Encouraged by my Vicar and Curates, I began to explore a call to full-time gospel ministry. This meant quitting my job working with young offenders, to take up a role at All Saints in Lindfield as a Ministry Assistant. God very graciously provided the funding through generous members at the church. I got involved in many aspects of church ministry: preaching, youth work, leading services, helping with the running of a church plant, 1:1 Bible reading, organising our summer services and running a holiday club.
During this time I was going through the discernment process for possible ordination in the Church of England. Following my work at All Saints, I moved to Eastbourne, with my wife Jo and our three wonderful children, Lydia (4), Nathanael (2) and Roman(1), to serve at All Souls Church. Again God provided all of our needs, and we are so grateful to those who gave at His prompting to make this happen. I have gained some great experience in preaching, leading services, baptism prep, organising events and seeing what goes into the day to day running of a church. Through my time as a Ministry Assistant Iâ€™ve attended the SGPâ€™s Ministry Training Course which has been massively helpful, challenging and all round awesome!
Both churches have given the opportunity to test whether full-time ministry was Godâ€™s calling, for which I am immensely grateful. By Godâ€™s grace Iâ€™ve been approved for ordination training, which means we will be heading to Oakhill College, London in September. Being a ministry trainee has been one of the best things Iâ€™ve done, besides trusting Jesus the King and marrying my wife.
As well as testing a ministry call these years have really equipped me for the future. I am so grateful to those who have affirmed me, challenged me and modelled Jesus to me throughout my training. I cannot wait to see what the King has in store for my family and me!
- Summer 2012
I’ve been a ministry trainee/apprentice for Holy Cross Church in Hove for about seven months now and it’s been an invaluable experience for me. Iâ€™ve been part of the church since my earliest days (21 years ago!) so it has been quite interesting to see ‘behind the scenes’.
Each Tuesday I attend the SGPâ€™s Sussex Ministry Training Course which is held at Christ Church Haywards Heath. We study the Bible and ministry, covering subjects like â€˜principles of expositionâ€™ and look at some Bible books in great detail. For small group work we are given a particular passage once a term, to practise writing and giving a short talk.
Our presentation is critiqued by the other people in our groups, which can be daunting. However, these group times are very helpful for us to improve as teachers of Godâ€™s Word.
A highlight so far for me was a trip out to the British Museum in London, where we looked at exhibits and items that are in the Bible. It was fantastic to see items that are described in the Bible and that back up some great stories from Daniel, Jonah, Isaiah and many more.
My Wednesdays are mainly devoted to Holy Cross’ children’s work. We have a toddler group in the morning. In the afternoon we hold a group for Primary School aged children, with lots of games and a talk on a topic from the Bible. We’ve recently seen a consistent growth in numbers at this group, for which we’re thankful to God.
Every other Thursday I have an apprentice guidance meeting with my Minister. We read the Bible together – our aim is to get through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (we’re up to Ezekiel now) and also to read one Christian book a month. Some of these are Christian classics; they can be fairly hard going, but getting through them is definitely worth it!
Being an apprentice at Holy Cross enables me to be involved in many different areas of the churchâ€™s life: on Sundays I can be helping in our Sunday school (The Ark), operating the AV desk, leading or preaching from God’s word. It is a great privilege. I’m so thankful to be serving such a diverse yet close-knit church family.
- Spring 2013
After completion of my year as a Ministry Trainee with Christ Church, Haywards Heath in August 2009, I began to work as a Community and Family Worker for Saltworkz CafÃ© (established by the Church for the local community). I particularly enjoyed working with young people during this time and in Godâ€™s goodness and provision, my role changed into that of a full-time Youth Worker with Christ Church in September 2011.
My week is varied, which makes it very enjoyable and never dull! On Thursday evenings we have a youth group called â€˜Rootedâ€™ for school years 9-13, where we read and discuss the Bible together, followed by a meal. Friday evenings we have another group for school years 6-8 called â€˜FXâ€™ where we look at the Bible together, play games, cook and make things.
I am also involved in local schools, helping with Christian Unions at two local secondary schools; and a Lunch Club and an After School Club at two local primary schools. We aim to teach about God and His rescue plan from the Bible. I am also part of the SGPâ€™s â€˜Lovewiseâ€™ team, teaching what God says in the Bible about love, sex and marriage; we include topics such as abortion, risky behaviour and puberty. As a team we are currently teaching school years 7-11 in a local secondary school. Further afield, I am involved with the planning of different events for 14-18 year olds: â€˜Sortedâ€™, â€˜Sorted by the Seaâ€™ and a summer camp called ‘Sparkford 3′. All of these are great opportunities to serve and learn from others in youth work at various churches.
Thinking back, my training year was very important in helping me work out what I should be doing with my life. Being able to â€˜have a goâ€™ and be trained in lots of different things within the local church has laid great foundations for what I do now. I really love my work and enjoy working alongside different teams with so many young people, as we read the Bible with them and help them understand it for themselves.
What is a ministry trainee?
A ministry trainee is someone who has committed themselves to learning about gospel ministry as part of a local congregation, normally for a year or two years. Usually, at the heart of their training is the time spent each week at the Sussex Ministry Training Course which provides the core of their biblical and theological training. Complementing their classroom-based training, they receive practical experience and training through their involvement with a church, which they attend and serve throughout their time as trainees. Ministry trainees can be of any age or life experience. What matters is their eagerness to grow as ministers of the gospel and their desire to serve a local church.
Is it for me?
It is, if you want a year (or two) to learn how to study and teach the Bible, to experience how people of all ages can feed and grow from God's word, to see how a church works from the inside. You may end up in full-time paid Christian work, you may not. But a year as a ministry trainee will equip you for life.Download a leaflet about Ministry Training Schemes
What About Money?
Ministry Trainees are students/volunteers. The focus of their time is the learning and experience they gain and will take into their own future ministry. Financial arrangements vary from church to church. Usually, they will therefore receive a training grant/bursary from the church to which they are attached, which is enough for them to live on for the year. In some cases, they may need to raise some of their own support. In many cases churches will provide accommodation, living with a family or sharing a flat with other trainees. The SGP also operates a Bursary Scheme to help churches with the costs of supporting a trainee.Download a leaflet about the Bursary Scheme
Which churches are involved/looking for trainees?
The Sussex Gospel partnership is made up of churches across East and West Sussex in rural, small town and urban contexts. The precise number of churches offering places to ministry trainees will vary from year to year, but there will be opportunities throughout the region. Churches involved are from different denominations; many are Anglican but others are Baptist, independent and FIEC affiliated. All, however, are Bible-centred churches which subscribe to the SGP doctrinal basis.
Details of churches looking for trainees will be added in the Spring as churches begin to recruit for the next academic year.SGP churches wanting to advertise a training scheme, download this form