My name is Benjamin McKay and I have just come to the end of my second year of study in the Irish Baptist College.
During the second year of study, students are given the opportunity to be sent out to a local church or Christian organization to undertake a placement. This year I did my placement with Simon Curry in Larne Baptist Church. Throughout the duration of my time on my placement I have been given amazing opportunities to be exposed to what pastoral ministry looks like on a day-to-day basis, and an insight into how a church is led ‘behind the scenes’. I have been preaching consistently throughout the placement, I have been able to do some pastoral visitation with some of the members of the church, and I have had the privilege of getting to know many of the members through worshipping with them in Sunday services and serving alongside them in different ministries. I am a member of Carrickfergus Baptist Church and I found being able to observe and serve in a different setting has been an extremely helpful experience for me. I have been blessed and I am grateful to have been a part of this particular church during the placement. I immediately felt part of the church family, and this made it so easy to integrate into their church life and serve alongside them.
This placement has been an invaluable opportunity for me in many different ways, but in particular, being able to work alongside the leadership and see their dynamic as well as being able to do pastoral visitation. It has been an absolute privilege to get to know the leadership of Larne Baptist Church. They are a group of five godly men who are faithfully serving God, being directed by his word, while reliant on prayer, for the good of this local church. Meeting up with Pastor Curry has been an enjoyable and fruitful blessing throughout the placement. We have had many conversations about different issues that may arise, all serving to prepare me for what future ministry may lie ahead.
I am also very grateful for the responsibility Simon was willing to entrust me with in pastoral visitation. A real lesson that I have learned from this placement has been how worthwhile and necessary it is to be among the flock. I have seen how essential it is to have this spiritual input into people’s lives in a personal and pastoral way, however I do have to confess that I probably left many people’s houses feeling more encouraged from what they have shared with me, rather than what I shared with them.
I am extremely grateful to God, Larne Baptist Church, and the Irish Baptist College for the opportunity that I have been given this year. I truly believe it has served as a real time of learning and growing for me, preparing me for whatever God has in store for me.