Church planting is very sexy at the moment, and this is the source of much amusement (and bemusement) for those of us who have been in the game for any length of time. Part of me wonders where all these ‘fans’ have been for the last decade and the other part of me is thankful, seeking to take full advantage of our new found ‘hero’ status.
As I survey the scene in our inner city council estates in Scotland I am left in little doubt that if we are to make any impact in the future we must get a vision for church planting in these areas. The question remains is how we go about it. According to my research and statistics, 50% of the 50 most deprived estates in Scotland have no evangelical witness whatsoever. The other 50% have a majority of dying and/or ineffectual churches in desperate need of revival/renewal. Thankfully, there are pockets of encouraging works, although often they are isolated and in need of more encouragement and support from the wider Christian body.
I think I am on safe ground when I say that there will be no spiritual awakening in our schemes in this country unless we get a movement geared toward envisioning, encouraging, equipping and sending a new generation of planters with a heart for these places. This can mean either (a) planting brand new congregations (the ‘easier’ route) or (b) revitalising dying/struggling existing churches (the best tactical approach for schemes in my opinion – the ‘hardest’ option).
I am excited for the future and I am hoping to return form my time here in NY with a more cohesive vision and plan for what this may look like. Please continue to pray for us as a family and Niddrie as a church.