Things have been quiet on the blog front for the last few months as my family and I have been settling in to life in Dunblane. My role as Church Worker for Dunblane Free Church began in August, and my studies at Edinburgh Theological Seminary started in September – consequently life is busy and blessed.
We love Dunblane. It’s a very scenic and peaceful place. Something of a commuter community too – so this creates challenges and opportunities. Challenges because many local Christians commute to churches outside Dunblane as they do for many other things work, uni, shopping etc. Whilst this is perfectly valid, it does raise a question – who will reach Dunblane with the gospel? Yet there are also opportunities. Opportunities, because the ‘city’ is bursting with life, people and potential. The fields are white unto harvest’.
I’m enjoying getting to know people in the community, and being the local free church ‘minister’ helps create opportunities to speak with people about life, God and church. In fact, I’d say, if anything, the last few months have been marked by ‘divine appointments’. Over the last few months there have been a number of significant contacts and conversations.
It’s been great to connect with the other local ministers. There are good inter-church relationships in Dunblane. In particular it has been good to meet other Christians and church leaders through the Dunblane Men’s Prayer Breakfast, the summer Joint-Service between Dunblane Free Church and St Blane’s Church of Scotland. It was also great to get together with other churches to take part in the National Prayer Weekend. We had a joint launch service which was well-attended, each local church then distributed prayer request post cards to almost every house in Dunblane. With around 4000 houses, we received a 1% response in terms of actual prayer requests. In terms of enabling facilitating collective local mission, local church unity and inter-church prayer – I was really encouraged by the whole initiative, but it’s just the tip of the ice berg – there is more to be done.
Dunblane Free Church
There seems to be a good vibe in DFC. We are looking at 9Marks study materials at our mid-week, the book of Acts on Sun mornings and Jonah in the evenings. Church folk seem encouraged and engaged – although there are a number of our folks in wars with health issues at this time, so we are praying a lot for healing and strength for God’s people.
I’m receiving invites to share testimony beyond DFC. This Saturday I’ll be speaking at the Gideon’s Convention in Falkirk, and in November I’ll be sharing testimony and the gospel at a Free Church outreach in Kirkcaldy. I’m also still ministering at Portban caravan park each the summer. I value this greatly because whilst I love the Free Church, it’s important to keep in mind that God’s Kingdom is much bigger than out own networks and denominations.
New Book – Soon to be Published
Prior to leaving Skye, I was really burdened to write another book. For many years I’ve been troubled about the church in Scotland. Radical Church: A Call to Rediscover the Radical Roots of the Christian Faith is the outcome of that burden. Evangelical Press were supportive of the proposal, and the book soon followed. The book looks at the church in the west, and the opportunities and challenges both within and out with the church – ultimately it is a call for the church to rediscover its foundations in the gospel. Only when foundations are restored will the church re-emerge as a prophetic community.
I’ve been encouraged by the feedback that I’ve received from those who have read the manuscript. At present, EP are putting the final touches on it, and God willing it should be ready by late November.
I’m loving the studies at ETS. There is a good mix of students, from very diverse backgrounds – independent, pentecostal, Baptist – various stripes of presbyterian – they are all there. I’m, at present, studying New Testament with Greek, and Systematic Theology. It’s great. Greek’s a slog. I’m never going to be a Greek scholar – but the NT and ST theology stuff is brilliant. Loving digging into Calvin, Warfield and other giants of the faith. It’s also refreshing to study in an environment where there is a shared conviction on plenary inspiration, amongst staff and students. Consequently, there is an overlap between theology and doxology – there is a spirit of worship in the seminary.
So – that’s the snap shot. Time to go and prepare this Sunday mornings sermon. For more updates on the ministry at DFC – follow us on Facebook.