Vocation: a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career.

Many of our students arrive at College having responded to God’s call, but very few have a clear plan ahead. However, all feel God has led them to this point.

There’s a subtle distinction between knowing your vocation and hearing your calling. How do you recognise God’s call? If you have a stirring in your heart to do Kingdom work; a passion for sharing the gospel; a desire to love people and care for them, then God is calling you. Maybe you’re not sure what that looks like in practice, well don’t worry, you’re not alone!

We don’t expect students to come to us with fully formed ideas of their vocation and 5 year plan of how to get there, but we do believe there are many people who feel that tug towards ministry and mission and we want to hear from you. If you want to grow deeper in your faith, develop your skills in ministry, and broaden your understanding of God, then get in contact because God may be calling you.

“Whom shall I send?…Here I am, send me.”

At the Scottish Baptist College, we sometimes think of ourselves as a stepping stone. We’re not the final destination, but we take people who are called and help them discover their vocation. Through our dynamic learning community we help students to learn more about God, but importantly, over the years at SBC, students are formed into people ready to take the next step in following their call.

Student Testimony – Roz Lawson (Class of 2022)

So, how to describe the story of my journey to ordination into Baptist Chaplaincy ministry? Well, it’s been slow, meandering, reticent, often fearful.

It is a story of a lifetime of God’s faithfulness to me and patience with me. I believe my first inkling of calling was at Spring Harvest in Ayr as a teenager. In response, my pastor at NMBC, Deans Buchanan showed me Psalm 32:8 – “I will counsel you with my eye”. He told me to keep looking at God’s eye for direction, and that image has stuck with me.

Much, much later, after moving abroad, and coming home, I was working in research management at Glasgow University. I enjoyed my job, loved the team, but we ended up facing redundancy in 2015, which triggered a big question in my mind: “What is it I’m born to do?

God started to answer this by drawing me to EMBC, which led to my studies at the Scottish Baptist College. It was the College which cemented the sense of God’s calling, though I continually denied and avoided it. The staff and fellow students there were so encouraging, they pushed me in my thinking, they gave me tools and resources, they prayed for and with me.

As I discovered writing by many chaplains, I was struck by how fresh, deep, innovative, practical, and open-minded-yet-utterly-orthodox their thinking was. I started visiting chaplains in various sectors and was deeply impressed by them.

When I approached the College Principal, Ian Birch, to talk about University Chaplaincy, he inadvertently took me back to the question I’d asked myself 4 years earlier, saying, “Do you know what? I think that’s the job you were born to do”.

I contacted my now-boss, Carolyn Kelly, to see if I could do a student placement with her – and she agreed to take me on, online, in the thick of Covid in early 2021. And I loved it. I loved the complexity, the ecumenical and interfaith work, the acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit being at work everywhere, the ministry of accompaniment of people wherever they were at and whatever they believed. I appreciated the thoughtfulness and integrity with which Carolyn approached her work.

Then a hospital chaplain came to give a seminar at College. At one point she said, “I know it’s what I was put on this earth to do”. Everything suddenly connected. Throughout, I approached God with a mixture of excitement and terror in prayer. I went before the Board of Ministry last September with the attitude that I would just tell them what I’m really like and they would say no. To my surprise, they said yes! And I reflect today that God insistently yet gently pursues us and invites us to the table, whether we feel worthy of it, or not. Once, when I wrestled with God, saying, “But I’m no good, God”, I clearly heard the response, “You don’t have to be. I am”.

After the Board, I finished my degree, then applied for and landed the role I’m in now, of Assistant Chaplain at Glasgow University. And I really feel that this is the privilege of my life.

Next steps

If you would like to discuss study options and how SBC can help you, then please contact our Prospective Student Advisor, Graham Meiklejohn on graham.meiklejohn@uws.ac.uk or call the SBC offices on 0141 848 3988.