Widening the Circle: A Call for Submissions to Mission in Contemporary Scotland

I’ve been surprised and very pleased by the response to this blog and its accompanying book. As my first book – Atheism, Fundamentalism and the Protestant Reformation – cost a wallet-busting £75 – I had got rather used to literary obscurity, and so it’s wonderful to have real people to talk to about the ideasContinue reading “Widening the Circle: A Call for Submissions to Mission in Contemporary Scotland”

Out of Control: Do We Have the Ability to Reverse Church Decline?

As I was enjoying time off over the Christmas period, watching box sets and sipping Negronis, I found myself returning again and again to this question: do we have any power to reverse the numerical decline of the Church? Are there secret levers still left to pull, and silver bullets still to load in ourContinue reading “Out of Control: Do We Have the Ability to Reverse Church Decline?”

Book Launch: Come and Join the Conversation!

I’m delighted to announce that there will be a book launch for MissIon in Contemporary Scotland on 14th October  on Zoom! To book, head to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-mission-in-contemporary-scotland-tickets-179875371077 All tickets are free. Chaired by former Moderator the Very Rev Martin Fair, this will be an opportunity to hear readings from the book, pose your own questions toContinue reading “Book Launch: Come and Join the Conversation!”

Spirituality: Untapped Mission Field or Giant Red Herring?

Religion sometimes gets a bad rep these days. From Trump-supporting evangelicalism in the United States, to the Taliban, to Northern Ireland, to the stereotypes of Victorian moralism, an increasingly small number of people want to be labelled with the word ‘religious’ or even that of ‘Christian’. Yet as the labels ‘religious’ and ‘Christian’ have declinedContinue reading “Spirituality: Untapped Mission Field or Giant Red Herring?”

Scottish Nationalism: Good or Bad for the Church?

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon announced new plans to hold a referendum on Scottish independence by the end of 2023. Scottish Christians were passionately involved in both sides of the debate during the referendum of 2014, and will no doubt play a similar role in the next one.  What is noteworthy, however, is what the Scottish Government’sContinue reading “Scottish Nationalism: Good or Bad for the Church?”

Service or Evangelism? The Focus of Mission in the Scottish Church

“God doesn’t care about bums on seats on a Sunday morning.” “The Church is only part of God’s Kingdom. He’s far more active elsewhere.” “God prefers for one hungry person to be fed than ten to come to faith.” While I was on placement during my ministry training, or doing the rounds on pulpit supply,Continue reading “Service or Evangelism? The Focus of Mission in the Scottish Church”

How On Earth Did We Get Here? Explaining the Decline of the Scottish Church

On Easter Sunday 2017, the results of Peter Brierley’s Scottish Church Census were revealed. While everyone expected the numbers to be bad, they were perhaps not prepared for just how bad they were. For the Church Census revealed thatbetween 1986 and 2016, only thirty years, churchgoing in Scotland had fallen by 50%. Worse than that, in the fourteen yearsContinue reading “How On Earth Did We Get Here? Explaining the Decline of the Scottish Church”

Doing Mission in the Dark? Why We Need More Research into Mission in Contemporary Scotland

I don’t know about you, but I find the times we’re living through to be very confusing. Even as a Church leader and researcher, I find it hard to fully understand what is going on, what we should be doing and – most importantly – just what God is doing through it all. That’s notContinue reading “Doing Mission in the Dark? Why We Need More Research into Mission in Contemporary Scotland”