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29 February 2012

Raising the bar together

Raising the bar together

Imagine a place where Christians love one another with the passion of Jesus; where they live for justice and mercy on a daily basis – a people who will not speak the harsh language of a consumer culture but transform society with words of hope, encouragement and mercy. Could there be a people who care less about the size of the congregation and more about the advancement of the Kingdom of God? A vision of the Church working in unity – praying, sharing and supporting one another to see transformation take place – in urban and rural areas, workplaces and creative hubs, schools, universities and homes for the elderly. The people of God united, in the power of God, to transform society – witnessing prisoners freed and chains being broken.

That is our vision for Scotland. This is what we work towards. Last year we brought groups together to discuss a strategy for mission for the nation. On several occasions key leaders of churches and organisations came together to talk about what it would take to see vibrant faith communities in every area of the country. In September we held a conference bringing around 130 leaders together to hear stories about what God was doing in the nation, building confidence, sharing ideas and vision. As an alliance we are ideally placed to bring individuals and churches together to share good news and we plan to have another conference later this year. This network of mission-focused conversations around sharing the gospel today is something we have invested energy and time into and we will continue to do so. We believe that 2012 could see these discussions move on significantly, ringing forward exciting and tangible results. One of the really positive stories of the Alliance working in Wales has been the development of Gweini. Gweini is a council of the Christian voluntary sector in Wales working together to speak with one voice into all levels of government, to network and to be informed about policy issues, best practice, fundraising etc. The success and growth of Gweini in Wales has led to the development of a similar model in England called Serve. And so this year in Scotland we will also start exploratory talks to see if a united body around the same issues and principles could develop.

Our advocacy work continues to take up a lot of time and energy. The main area we are focusing on is the government consultation around the introduction of same-sex marriage. We’ve been working with the Scottish government to host two Evangelical Leaders Consultation Meetings to provide an appropriate space for leaders to communicate effectively with government officials and also be equipped to mobilise their churches. Also, we are grateful to God for opening a door for us to take a few key evangelical church leaders to meet personally with Deputy First Minister Nicole Sturgeon. We have also been working in partnership with Care, Christian Institute, the Catholic Church and others to coordinate the Scotland For Marriage campaign. Please remember us in your prayers as we wrestle with this difficult situation. We continue to promote areas of mercy and justice through the work of Just Generation.

Prayer continues to be central to our work as we are convinced that uniting to seek God has huge significance. Several times in the last year we have worked with partners to call for days of prayer and repentance. These days have been significant in the lives of both individuals and congregations and more are planned for this year.

Lastly, we long to see a new generation of leaders coming forward in the nation. A group of gifted young Christians, called to work in all spheres of society; a group who are mentored, supported and unleashed upon the nation in the power of Jesus.

We have had a meeting bringing together young and established leaders and we will be developing this further this year. God is great, His love is wonderful and we pray that together we will continue to know His favour. Please pray for us as we work towards this vision.

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