by Rev. Jonathan de Groot (Christ Church, Glasgow)
Earlier this year Andrew Giffen presented the vision of the Free Church of Scotland for ‘A Healthy Gospel Church for Every Community in Scotland.’ At Christ Church Glasgow we were encouraged by this vision since we are committed to planting and establishing a healthy gospel church in north west Glasgow.
Having launched in September 2019, our initial focus has been evangelism as we have aimed to be a church not just for ourselves but for those who wouldn’t normally go to church. God has been so good and we rejoice in the unbelievers who have come to saving faith in Jesus and the believers who have committed themselves to serve and use their gifts through our church plant. Yet, as the plant has grown, we have needed to develop structures and prioritise what we do as we move forward. Amongst other areas, the Free Church vision has inspired us to invest resources (time, prayer, people, finances) in three main areas as we seek to be a healthy gospel church.
We are excited to be part of the Free Church vision for planting 30 new churches by 2030 and recognise the need for more churches in our city and presbytery. In the initial development plan for Christ Church Glasgow we wanted to be a church that plants churches that plant churches. From the outset our people have been aware that this is on the horizon, not because it is a trendy thing to do these days, but because multiplying churches is the best way, under God, to reach new people and make new disciples. Encouraged by the Healthy Gospel Church vision, we have been prompted to initiate early plans to make this happen.
In the early days we were grateful for the willingness of David Trimble to come and join us as a Ministry Apprentice. While we had no structures yet in place for any kind of training (foundation or core) we have seen this develop with the help and guidance of the Board of Ministry. David has subsequently gone on to become a Minister in Training, combining study at Edinburgh Theological Seminary with ministry training in our church. We recognise the need for such training to be an organic part of healthy church life and are now trying to develop our ministry apprentice scheme to develop a continual pipeline of training men and women for gospel work, both to serve locally and further afield.
Jesus commanded his followers to go and make disciples of all nations. We love to see people coming to faith in Jesus and our role is to make disciples of Jesus. The Healthy Gospel Church vision has challenged us to become more effective in this. As well as our existing community groups, which we encourage all our people to belong to, we have recently given thought to how one on one discipleship might happen at Christ Church Glasgow. Firstly, it involves people being willing to be discipled by someone in the church family and secondly, it involves being willing to disciple someone else in the church family. Practically, these discipleship relationships would involve four aspects: prayer, learning, growth, fellowship. Our goal is to deepen our love for Jesus, develop our faith and give us a greater desire to see more people come to know him.
While we have plans, we are well aware that it is God’s work and not ours, “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:7). We depend upon the sovereign grace and power of Almighty God to advance his kingdom as we seek to obey the great commission by praying and working for the salvation of many in Glasgow to the glory of God.
Click here to find out more about the Healthy Gospel Church vision.