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Looking Back With Gratitude: life as a ministry trainee

Clare McKinnel

Looking Back With Gratitude: life as a ministry trainee

I spent two years working as a Ministry Associate at St Nicholas church, Sevenoaks. As I look back I can already see the many ways in which God used the role to motivate, equip and strengthen me in my Christian faith, and draw me closer to himself. I’m really grateful to Him for the opportunity this time has allowed for me to partner in the gospel with others and to get stuck into serving the workings of church family life - and I would love to encourage you to consider the possibility for yourself!

...being a Ministry taught and motivated me to use my time productively and in a way that glorifies God – particularly when no-one’s looking!

My timetable was split into three parts: ministry, training and practical duties around the church building. I helped in the youth group, had an in-house bible training workshop one morning a week alongside some personal study time, and cleaned LOTS of loos and moved LOTS of chairs/toys/general useful objects/people (which was surprisingly satisfying)! It took a while to learn how to balance my time between these three areas and inevitably one was squeezed out by another at various points in the year. Still, being a Ministry taught and motivated me to use my time productively and in a way that glorifies God – particularly when no-one’s looking!

A real highlight for me was observing first hand how those on the staff team used their time, different gifts and energy to minister Jesus with genuine love to those under their care. I was constantly reminded and spurred on by them to trust the way in which God works by His Spirit through His word in people’s lives, and how he uses the context of real relationship to spread and apply His glorious gospel of grace. 

The conference provided us with great teaching and the support groups gave us the chance to sharpen and better develop our bible handling skills.

I was working within a team of 3 other Ministry Associates, which provided a great source of good fellowship, laughter, support, friendship and mischief. The church kindly freed us up to go on a couple of training days each year and made it a priority for us to attend the 9:38 conference at the start of the year. The conference provided us with great teaching and the support groups gave us the chance to sharpen and better develop our bible handling skills.

During the year I was provided with 1:1 and Mentor support from a couple of older and wiser Christian women who encouraged me to keep going, especially when things were harder. Times of discouragement came from my own (and occasionally other people's!) tiredness, weariness and sinfulness, and during really busy or conversely quiet periods. It was during these times, however, that I think God caused me to grow the most, using other people and His word to lift my eyes off myself and back onto the Lord Jesus, our Rock.

I’d really love for you to consider serving as a Ministry Trainee and to trust God for what he will have in store for you over that period. Since being a Ministry Trainee, I’ve been working with students at St Andrew the Great in Cambridge and am really thankful for how my time as a Ministry Trainee prepared me for this role. Whether or not you’re likely to carry on in full-time ministry in a church setting or are planning to serve in the workplace or elsewhere, definitely think about taking a year out to be built-up and encouraged greatly in your faith whilst being drawn closer to God in the process, and thus be better equipped to share our real life in Jesus’ name with others!

There are always new Ministry Trainee opportunities, in churches across the UK, being advertised on the 9:38 website. Check out the current opportunities here