A VISION TO PLANT 21 NEW CHURCHES IN SCOTLAND BY THE END OF 2021
WELCOME 03 OUR ADVENTURE SO FAR 04 THE 21 BY 21 VISION 06 STEP BY STEP 07 LOCATIONS 08 GUIDING BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES 09 OUR VINEYARD FAMILY 10 PLAYING OUR PART 12 PROCESS 13 LEADERSHIP ACADEMY 15 FAQS 16
On Easter Sunday 2017, the Sunday Herald newspaper boldly declared “Christianity is in Crisis in Scotland” on the front page. The article was based on research that had been diligently carried out on behalf of Scottish churches. They were right. Since 2002 one third of the Church in Scotland has disappeared. On average 10 churches in our nation have closed every month. Nearly half of the Church is over 65.
We’re praying for a kind of revolution, a turn of events so dramatic and significant that only God can be the explanation. Will you join with us as we invest our lives in pursuit of a new day for the local church in Scotland? And maybe God is calling you, even as you read this, to a church planting adventure. Or to stay with us, and to invest yourself in our vision to reach North East Scotland with the good news of Jesus.
It’s time to act. Our desire is to play our part in writing a new future for the Church in Scotland. Alongside the many fantastic movements and initiatives in our nation, we want to step up and do something useful.
With love, Chuck and Taryn Freeland
OUR ADVENTURE SO FAR
We have been on a remarkable journey as a church family. It’s hard now to remember the church as we were 10 years ago – perhaps 150 of us, meeting all together in one Sunday service in the centre of Aberdeen, longing for more. The Lord has been wildly, extravagantly generous to us. In his kindness, mercy and grace he has led us. And as we have followed his prompting and guidance, he has caused us to be more fruitful than we ever could have imagined. Literally hundreds of people have become Christians through the ministry of our church in recent years.
SPREADING LIFE TOGETHER – 2012 We had tried everything we could think of to resolve the space issues that accompanied our growth. We nearly embarked on a multi-million pound building project before the Lord rescued us. We tried to buy several large buildings and failed at every step. When we had exhausted all of our ideas, the Lord told us his – to stop trying to build up, and instead to spread out. We were to begin to think of the whole of North East Scotland as our parish, and all the people who live here as having a destiny that is somehow linked with ours. The whole church family responded as one, giving so generously and sacrificially that our accountant literally wept tears of joy. This open-handed generosity released us to launch new expressions of our church in many locations in short succession. Many of you have now found a place in our family as a result of that moment. Isn’t God kind?
PHASE 2 â€“ 2015 By 2015 we had 5 church sites, the growth and fruitfulness had continued and again it was time for the Lord to nudge us by his Spirit towards a future that we had never considered. We had the sense that he was asking us to lift our eyes and our imaginations again with this exciting call:
T O P L AY O U R PA R T I N WRITING A NEW FUTURE FOR THE CHURCH IN SCOTLAND It was clear that God was calling us, alongside other churches across the nation, to rise up and meet the challenge of decline presented to us. It was a call to multiplication, to church planting, to obedience and to faith. The vision was for not just our region, but the whole nation covered with life-giving, Gospel-
proclaiming, society-transforming, Bible-believing local churches. It was for sites planting churches and churches launching sites. It was for a church who gives herself away and pours herself out for the sake of the unreached people in our nation. Once again our church family responded as they always have â€“ with extravagant and deliberate generosity. EVERYTHING THAT FOLLOWS IS A CONTINUATION AND A PERPETUATION OF THE SAME ADVENTURE.
THE 21 BY 21 VISION
There is more prayer happening in the life of our church than perhaps ever before. In groups of all sizes, and from the youngest of children to the eldest of men and women, our people have been seeking God. Twice in the last 3 years we have given prolonged periods to sustained prayer and fasting. We believe that God has, over the course of the last year, brought a new clarity and focus to our vision â€“ he has given us a target. We are to dream and to gear-up for the planting of 21 new (additional) churches in Scotland by the end of 2021. This is above, and separate to, our call to launch a new City Church site every 2 years or so.
We believe that having this target is incredibly helpful â€“ the Lord has given us something to aim for as we plant churches. He has defined the parameters. He has determined the pace. He has set the agenda. We must now pray with increasing intensity and sincerity. We must set out on the adventure. We must walk in faith and not fear. And we must give it our best shot. The great news is, that this vision remains rooted in our original Spreading Life Together vision. Whether you go with a church-planting team or, like most of us, give yourself to serving God with us here in this region, you are playing your part in fulfilling the call of God for City Church.
LETâ€™S DO THIS.
STEP BY STEP As has so often been the case with other previous challenges, we realise that planting 21 churches in a 5 year period is certainly very difficult, and may well be impossible (without the Lordâ€™s intervention). However, if we were to set out to reach our target by December 2021, then it might look like this:
1 CHURCH 2018 - PL ANT 2 CHURCHES 2019 - PL ANT 4 CHURCHES 2020 - PL ANT 6 CHURCHES 2021 - PL ANT 8 CHURCHES
2017 - PL ANT
So where will we plant churches? The honest answer is that we don’t know. But we know that, as one of our heroes once said, “Jesus didn’t die for clean air – he died for people”. So at the moment our sense is that any town or city with a population over 15,000 people would be a good place to start a church. It will be the church planters’ responsibility to listen to where the Holy Spirit is sending them. According to Wikipedia, and after having removed from the list the places that already have (or are about to have) a Vineyard church, that means that the following would seem to be good locations:
Dundee (147,710) Paisley (76,220) East Kilbride (74,740) Livingston (56,570) Hamilton (53,200) Cumbernauld (51,610) Dunfermline (50,380) Kirkcaldy (49,460) Ayr (47,190) Perth (47,180) Kilmarnock (46,350) Coatbridge (43,970) Glenrothes (39,100) Airdrie (37,130) Irvine (33,740) Dumfries (33,280) Motherwell (32,120) Rutherglen (31,180) Wishaw (30,510) Cambuslang (27,610) Bearsden (27,340) Clydebank (26,640) Newton Mearns (24,650)
Arbroath (23,640) Musselburgh (23,620) Bishopbriggs (23,430) Elgin (22,980) Renfrew (22,010) Bathgate (21,070) Bellshill (20,650) Alloa (20,390) Dumbarton (19,950) Kirkintilloch (19,630) Peterhead (18,450) Barrhead (17,620) Grangemouth (17,280) Blantyre (17,090) Kilwinning (16,420) Johnstone (16,390) Bonnyrigg (16,360) Penicuik (16,110) Viewpark (16,020) Erskine (15,530) Broxburn (15,360) Port Glasgow (15,190) Larkhall (15,020)
GUIDING BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES WE GIVE AWAY OUR BEST You can imagine the sadness at the church in Antioch when the Holy Spirit told them to release Barnabus and Saul to the proclamation of the Gospel and the planting of churches in new areas (Acts 13). But it’s in the giving and the sending of our “brightest and best”, that not only do we give the new churches the best possible chance of health and growth, but that we also will find blessing. It’s a way of life that’s hard, but “freely we have received, so freely we give”, and in doing so we find joy.
WE WALK BY FAITH It may be that planting 21 churches is beyond us. But it is not beyond the Lord. To our eyes this challenge is extremely difficult but to the Lord, nothing is too hard. So our decision is the same as Elijah when he prophesied rain, and the same as when Simon Peter walked on the water – we live by faith and not by sight. WE GO Staying as we are, and where we are, is attractive. But for the people of God, there is an imperative to reach as many people as we can in our lifetimes with the Good News of Jesus, in order to give them the opportunity to accept or reject him. This means new places and spaces, new people and new people groups.
OUR VINEYARD FA M I LY
The last few years as members of the Vineyard family have been so sweet. It is possible that where you are, in your site, our membership of the Vineyard has not particularly affected you. But many within our church have experienced a flow of life and encouragement from our wider Vineyard family in a myriad of ways. The Vineyard has been planting churches around the world for 40 years, and we have the privilege of drawing upon the wealth of expertise and resources within the family as we work towards the 21by21
vision. The systems for assessment, training and coaching of church planters are well established, providing each plant with the greatest possible chance of health and growth. All of the new churches that we plant will immediately belong to the Vineyard, meaning that they will be supported and mentored within our Vineyard family. It also means that weâ€™ll get to remain in friendship and family with each church plant, but without City Church being structurally or financially responsible for them.
PLAYING OUR PA R T
There are 4 ways in which you could play your part. PRAY We are asking the Lord for a miracle. In fact, we are asking him for many, many miracles. If we are to come close to the 21 target, it will need to be by his sovereign grace, with his provision and guided by his Spirit. Please pray for the miracles to come. PLANT We believe that there are lots of people of all ages and stages who God is calling to be leaders and planters of brand new churches all over Scotland. Maybe it’s you! Is he calling you home to where you grew up? Are you keen to retire to a new city? Is
your job being relocated? Have you always known that you would live in a particular place someday? This could be the beginning of your adventure! JOIN It may be that leading a new church is not for you. However we want to send every plant off with a team. Perhaps your role would be to lead some small groups, to establish the kids’ ministry, or to help with the worship. INVEST This adventure is an opportunity for us all – staying or going – to draw nearer to God and to trust him afresh with our lives. Let’s not waste our moment, but rather offer ourselves once again to the Lord. GIVE We never want lack of money to be the reason why we’re unable to fulfil what God is calling us to. Let’s all consider what he is asking each of us to give to the ministry of our church family.
If youâ€™re beginning to wonder whether the Lord is calling you to plant a church, here are the steps:
1 2 3 4 5 6
COME TO A CONFERENCE (City Leadership Conference or The Call church planting conference which happens twice a year)
SPEAK TO YOUR SITE PASTOR APPLY FOR LEADERSHIP ACADEMY VINEYARD DISCERNMENT PROCESS FOR CHURCH PLANTERS (by recommendation only)
FURTHER VINEYARD TRAINING PLANT A CHURCH!
“NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO IMMEASURABLY MORE
THAN ALL WE ASK OR IMAGINE,
ACCORDING TO HIS POWER THAT IS AT WORK WITHIN US,
TO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH AND IN CHRIST JESUS THROUGHOUT ALL GENERATIONS,
FOR EVER AND EVER! AMEN.”
// EPHESIANS 3:20-21
/ LEADERSHIP / ACADEMY As part of our commitment to the call upon us, we have created the Leadership Academy through which we look to invest, equip and release emerging leaders into the fullness of all that God has for them. We anticipate that every church planter will have been through this course before they go.
leaders. We look to provide a balance of practical and theoretical content through our course and offer full-time and part-time schedules. If you are over the age of 21 and interested in finding out more about the Leadership Academy, please contact us here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our 10 month programme runs from September to June and through it we look to help our students build a strong WHOLEHEARTED foundation. During the course students have the chance to shadow, learn from, and work alongside experienced
• WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SITE AND A CHURCH PL ANT?
hour’s drive of Aberdeen would be a site, but beyond an hour would be a new church plant. • HOW WILL THE NEW PL ANTS BE FUNDED?
A church plant will be an entirely new church family. They will have their own leadership, accounts and charity number. The dream is that they will, in time, become large resource churches with multiple sites just like us.
Launching a new site of City Church is relatively expensive because it becomes a fully functioning local church on day one, requiring lots of kit and staff time. Planting a church is substantially cheaper in the short-term because it begins much smaller and grows over time. Initially the church planters will move to the new town or city, get a job and begin to gather people in the evenings and weekends. So with a small launch fund of a few thousand pounds and a team committed to supporting the plant financially, the budget can grow as the plant grows.
The deciding factor between a site or a plant is geography. We would anticipate that within an
We intend to “prime the pump” for each church plant by taking an offering at all our sites when
City Church, although it does mission and worship in multiple locations, is still one church. We have one leadership team, one set of bank accounts and one charity number. Our vision is to spread out across NE Scotland over time.
the plant is commissioned. You are welcome to give to that offering as the Lord leads.
we have anything that’s helpful to you then we’ll give it to you.
• WHAT KIND OF PERSON MAKES A GOOD CHURCH PL ANTER?
We also anticipate that a number of people will join us in Aberdeen for a season, to then be planted out from us later. The Leadership Academy would be a great place for people in that position.
There is no one personality profile for the role – it takes all sorts. In general terms some key qualities would be a depth of personal spirituality; an entrepreneurial drive; an ability to gather others to a vision; a heart to reach lost people; an ability to communicate clearly and a demonstrable call to church planting. The rest – knowledge and experience can be accumulated along the way. • I AM NOT A MEMBER OF CITY CHURCH – WILL YOU HELP ME TO PL ANT A CHURCH? The short answer is yes. We want to see new churches established all across the nation, and if
‘ENLARGE THE PLACE OF YOUR TENT, STRETCH YOUR TENT CURTAINS WIDE, DO NOT HOLD BACK; LENGTHEN YOUR CORDS, STRENGTHEN YOUR STAKES. FOR YOU WILL SPREAD OUT TO THE RIGHT AND TO THE LEFT; YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL DISPOSSESS NATIONS AND SETTLE IN THEIR DESOLATE CITIES.’ ISAIAH 54:2-3
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A VISION TO PLANT 21 NEW CHURCHES IN SCOTLAND BY THE END OF 2021