed questionnaire.
Women in Ministry training
The Trust wants to support women who show giftedness at Bible teaching and invest in them with further opportunities to grow in their ability to handle and pass on God’s word. These women would train for three or four years in a local church, alongside rigorous theological study, for example, at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, Crosslands Training, or the Cornhill Pastors’ Training Course with a view to them going into paid women in ministry roles in the future.