Published in The Record 57 (2022) What is the Church for? This is a question that has been growing in volume since the late 1950s, when Scots began to desert the Church in their droves. Yet as the Scottish Church declined, it is a question that has also become pressing for Church members themselves. WhenContinue reading “The Primacy of Worship and the Necessity of Mission”
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One Year On: What I’ve Learned Since Mission in Contemporary Scotland was Launched
Mission in Contemporary Scotland was published on 8th October 2021. Since then, I’ve spoken at a number of conferences and events about the Book, as well as engaging in a fair bit of – not always pleasant! – online discussion. I’ve been surprised at the range of people who have engaged with the Book, and gratefulContinue reading “One Year On: What I’ve Learned Since Mission in Contemporary Scotland was Launched“
The Blessing of Decline
O Lord In the hour of our deepest need When death and life combine Incline our hearts to welcome The blessing of decline. Sometimes people ask me why I wrote Mission in Contemporary Scotland. One reason – which is rather funny – is because I applied for a job that required publications in mission, and – beingContinue reading “The Blessing of Decline”
Mistaking the Tares for the Wheat? The Five Marks of Mission, Ministry Planning, and the Future of the Church
One of Jesus’ most interesting parables is that of the wheat and the tares. While that parable does many things, one of them is to illustrate that we live in a world of saints and sinners, light and shade, good and evil, and that it is sometimes very difficult to tell whether you are reapingContinue reading “Mistaking the Tares for the Wheat? The Five Marks of Mission, Ministry Planning, and the Future of the Church”
Doctrine and Mission: What’s the Relationship?
My penultimate post Without People the Vision Perishes provoked quite a lot of interest, with hundreds of people reading its argument that traditional denominations need to ‘get real’, and work with smaller and non-denominational churches if they are to stand any chance of surviving, growing and – most importantly of all – reaching Scotland with the GoodContinue reading “Doctrine and Mission: What’s the Relationship?”
Long Read: How Should We Relate Christian Mission to Christian Ministry?
Depending on who you ask, the Church of Scotland is either entering into an unprecedented series of cuts that will destroy its capacity for mission, or pivoting towards being a fully missional church. The purpose of this post is not to give my own view on the ongoing reforms – after all, who needs yet anotherContinue reading “Long Read: How Should We Relate Christian Mission to Christian Ministry?”
Without People, the Vision Perishes: Why the Church of Scotland Needs to Change its Recruitment Policy
This week, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been making headlines with to its decision to allow ministers to ‘opt-in’ to solemnise same-sex marriages. Away from the big headlines, however, have been a range of other, more low-key proposals concerning mission. Amongst these are: It remains to be seen how soon theseContinue reading “Without People, the Vision Perishes: Why the Church of Scotland Needs to Change its Recruitment Policy”
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!”