Trustees' Perspective: A time for prayer and action
Revitalising our presbyteries is critical as a source of inspiration for worship and mission and a vital support mechanism for ministry
How often do you hear the words, 'The church is dead and irrelevant today!'
No it's not – but it is the time for us all to ask if we are doing all we can to prepare the next generation for faithfulness to God and neighbour in the changing landscape of church and ministry all around us. There are leaders to encourage, there are children to teach, and there are people who need us to stand with them in the struggle for justice, equity and fairness.
How do we imagine a new discipleship, how do we fund a capacity for community amidst the disrupting changes around us, and how do we become the thriving church of a new era? You actually have the answer in your own localities. All of us who are grappling with the need to change in order to be more effective in mission. All of us who are willing to move forward, shaped by shared purpose and values and a vision of what the church could be in Scotland, a visible light of hope with the Gospel.
This is a time that calls for prayer, and action, for coming together with our brothers and sisters in other congregations and denominations. For co-operating to generate ideas and test them out.
To reclaim our vision and passion for our missional activity.
To support and motivate our ministers, deacons, readers, worship leaders, elders, and members to work collaboratively to achieve a radical change.
To provide leadership and vision and relational support.
To strengthen presbyteries and resource God's mission throughout Scotland.
All with an emphasis on progressing the growth and development of the Church through the new Presbyteries working closely with local congregations.
Historically the core functions of presbytery have been:
The proclamation of the Gospel - evangelism.
The mutual support and strengthening of local congregations - working together to build up the local church.
Proper oversight of all aspects of the life and work of the local church – responsibility for ensuring everything is running smoothly with the desire to be a visible light of hope in our communities, towns and cities, and nation.
Development through and in the new Presbyteries is one of the agreed priorities of GA23. The aim is to provide effective support to the new presbytery structure, further progress and delivery of presbytery mission plans, and to support the health and well-being of our people across the Church. Revitalising our presbyteries is critical as a source of inspiration for worship and mission and a vital support mechanism for ministry and is the means by which we can progress the true priorities of the Church.
The Book of Acts is a story of tremendous risk and remarkable reward. The young church was a church characterised by daring courage empowered by the Holy Spirit as the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taken out into the world by the disciples. Over the last two thousand years the church has adapted, floundered, thrived, failed, succeeded, fallen, died and risen again and again.
It will ever be thus as our reformation journey continues so that together we cultivate a thriving alternative future for the church in Scotland.
Rev David S Cameron
Convener, Assembly Trustees
This article first appeared in Life and Work's August 2023 issue. Digital and print subscriptions to Life and Work are available.