O flower of Scotland, When will we see your like again? These historic words might tell of battles lost centuries ago, but they capture the prevailing mood of many Christians in Scotland today. Rev. Robert Murray M'Cheyne knew the answer to this age old question of when Scotland would bloom again,
“Give me a man of God the truth to preach, A house of prayer within convenient reach… give these—and give the Spirit's genial shower, Scotland shall be a garden all in flower.”
It was actually upon hearing this quotation in 2011 that I sensed a call to ministry. Soon after, in faith, I left the familiar rural South Lanarkshire village of Kirkmuirhill for the lively capital city of Edinburgh. Starting my studies at what was then known as the Free Church College – now renamed Edinburgh Theological Seminary (ETS).
At seminary I sat under some of the godliest men I've been privileged to meet, Professors John L. Mackay, John A. MacLeod, John R. McIntosh, Donald Macleod and many more. These men have spent many years in the frontline trenches of ministry and as result taught with humility and wisdom. They laboured to give us students a spiritual toolbox that would equip us for lifelong ministry.
During the three years of formal theological education I was privileged to preach throughout many congregations in the Free Church of Scotland. I switched my membership from Kirkmuirhill Parish Church (Church of Scotland) to St Columba's (Free Church of Scotland). I was drawn by Derek Lamont and Neil MacMillan's vision to reach Edinburgh, Scotland and the world with the Gospel.
Being at St C's ensured that my studies were combined with accountability and support. I benefited enormously from the regular preaching of God’s Word and being discipled by mature Christians. St C's also provided me with wide ranging opportunities to gain invaluable ministry experience.
As my studies drew to a close in summer 2014, St C’s were in the process of taking a step of faith, and planting a new congregation in Morningside, the southside of Edinburgh. The Lord opened the door for me to work alongside Neil MacMillan in this newly planted congregation, called Cornerstone, in September 2014. Cornerstone was a great place to learn the nitty gritty practicalities of ministry and think through what Biblical ministry looks likes. In particular it taught me how to present the gospel in a way that edifies Christians and evangelise people who are not yet Christians. My time in training in Edinburgh was a rich blessing and I thank God for his leading and ample provision. I now look forward to what God has in store here in the North Team Ministry.