Paul Beautyman’s new role leading SBC Youth and Community course

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30 Aug, 2023

Graham Meiklejohn from the Scottish Baptist College has an insightful chat with Paul Beautyman, before the launch of the new Youth and Community course…

“In September 2023 the Scottish Baptist College is launching a new stream in our degree programme specialising in Youth and Community Ministry. There are two significant reasons we have committed to offering this new stream. 

First, when we looked around Scotland at the training offered, we realised there are limited opportunities for training in youth and community ministry at Undergraduate level for those that want to train within a Christian context. With our Baptist foundation, we can be a welcoming place for Christians across Scotland from a variety of backgrounds, who are interested in exploring a call to youth and community ministry. 

The second reason is simply that the landscape of ministry is changing. In a post-Christian and post-Covid era, there is a renewed need for churches to participate in their local communities through detached youth work and in community projects. We think the time is right for a dedicated stream which helps those who want to pioneer new ministry opportunities within local communities.

We want to equip people to work with young people both within and outside of the local church. While our existing stream trains people for all aspects of local church ministry and chaplaincy, as well as wider vocations such as teaching, our new stream will help to more effectively train those called to youth ministry, mission in the local community, and approaches to social transformation. 

To help us offer the stream and maintain the high levels of professionalism and experience that the College offers, we are pleased to have Paul Beautyman join us from the end of May. We took some time to chat to Paul about his hopes for the new stream. 

Paul, you’ve recently come on-board with the Scottish Baptist College to help with our new Youth and Community stream. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey to this point and the experiences that have influenced you to think about the practice of youth and community ministry?

I have engaged with youth and community across Scotland throughout my career; first supporting churches and volunteer leaders to run summer mission teams, planting a church for young people and their families in Edinburgh before moving to Argyll and developing youth work across this remote rural presbytery and setting up a youth project in Dunoon. 

Working with such a range of people I was aware that my training as a minister had not fully equipped me. Instead, it was training centred on working young people, run by Christian agencies, or by reflecting on my own experiences. 

When I was working in Edinburgh and then Argyll, I was given the opportunity to part-time teach courses on community research and then spiritual formation at International Christian College and the Scottish School of Christian Mission, and this was an ideal opportunity to reflect on my youth work practice, train youth workers and promote the best possible standards in Christian youth and community work.

The youth and community stream is designed for those who are called to ministry working with young people and those in wider community who may not be found regularly in churches. In what ways do you see this stream helping to form people to equip them for this type of ministry?

Setting up, running and these ministries has been at the core of my career, so I firstly bring a range of experiences, the ability to reflect on them and then draw out best practice. Throughout my career I developed my enabling skills and now, as I run my own business mentoring and training Christian youth workers, I know how to inspire, train and equip people.

Using a mix of book-based theory, my own insights and uncovering what wisdom the students already bring to the course, I will also draw in practitioners from across Scotland to share their own resources and experiences. 

We think it’s important to have training available for youth and community ministry, but can you elaborate a little on why you think this stream is an important development for churches across Scotland?

Academic learning might be seen as separate from real life, all about theories and words. However, from my experience of integrating theory and experience in a class setting I can affirm that this genuinely helps people in their ministries by giving them greater confidence in their work and a deeper appreciation of how God is shaping them and their communities. 

Book-based learning that brings new insights is always balanced with reflective learning from what students are discovering in practice and the assessments or class discussions are always focussed back onto improving practice, in local churches and communities. 

The Youth and Community stream shares the core content of our degree programme with students taking a specialist module in each year of study plus an appropriate placement in their first 3 years. The final year will involve a research project within the area of youth or community ministry. This ensures that students are well-equipped in the foundations of theology and ministry while developing their practice within their chosen specialism. Additionally, they may take a module in school chaplaincy or a general module in chaplaincy and spiritual care.

All our courses can be completed on-campus in Paisley during the day or online in the evenings and can be taken full-time or part-time (please note some modules are only offered online). We are keen to ensure there is a flexibility of study options to give access to all those who feel called to ministry, wherever they are based and to fit around their individual circumstances as best we can.  “

For all our course information please visit our website: 

To discuss any matters relating to the courses, modules, or applying to study, please contact Graham on

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