“Knock on doors and explore what ministry might mean for you.” Rev Dan Harper

In the latest of our My Ministry blog series, we meet Rev Dan Harper, Bridge of Allan Parish Church.

Full name

Rev Dan Harper

Current parish church & location

Bridge of Allan Parish Church

Studied at which Church of Scotland College?

New College

When qualified as an Ordained Minister?

Ordained January 7th 2016

How you were called to serve God?

I was talking in my home Church one Sunday morning and after the service I found myself sitting at the back of the Church with a sense of dread and excitement as all I could think was “I have to do this…”

Briefly describe your parish church and the community it serves.

Bridge of Allan Parish Church is a fairly large church serving a broad community. The village appears to be picture postcard perfect but as always the challenges of life, that are found everywhere, are found here. We play a central role within our community, and seek to support our whole community in both civic and religious life.

We are a busy church full of good people trying to do good things.

What is it about your role you find most rewarding?

Being able to walk beside people in the highs and lows of life, laughing and crying together—as well as being able to focus on making strategic plans and decisions that might go unnoticed but have a real impact on the life of our community and further afield.

And most challenging?

The conflict that can arise from people who are, for whatever reason, not willing to engage with looking at what we do and if and how it can be done better.

What skills have you brought into your role?

An ability to say yes and to say no.

And what skills have you learned in the role?

To manage my own expectations—whilst dreaming big, remembering it all takes time.

So far, what’s been the highlight of your career as a Church of Scotland minister?

My first outdoor Easter morning communion by the Allan Water. We relocated the service from outside the village into the village, and previously only about 14 or 15 people attended. The first Easter morning around 50 people came and celebrated communion together.

What do you do to relax?

I watch rugby, play golf and get outside. Importantly in my relaxing I am clear and consistent in my boundaries and time off.

What’s your message to those considering applying and training for a life in Ministry?

Knock on doors and explore what ministry might mean for you. We all are called as individuals and are all called to serve God in individual ways, so explore how you can do that; and if that looks like Ministry then ask questions and push to get experience of what Ministry is.

Being a Minister, in whatever form that takes, isn’t easy. The expectations you have, and other people have, of what that is can be difficult to manage, but knowing you are doing the stuff of God for God is the most rewarding and fulfilling work you can ever do.