Talking Ministry: “Step forwards and look for God’s enabling power”
Published on 18 October 2022 2 minutes read
Experiencing the comfort of God's love in even the darkest times has inspired a Church of Scotland minister to share that message of hope with others.
Rev Calum Stark, minister of Avendale and Drumclug Church in Strathaven, was speaking as part of the Talking Ministry series looking at the work and inspiration of those involved in the Church.
Married to Liz and with two sons, Douglas and Fergus, he became a committed Christian as a teenager after seeing the famous American evangelist Billy Graham on a visit to Mr Stark's home city of Edinburgh.
Just a few years later, seeing how his older brother's Christian beliefs helped him face a terminal cancer diagnosis also had an impact on his faith.
Mr Stark said: "He became a Christian in his last years and I visibly saw the impact this had upon him as he faced death.
"Despite this being a painful time in which I wrestled with many tough questions, I experienced the peace of God in the midst of darkness, and this has been something that I long for others to experience too."
Path of Renewal
After completing a law degree at the University of Dundee, Mr Stark began working in human resource management where he increasingly found himself working with people who needed support he was unable to give without crossing professional boundaries.
"It was this feeling of tension combined with my increased sense of faith and involvement in church that led me to inquire about ministry within the Church of Scotland," he said.
After studying theology at New College, Edinburgh, Mr Stark was ordained at Macduff Parish Church in Aberdeenshire in 2010, followed by six years as minister of Bellshill West Parish Church in North Lanarkshire before taking up his current post last December.
He has also had the opportunity to preach in the USA thanks to pulpit swaps with American counterparts.
Back home, Mr Stark has also challenged himself by participating in the Church of Scotland's Path of Renewal initiative, bringing together mission-minded Christians to encourage each other and help develop new church leaders.
Mr Stark described this as a great experience which had transformed his thinking, adding: "It also helped me to recognise the significance of involving, enabling and equipping others within a culture of risk taking and experimentation."
The work of a parish minister can be challenging, especially when conducting funerals for congregation members who have died suddenly or tragically, Mr Stark acknowledges, but it has its rewards, especially seeing how lives are changed by God.
He added: "I would encourage others who feel a sense of call but have questions relating to their own abilities to step forwards and look for God's enabling power."
You can read Rev Calum Stark's full interview and access the resources for October on our Talking Ministry page.