Our vision is for a healthy gospel church for every community in Scotland. A key aspect of that vision is training candidates for ministry. We want to train, equip and send out pastor-teachers to serve the communities across our nation.

Training for ministry in the Free Church of Scotland involves two key elements: a theological education at Edinburgh Theological Seminary alongside practical experience in a local church. Our training model combines these two to give candidates for ministry a grounding in the rich theology of our Reformed heritage along with real life exposure to the needs, challenges and opportunities of ministry in the 21st Century. Normally, training will last for four years, and is overseen by the Board of Ministry in partnership with Edinburgh Theological Seminary and local Presbyteries. 

Alongside training men for ministry, we have also welcomed ministers who have served outside our denomination but who share our convictions and feel called by God to minister in the Free Church of Scotland. We also greatly value ongoing partnership with the wider church, both for training and for the ongoing work of church planting and church redevelopment. 

What does a call to ministry look like?

What is the application process?

  1. Personal Prayer and Discernment
  2. Pre-application: informal conversations with Minister and Kirk Session
  3. Inform Presbytery and Board of Ministry if candidacy looks likely
  4. Complete application form and submit to Kirk Session

Download Guidelines for Congregations and Presbyteries (PDF)

  1. Kirk Session discusses suitability of the applicant
  2. Kirk Session interviews applicant
  3. If applicant is married or engaged, applicant meets with minister and wife (or another married couple if minister is unmarried)
  4. Kirk Session meets to decide whether application should proceed
  1. Presbytery members listen to sermons of the applicant
  2. Presbytery (or sub-committee) interviews the applicant along with at least two members of the Kirk Session
  3. Candidate appears before the full Presbytery
  4. Presbytery decides whether application should proceed
  1. Applicant attends an Assessment Day
  2. Board of Ministry (or representatives) interviews applicant at or shortly after the Assessment Day
  3. Board of Ministry comes to a decision on the Application
  4. Board of Ministry assesses training requirements for the candidate

Drawing on 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9 and wider New Testament teaching, the application process will take consideration of six key areas, summarised in the diagram below. During the application process, Kirk Sessions and Presbyteries are to focus on the respective areas indicated below, after which the Board of Ministry will consider all areas, taking note of any recommendations highlighted in Stages 2 and 3.

The application process takes around 6 months to complete. Full details of the process can be read by clicking the link below.

Application for Free Church ministry of an ordained Minister from outside the denomination

For ministers who are already ordained and wish to join the Free Church, the process is slightly different. They will not be required to be interviewed by a Kirk Session, but will still be interviewed by their local Presbytery and by the Board of Ministry. Formal admission to Free Church Ministry can only take place at the General Assembly or at the Commission of Assembly meetings (usually held in October and March).

For more information please fill in the enquiry form below.

Application Forms

 Three forms will be completed: one by the applicant for ministry, one by the Kirk Session, and one by the Presbytery. 
The Ministry Application form is for applicants as well as those already ordained as ministers.

Please note that this form may take a while to complete. It is possible to save your progress and complete the form in stages.

Preview the full list of questions here.