Toby serves as a ministry trainee at a city-centre church with between 250 and 499 people.
What part of your traineeship most encouraged you in your faith, and why?
The highlight of being a trainee for me has been working in a staff team, alongside older, wiser and godlier Christians. I have learnt so much just from watching them and listening to them; how much time they spend in God's Word for themselves, how they handle conflict, how they always make time for others. I have been so encouraged to see how God has made them to be like the Lord Jesus, and how He is using them for ministry here.
What particularly challenged you as a ministry trainee?
I have found over my time as a trainee that, as I've studied the Bible and been involved in ministry, I have been increasingly convicted of sin in my own life. It's been tough to balance dealing with sin alongside ministering to others, and I'm sure this is something that continues throughout a minister's life. Praise God that He is merciful and doesn't treat us as our sins deserve!
Would you recommend becoming a ministry trainee? If so, why?
I would definitely recommend becoming a trainee. In my final year of university, I was very unsure whether it was the right thing for me to do, but I can now look back and see how God has used these two years to mature me and prepare me for a lifetime of serving Him. Whether you go into full-time ministry or not afterwards, it is far from wasted time, so I would say it's a great thing for anyone to think about doing, no matter what your thoughts are long-term.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an ministry trainee?
Get into good habits as soon as you can – make time every day to spend looking at the Bible and praying, set aside short bits of time every day to read Christian books, keep your diary in order. It's these habits that mean you can use your time more wisely and productively for ministry.