The Vision of the Free Church of Scotland is
About Our Vision
Our primary aim for each church is not large size but rather good health.
Healthy churches are committed to the worship of God and obedience to the Bible. They promote discipleship, are characterised by loving relationships, and are intentional about sharing the gospel message locally and throughout the world. Jesus Christ is at the very centre of a gospel church.
Healthy churches also grow and multiply. Scotland has a population of 5.5 million people, there are 51 localities with populations of over 15,000, as well as many rural communities. We want to see a healthy gospel church for every community in Scotland.
Watch the video to find out more.
This is about all of us
This vision is not something that can be achieved by a central organisation. This is about all of us working together to see God’s church become increasingly healthy right across Scotland, and beyond.
It is an invitation to every congregation, minister, member and adherent to recommit themselves to grow healthy in their own Christian lives and in their life together as a church. It is about asking people to think how God’s church can be more effective in making and growing disciples.
It is also about the central Free Church of Scotland organisation, supporting presbyteries, congregations, and individuals in their efforts to build a healthy gospel church in every community in Scotland.
This vision is not going to happen unless we pray. Only God can make a church healthy, and only God can make the Church in Scotland healthy.
We desperately need God to move among us by his Holy Spirit, that we might be growing in our own relationship with God, and that as churches we would be helping others grow in spiritual health.
We want to promote and encourage prayer across the denomination. Prayer for the vision, prayer for the denomination, prayer for individual churches, prayer for the people and financial resources that are needed in the years ahead.
The Mission Board want to support existing churches in their life and ministry. While many of our churches are growing in health and becoming increasingly effective in their mission, there are also congregations that are struggling.
The Mission Director runs a revitalisation track that churches are welcome to get involved in. The Mission Board and Presbytery Strategy Committees are seeking to identify the gaps and weak points across the country where extra help is needed.
Planting new churches
The Free Church has a vision for planting 30 new churches by 2030 (Generation Mission). Our Church Planting Director is working with others to support our existing congregations in planting new churches all over Scotland. We need people and finances to make it happen.
Supporting church leaders
The Board of Edinburgh Theological Seminary has been developing plans for the training and support of lay leaders. In addition to the degree courses offered, they also run Saturday courses that are open to everyone, and training courses for office bearers. The Board of Ministry are working with Presbytery Pastoral Care committees to better support ministers in their work. If a church is to be healthy it needs healthy leaders.
Recruiting and training ministers
As existing ministers retire, and new churches are planted, we are looking to recruit and train 70 new ministers in the next ten years. The Board of Ministry has developed a ministry training model that will combine study at Edinburgh Theological Seminary (ETS) with ministry training on the job in a local church. The aim is to produce better equipped ministers, ready to lead churches that want to be healthy.
Raising the evangelistic temperature
A healthy church will be one that is effective in communicating the gospel message to others, so that even in a post-Christian secular society like Scotland, we will still expect to see God’s kingdom advancing.
We want to raise the evangelistic temperature across the whole denomination, so that every one of us becomes a little more intentional in sharing the good news.
We want to become more effective in making disciples. As a denomination we want to better equip leaders to train God’s people for works of service. And we want to signpost people to good discipleship resources.
We want to be a church that communicates well both internally and externally. We want to be able to tell the story of what God is doing among us, and we want to be able to communicate ideas and better co-ordinate activities across the denomination. We are keen therefore to strengthen the communication team.
Partnering with others
As we said already, this is not a vision that we can fulfil on our own as the Free Church. We want healthy gospel churches throughout Scotland. Churches that are founded on the Word of God, and are proclaiming the true Christian message, and so we will partner with other organisations and churches that share that commitment, for the advancement of God’s work.
It is going to cost money to make this vision happen. Church plants need ministers and facilities. Revitalisation of congregations and new outreach initiatives often require additional funds. Providing good training for ministers is not cheap. Raising the finance to facilitate all this will require a significant increase in income.
How can I get involved?
Please spend time praying and asking God to show you what his vision is for your local situation. Then start a conversation in your congregation or presbytery, asking “what would it mean for us to grow in health?”
If you are an elder or deacon, or member of a presbytery committee, or even a central committee, start thinking and talking about how we can work towards “A Healthy Gospel Church for Every Community in Scotland”. You can let the Mission Board know of your plans and find out how they can help you by contacting [email protected].
If you would like to give to financially support the vision and growth of the Free Church you can give to the Healthy Church Development Fund through the website or by contacting the Finance Manager on [email protected].