First Steps

People chatting Vocation Day

If you have explored your calling and feel compelled to serve in the Church of Scotland then, before you consider entering training for ministry, your next step is to attend one of our annual Vocations Information Days.

Vocations Information Day attendance is necessary to go forward and take part in the discernment process.

Upcoming Information Days

  • Saturday 9 February, 2019 - St John’s Episcopal Church, Princes Street, Edinburgh
  • Saturday 8 June, 2019 - The Steeple Church, Dundee

Conferences provide you with the opportunity to meet like-minded people and to learn more about the different ways you can serve.

Our team from the Church of Scotland (trainers, ministers and council staff) will tell you more about discernment, assessment and training for ministry.

They will talk about life and work as a full-time ordained minister, a deacon, an ordained local minister and a reader. You will also have the opportunity for a one-to-one over coffee with one of our team to talk confidentially about your personal situation.

Note: Vocations Information Days last a whole day, there is a £15 delegate fee and you must first apply to attend. Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of the length of membership with the Church of Scotland.

Download an application form


Once you have attended a Vocations Information Day, you will be able to apply to be considered for a position in ministry. On receipt of your application, you will be entered into an initial screening process, including an interview, before being able to proceed to the discernment process.

Discernment Process


During the Discernment Process, applicants will:

  • be assigned a mentor and Presbytery assessor by the Ministries Council
  • embark on a period of reflection and discernment of call (6 months) with the possibility of some practical experience
  • attend a placement Church one Sunday per month, meet with their mentor at other times during the month, and meet their Presbytery assessor once per month
  • dedicate eight hours per week to placement

Local Review

A Local Review is a meeting with the applicant, mentor, Presbytery assessor, national assessor and a staff member/note taker (non-assessing), which reviews the period of discernment. There are a number of papers, completed by the applicant, mentor, and Presbytery assessor, which are considered by the Local Review panel.

After consideration, a decision should be reached as to whether an applicant is ready to move onto the next stage.

At Local Review there are four possible decisions: proceed; extended period of discernment; to not proceed at this time, however the applicant may reapply at a date to be agreed; or it will not be possible for the applicant to proceed.

For Ordained Local Ministry, Diaconal Ministry and Full-Time Ministry of Word and Sacrament applicants, the next stage is National Assessment Conference and, for Readership applicants, it’s training.

National Assessment Conference

Following a period of discernment and a decision to proceed at local review, you can attend a national assessment conference.

Over an intensive 24 hour period, the applicant’s call to ministry  be tested. With a strong focus on group and interpersonal skills, tests include a variety of participative group exercises. Applicants are interviewed by national assessors and a psychologist assessor.

It is the National Assessment Conference which reaches a final decision on whether or not the applicant should become a candidate in training for ministry.