Jonathan serves as a ministry trainee at a rural church with between 100–249 people.
What part of your traineeship most encouraged you in your faith, and why?
Being a part of the youth ministry team and seeing 10 young people Confirm their faith that their parents had baptised them into. Almost everywhere we look we are told that the church is dying, that it is no longer relevant. Well, in the Cotswolds, we have seen 10 young people since September alone want to stand up and say that, not only is Christianity still relevant, but it is the most important thing in their life.
This has been such an encouragement in my faith. In the times where I have felt my personal conviction lacking, these young people have inspired me with their love for Jesus and desire to serve him.
What particularly challenged you as a ministry trainee?
The most challenging thing so far has been finances; I left a reasonably well paid job to be a trainee. It has given me a new opportunity to trust in God's provision, especially with a wife, 2 year old son and number two due in the summer! However God continues to provide just what we need each month.
Would you recommend becoming a ministry trainee? If so, why?
Absolutely. I am pursuing a future in ordained ministry within the Church of England, so gaining as much experience as possible is vital. Someone once said to me, "do a trainee scheme because the church doesn't need average priests, it needs priests who know what the hardships will be."
However, a scheme is a wonderful foundation for workplace ministry or just as a year or two to explore what full time ministry looks like.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an ministry trainee?
Listen as much as possible. The chances are that the church you are serving in has many incredible people from whom you can learn, so take the opportunity! The time may come that people look to you for church leadership, but until then learn from those who are in leadership. It is an invaluable opportunity.