A review of 2019 by Mission Director Rev. David Meredith.
The pressure is on to be amazing.
Our most prominent world leader lives by superlatives. Don’t get me wrong, the Bible leaves plenty room for big language. When we contemplate God, our Saviour and Creator, He indeed is awesome in every sense. The angels who surrounded His throne cried out three times that He was holy. Their heavenly colleagues admitted that He alone was worthy of honour and praise.
Online reporting can breed unrealism. Even the most sober of organisations fall into the trap of spinning out a record of unmitigated triumph for every gospel effort. That is fake news and we are in the business of truth not hype. Scripture records failure as well as victory. The disciples failed at casting our demons at one point and didn’t seem to understand that success is not either immediate or obvious.
In the work of Generation this year we have seen God at work. During one of our Generation 19 events, we know of at least one person who came to faith after a testimony night in one of our local congregations. Imagine the scene as these same angels mentioned earlier rejoiced as one sinner came to repentance. In a smallish highland town, we witnessed the miracle of new birth. A person passed from death to life.
We are thankful for the hundreds of gospel opportunities taken during the Generation 19 events at the beginning of September. Please pray with us as we repeat this next year with our 20/20 Vision programme.
The Church Development track continues to grow as 20 of our congregations are involved in an intentional course aimed at looking at ways to be involved in biblical mission in local congregations. The group met for an overnight at Gowanbank in Darvel when we shared in a team of teaching, laughing and weeping. Recently I heard of ‘the sleep of the happy Calvinist’, a philosophy which provoked people to inactivity while the Spirit was supposed to work. The apostle Paul certainly didn’t get this memo when he wrote, ‘I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.’ Our revitalisers are active.
Generation is involved in Church-planting. Our aim to is plant 30 new churches in the period 2017 to 2030. The slogan is 30 by 30. Let this not be a mere aspiration as we know that new churches reach new people. Our prayer request is that God raises workers who are called to church planting. We estimate that between new plants and pastoring existing churches we will require at least 60 new ministers and workers. This is not the plea of a dying church but one which aspires to bring glory to God by reaching out to even more people.
Life on the front line is tough. I have travelled to Paisley where the church of my own early childhood is diminished but not unbowed. Down the coast at Greenock the picture is not pretty either. Remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we are sure that as God beholds the towns of Renfrewshire and beyond that he sees beauty. The good news story in these two towns is that there are people in our churches there who love both the church and the town.
There is a new generation coming up. Our youth conference was packed full last year with a waiting list and similar is expected next year. Boot camp thrives as young people dedicate 5 days to intensive physical and theological training. I wish I could take you there and see the things that I see and meet young people winsomely obsessed with Jesus.
On the global scene life is changing. We rejoiced to see indigenous Africa leaders running Dumisani Bible Institute in King William’s Town, South Africa. Tough decisions had to be made as a decision was made to withdraw central funding from Manuel Raeno working in Colombia. There is the end of an era as Catriona MacDonald leaves Collegio San Andres, leaving no Scottish funded missionaries at the school. Is this good or bad? In the providence of God our people in central Asia have to come home. God’s ways are mysterious at times.
Other Free Church missionaries have been called to creative access nations and still others feel a call to places which we can only describe as among the darkest places on earth. Our emerging global mission audit reveals that Free Church congregations are supporting international mission all over the world.
In this brief review of the year we have no space to tell the whole story. A word which is currently in vogue is ‘perfect’. This is the response to many scenarios. We are not perfect or anywhere near it. We serve one who is.
Keep watching this website for updates on the work and join with us in praying, giving and growing.