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April Connect out now!

The April edition of Connect is hot off the press and includes an exciting update from the Lighthouse Church in Forres, reflections on Lebanon from Jim Purves' recent visit and Judy White finds out how some of our churches have been using Table Talk.

Please click on the graphic to take you to Connect:

'Unbelievable'!

SBLPA DEVOTIONALS - APRIL 
'UNBELIEVABLE'
 
The church is facing big challenges. Everything is being questioned. There are competing claims for truth. We believe, but sometimes our faith feels un-believable! That's the theme for and challenge which Spring Harvest 2014 will unpack, 'Unbelievable'!
 
Yet despite that, God has an unbreakable confidence in us, a confidence which should inspire us to have confidence in our calling as Christians. It's a confidence which  equips and enables us to face the challenges of an increasingly poly-cultural Scotland, where there is a pick and mix of religions, and yet a confidence which enables us to step out of the boat as Peter did, and addresses doubts such as Thomas had. A confidence that is, humanly speaking, 'Unbelievable' 
  
'Unbelievable' allows us to rejoice in who God is, what He wants to do in the world through us and what He wants to do in us.
 
Unpacking the 'Unbelievable' theme during April will be 30 members of the Scottish Baptist Lay Preachers' Association who will, each day, share a devotional blog accessible on the front page of our website at www.sblpa.co.uk
 
We humbly offer these devotionals to the wider Scottish Baptist family praying that for some what we share might be encouraging, for others it might be challenging and for still others it might be inspiring. 
 
Take just a few minutes each day to log on at www.sblpa.co.uk to read and then reflect on the devotional for that day.

Small Church, Big Impact?

Small Church, Big Impact?

I am looking forward to hosting this special church gathering in 2 months time. Already the response from our smaller churches has been exceptional with 50 % of the places already reserved. Leadership teams of 3 and 4 are coming together to look at how their church can increase their gospel impact. During the day we will draw on experience from several leaders who are currently leading smaller churches and from National Team members who have all served in smaller congregations.  We will together seek to find answers to questions already raised such as “what is the future for small churches?” “How do we reach the local community with the gospel with limited resources of people and finance?”

We invite leadership teams from our smaller churches to come together ready to contribute what they have learnt on their journey as a church as well as to receive from others.

Bookings for this free event are being taken online at http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/small-church-big-impact-tickets-10311204089 ">http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/small-church-big-impact-tickets-10311204089 or from Jenny in the office 0141 423 6169

Open Doors UK announces appointment of its first Development Manager for Scotland

Open Doors UK announces appointment of its first Development Manager for Scotland

Open Doors UK are delighted to announce that from 1st May 2014 Rev Colin Mutch is to become their first Development Manager in Scotland. Colin will act as the national advocate for Open Doors in Scotland raising awareness of the countless number of Christians who everyday face injustice, persecution and discrimination simply because of their faith.

Open Doors is a globally recognised ministry with almost 60 years’ experience serving Christians where persecution is most severe and helping strengthen the church to be ‘the church’ in these most hostile places.

Open Doors CEO in the UK & Ireland Eddie Lyle stated, “Our founder Brother Andrew spent some of his most formative years in Glasgow at the old WEC training centre and it really does feel as if we are coming home with this exciting new appointment in Scotland. It was from Scotland that Brother Andrew went on to pioneer the ministry of Open Doors, smuggling Bibles into Eastern Europe at the height of the Cold War and to write the book ‘God’s Smuggler’, today regarded as a Christian classic. Today the Cold War has ended but Christians are now persecuted in over 50 nations. Christians in North Korea and Syria for example are among two of the most vigorously persecuted people groups in the world, yet the atrocities these believers face is alarmingly representative of an escalating global trend. Open Doors believe such persecution can no longer be left as a private affair and our message to the Church in Scotland is that it's time to wake up and play a much more active role in supporting our fellow believers in prayer and practical action. I am hugely encouraged by Colin’s appointment as he brings all the leadership necessary for this vital task.”

News of Colin’s appointment has been received enthusiastically by Christian leaders in Scotland

Rev Richard Tiplady, Principal, International Christian College, Glasgow and Chairman of the Scottish Development Council of Open Doors said, “Colin’s appointment as Scotland Development Manager is a key step in the goal of making Christians in the UK more aware of how they can support persecuted Christians elsewhere in the world.”

Rev Kenny Borthwick, Minister, Holy Trinity Wester Hailes Church of Scotland commented, “I am delighted about Colin's appointment. He has an established record as a church leader of enormous integrity and has a warm hearted pastoral awareness of the life of the Church in Scotland. I pray he will help many in Scotland to hear and respond to the voice of our persecuted brothers and sisters calling to us from many nations.”

Colin Mutch added, “I am very excited to be called by God to bring these stories to the Church in Scotland. It is an amazing privilege to be entrusted to engage with Churches across the nation in helping to resource them in praying for the persecuted. As Senior Pastor of Southside Church in Ayr for over 15 years I have regularly been challenged by the needs of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are being persecuted for daring to call Jesus their Saviour and Lord. I am passionate about mobilising the Scottish church into prayer and action for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. Scripture tells us 'If one part (of the body) suffers, every part suffers with it' 1 Cor 12:26. We are part of the same global church family. We are all in this together."

 

A Summer of Sport

In the March 'Connect we have details of how churches can connect with our "More than Gold partners and our own "step out" programme. Read the story of developments in Carluke and the "Small Church, Big Impact" conference.
 
Read also the January 2014 Council Digest, with some stories from the recent visit of 9 Scottish Baptist women to Kolkata.