Dornoch is a small town in the Highlands of Scotland, about 40 miles north of Inverness. Dornoch Free Church is located in the heart of the community and for many years it has been spreading the Gospel throughout the area.
A few years back, however, we were a marginal congregation in all ways. We were a small congregation with a declining membership. Our buildings and finances were not favourable. We weren’t planning ahead and we had limited outreach opportunities.
Since then we have been encouraged to see improvements in all areas. The leadership team has been strengthened with additional members, Church membership has increased, as has numbers of people attending on Sundays, and more beautifully there is a clear vision of what it looks like to be a Gospel-centred Church community through members growing in their faith and taking on more active roles in the life of the Church. There is a broader age range of people attending the Church, with a busy creche, and the Sunday School has now resumed after a break. Preaching that seeks to be scriptural, Spirit dependent and relevant to the needs of the congregation and community, coupled with the addition of a praise band has lifted the worship and particularly engaged the younger generation of Church goers.
This has all been achieved through God’s help enabling His people in Dornoch to build relationships within the local community through different activities, such as “Little Lambs” – a Parent and toddler group which has seen steady regular attendance, and an Easter Fun Day which engaged 80 young children and their parents, and saw some of this number transition to the Easter Sunday service. There are many other regular activities and programmes – Road to Recovery (an addiction support group), A local youth group, Bible study and friendship groups, prayer groups, as well as the Minister’s interaction with local schools as a school chaplain.
In 2013 and 2014 the Church building underwent significant refurbishments which resulted in the development of a new, modern, all purpose ground floor which is used by many local community groups almost every day of the week. In 2018, the Church roof has been stripped and re-slated, and the general look of the Church building is much more attractive and welcoming.
The future presents challenges however Dornoch Free Church will continue to rely on God’s help to faithfully serve the local community, seek to build God’s Kingdom in the area, and disciple one another throughout lives joys and struggles. There is a 5 year development plan in place which has been embraced and encouraged by the congregation, which prayerfully will crystalize the direction and progress of the Church. The Church is grateful for the support of the PCA Church in Richmond, Virginia, who have sent mission teams to Dornoch to help establish the praise band and mentoring programmes, and long for this to continue.