by Gordon Matheson - Board of Ministry
PRAY FOR WORKERS
On 1st December, the Board of Ministry is inviting congregations across the Free Church (and among our many friends and sister churches) to pray the prayer of Luke 10:2.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
The scale of the need for Gospel workers in our church is fast becoming one of the biggest challenges we face in seeking to win Scotland anew for Christ. We are asking congregations to pray for "At least 60 new workers in a decade." That is a stark figure – but one rooted in the realities of Free Church ministry in Scotland at the close of 2019.
CHURCH PLANTING: 30 BY 2030
We're only about a tenth of the way to a vision outlined at the 2018 General Assembly: of 30 new church plants by 2030. That means we need at least 25 new church planters in the next decade.
VACANCIES & RETIREMENTS
We have 15 pastoral vacancies right now - all with permission to call a minister. Congregations can, and do, look outside the Free Church to fill these posts, but in the main, we fill vacancies by calling ministers from within the denomination. The next decade will also see 10-15 more ministers retire from existing works. This outstrips our training numbers! We will probably need closer to 25 new ministers to fill pastoral vacancies over the next decade.
The Free Church has about a dozen congregations that are not able to financially support a full-time pastoral ministry. We don't just want to see new churches arise to replace these old ones! Winning Scotland anew means planting, revitalising, and sustaining churches all go hand in hand. We want to see the Gospel prosper in towns like Greenock, Lochgilphead and Wick, or rural communities like Glenelg, Assynt, and Rogart. We have a merciful God who gives us creative ways of getting workers into these sorts of situations, but we still need the workers to go into these parts of the harvest field.
NOWS: NON-ORDAINED WORKERS
Whether its Women's workers, youth workers, alcohol and addiction workers, or workplace chaplaincy; healthy churches exhibit all sorts of ministries to effectively fulfil the Great Commission. We long to see God raise up workers in all these aspects of non-pulpit ministry too.
LONG TERM: 10:02 EVERY DAY
We hope it’s apparent that this is going to take a long-term commitment from our church. There is a cost to individuals coming under God’s call. There’s a cost to congregations becoming seed-beds for new workers to test God’s call and grow in apprenticeships. There is a cost to the church in training these workers and supporting them in ministry. But our God promises to not just meet, but exceed the requests of his people. That’s why we’re asking people not only to pray on 1st December, but to commit to pray the prayer of Luke 10:2 at 10:02am each day.
Set an alarm. Ask God for workers for his harvest.
At least 60 workers over the coming decade is just a drop in the ocean - Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.
Resources have been provided for use by congregations, they can be downloaded here