‘Thankful for all those journeying with me’

A hugely important element of Home Mission is about investing in leadership. Being part of Baptists Together means belonging to an amazing network of encouragement, training, development and support.

Claire Nicholls shares how she is transitioning from student to newly accredited minister at Christ Church, Ramsbottom.

ClaireNicholls300Last year I was in the lounge at Luther King House with other students from NBC and the (non-Baptist!) speaker at chapel that day came to join us.

He said to us: “If you think it’s hard now, just wait until you get released into the real world and start work as a real minister”.

Taken aback by that comment as ministers in training who were all part time pastors (if that’s possible?) as well as part time students, we took it with a pinch of salt.

As far as we are concerned we have never stopped being in the real world – our studies in contextual theology have been completely rooted in our local contexts and our congregations have always seen us as ‘real’ ministers (whatever they are)!

Now, though, we are in what this man said was the ‘real world’, and although it is the same (I was called to stay on in my placement church as their full time minister) it is also different.

One thing I appreciated while at college was the support from tutors and other students, and the one big change and worry for me, was having that support network removed. I’ve only been a NAM for three weeks, but I have already been supported in settlement by my Regional ministers, attended NAMs conference and met with my college supervisor, been visited by the Association Ministry Review Group (to check church and I are in good relationship and I’m being cared for) and had a meeting with my NAMs Mentor.

I’m only at the beginning of my NAMs journey, but it’s looking good so far. The routines established and encouraged in college have been affirmed and encouraged some more.

It’s not the easiest of routes, this taking up of the challenge of God’s calling to ministry – in fact it is probably the hardest thing I have ever done - but as I continue in the ‘real world’ as a NAM, I really am very thankful for those who are journeying and will journey with me towards the handshake... or box laying.... or something else.... and beyond. 

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