Thomas Chalmers was the driving force behind a major church extension (planting) programme in Scotland in the first half of the nineteenth century, when 222 new churches were established in a 7 year period. Yet Chalmers was convinced that while the infrastructure to begin new churches was important, what mattered more was the quality of leaders. Amongst many notable contributions to the spiritual and political life of Scotland, Chalmers regarded investing in the next generation of church leaders to be his most significant work. Under Chalmers’s influence and instruction a group of able and visionary leaders emerged in that period – among them Andrew and Horatius Bonar (for whom the Trust is named), George Smeaton, Robert Murray McCheyne, Hugh Martin, James Buchanan, and others. That was the generation of leaders God used to great effect in the last significant national revival in Scotland.†
It is this same conviction – investing in training the next generation of leaders for the Church in Scotland – that underpins the vision of the Bonar Trust today.
Since its launch the Trust has focused on promoting Ministry Apprenticeship and Minister in Training Programmes in churches and funding individuals on such programmes. Since 2010, the Trust has funded over 100 individuals. We’d be happy to come and talk to you or a group from your church about training in your church.
† Iain H. Murray, “Thomas Chalmers and the Revival of the Church.” Pages 73-122 in A Scottish Christian Heritage (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2006).