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Act 15, 2013 (XV) – Act anent Church Planting and Evangelism. 22nd May 2013.

The General Assembly, recognising the responsibility of the Church to the whole of Scotland and being aware that there are many large areas not served by the Free Church or by any Church fully committed to Reformed standards, resolve to plan and initiate a programme of evangelism and Church planting in such areas. They therefore enact and ordain as follows:

1. The Home Missions Board is charged to review the national situation so as to identify areas in which evangelistic and church planting missions are needed and have some likelihood of favourable positive response. This review will be conducted in consultation with Presbyteries and Presbyteries are instructed to inform such consultation by undertaking research as to conditions in the areas within their bounds.

2. When the Board has agreed on an area of operation they should seek the services of a minister deemed to have the gifts requisite for the enterprise and invite him to undertake it. If he be settled in a charge the invitation will be processed through his Presbytery following the analogy of a Call.

3. The invitation will specify the initial area of work and its aims and convey an undertaking by the Board to support him for a minimum period of five years – not necessarily in the same area. During this five year period the appointee will not be eligible for call elsewhere. On the expiry of the five-year period the Board may renew the appointment or continue support of the minister concerned for six months or until his induction to another charge, whichever is sooner.

4. All the financial and governance arrangements for the work will be agreed, on a per-case basis, by the Board in consultation with the Presbytery, the Chief Administrative Officer and the Finance Manager, and any other interested parties. Such arrangements will take into account all income and expenditure, and the remuneration of the minister.

5. Induction to the new work will be arranged at the Board’s request by the Presbytery whose seat is nearest the sphere of work and the minister appointed shall have a seat in that Presbytery.

6. So that the minister will not be unduly isolated he shall be assisted as far as possible by an advisory committee appointed by the Board after consultation with the Presbytery involved. The Advisory Committee may include in its membership personnel out-with the membership of the Board and that of the Presbytery.

7. The minister shall report on a quarterly basis to the Advisory Committee, and it will report to the Presbytery and the Home Missions Board as appropriate, giving an update on progress in the work and on the current situation regarding income and expenditure.

8. In order that he may devote his whole time to the work, the minister appointed shall not accept extraecclesiastical work or appointments, or appointments which require absence from the designated sphere of labour, except with the express written consent of the Advisory Group, such consent not to be unreasonably withheld.

9. If the Board is persuaded that the initial stage of the new work requires the co-operation of two persons they may appoint a second on a one-year basis. This additional appointment may be of any suitably gifted person.

10. If circumstances are such that the Board deems a one-year experiment would be helpful in a specific area they may seek the services of a minister in a settled charge by means of leave of absence for that year, or make some other suitable short-term arrangements.

The General Assembly hereby repeal Act XXVIII, Class II, 1989.