Here are some questions we’re asked most often – if your query isn’t among them, click here to contact us

What sort of people become Ministers?

All sorts of people become Church of Scotland Ministers and make the commitment to training for ministry at different stages in their lives. In this site you’ll find a wide range of first hand accounts from our Ministers and Chaplains talking about their calling, the communities they serve and the challenges and highlights of their role.

You can view a selection of video stories from our Ministers in A Life In Ministry. And you can read our regular My Ministry blog spots, starting with the Rev Jonathan Fleming of Erskine Parish Church.

I think I have a calling to serve God. How can I explore this further?

A good start is to watch the video from Rev Neil Glover talking about how to explore your calling.

As Neil suggests, approaching your local parish Minister is a great starting point to explore your calling.

Church of Scotland also has a network of Vocations Champions whom you can connect with – find out more by emailing vocations@churchofscotland.org.uk.

You can also watch more videos featuring Church of Scotland Ministers who talk about their calling and their subsequent progression into ministry

Why does the training take so long, I just want to get started?

There are different routes into training that can vary the length, for example a previous degree in theology. The training we offer is comprehensive and ensures the best start to Ministerial formation. Ministry has some exciting challenges that we help prepare for in our initial Ministerial education programme, and continue to support through our continued Ministerial development scheme.

You can find out more about our training here.

What sort of stipend (salary and benefits) might I expect as a full-time Church of Scotland Minister

Ministers receive the national stipend which is the same for all Ministers. This is reviewed annually and currently starts at £26,119.

A manse (house) is provided to all our full-time Ministers. This is normally located close to the church buildings.

The Church has recently renewed efforts for lifelong learning and additional resources are being made available to ensure that Ministerial formation continues throughout your ministry.

Workplace experience is a 15-month probationary placement. Do I have a choice in the parish I’m assigned to and what sort of remuneration might I receive during probation?

Throughout training for ministry you will have review meetings which documents training that has been achieved, and highlights areas for further development. For probationary placement we work with you to find the right place and the right supervisor to prepare you for life in the parish.

During probationary placement remuneration is set at 85% of national stipend, which is reviewed annually. Currently, the national stipend starts at £26,119, so probationary remuneration is currently £22,201.

You can find out more about work placements here.

I’m not sure training for ministry is right for me, but I still feel called to serve God. Are there other ways I can work within the Church of Scotland to act on my calling to serve?

We have many ways you can serve God and help others in society too. If you’re aged 18-25, you can sign up for a gap year working in Church of Scotland community projects in one of our parishes.

Find out more about Volunteering Vocations here and watch our latest video which shows a group of Volunteers working in Glasgow and Arbroath.

Our Vocations Information Days also outline a wide range of other opportunities within the Church – for more information contact our Vocations Officer Heather French on vocations@churchofscotland.org.uk

What can I expect at a Vocations Information Day?

In the First Steps section we take an in-depth look at what happens at a Vocations Information Day. You can hear from previous delegates and see a typical conference schedule. And, if you think it is for you, there’s an online application form for the next Vocations Information Day.

Although the Vocations Conference focuses largely on ministry, there are also workshops from the other deploying councils of the Church: CrossReach, World Mission and Mission and Discipleship. Attend a Conference, or find out more at churchofscotland.org.uk/serve

How do I prepare myself for a Vocations Information Day?

We asked Heather French, our National Vocations Officer, to provide a set of handy tips on how to prepare.

Read Heather’s ‘Six things to do before the Conference’ here.

Is there a clear illustration of the various stages from Vocations Information Day to Discernment, Assessment, study and workplace experience?

There are a few steps in the process from deciding to act on your calling through assessment, training and workplace experience.

You can see an overview of the stages and click on each for more information on our Training pages. There’s also a video that walks you through the various steps.

If I’m accepted for training, what sort of funding might I receive during my college or university degree course (bachelor of divinity) or post-grad in theology?

We provide a range of funded support for degree or postgraduate study.

There are often a number of smaller grants that can be applied for during studies too.

You can find out more about study here.

Once I’ve completed workplace experience (probation) how do I go about applying for a permanent position in a parish?

During your probationary placement you will attend a number of conferences that help make you ready for the next stage. We spend time looking at applying for a charge. There is advice on the practicalities and further support and guidance in discerning where your call is leading you.

Can I hear and read first hand accounts from Church of Scotland Ministers about their life and work?

We’ve gathered a wide-range of first-hand accounts from a wide diversity of Church of Scotland Ministers. They talk about their calling, the challenges and rewards of their role as parish Minister and their outlook on life. Hear from our Ministers here.

We’ve also asked Church of Scotland Ministers to contribute My Ministry blog posts to give further insights.

I’m from another denomination, but would like to know if there’s a way I can still be eligible for ministry training with Church of Scotland?

With at least five years parish / pastoral experience, you can apply for admission to the Church of Scotland and go through our Admissions Process.

Contact vocation@churchofscotland.org.uk to find out more.

What's the difference between a Minister and a Deacon?

Deacons are accepted and ordained to the ‘office’ of Deacon, and as such must apply for a post: for instance, many deacons are employed as Ministries Development Staff.

Often a bridge between Church and Community, Deacons offer a ministry that is complementary to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, characterised by loving service and focusing on care and compassion for the poor and oppressed. They often work as part of a larger team.

Unlike Ministers of Word and Sacrament, Deacons cannot conduct the sacraments, but are free to preach and conduct worship, take funerals and are licensed to conduct weddings

You can find out more about the Diaconate here

I already have a qualification in theology. Will this make a difference?

Yes. When accepted for ministry you will have an initial course meeting with one of our Vocations experts and together we will sketch out your learning path. For those with previous theological training this will often mean a reduced period in formal education. We have a fantastic conference programme which runs alongside the academic training too.

Didn’t see the question or answer you were looking for? Contact us and we’ll try to help.

Image credit: Bill Higham