When we gathered at the Crieff Hydro in Perthshire in February 2020, little did we know this would be the last time our Public Leadership course would gather in person for 19 months. We recently returned to the venue for our first weekend as the 2021-22 cohort – we are deeply thankful to God for His provision and guidance.

Our vision for Public Leadership here at the Evangelical Alliance is to transform our four nations of the UK over the next 30 years through having a generation of Christians leaders living out their public faith by being true salt and light in their work across all sectors. We believe these Christian leaders will bring the transformative power of the gospel to their communities, who complete their work with excellence and will fulfil the great commission – changing culture in the process.

Here in Scotland, we are currently in our fifth year of that 30-year vision. The core parts of the Public Leader: Scotland programme are three weekends together at the Crieff Hydro hotel, hearing from senior Christian leaders from across different sectors in Scotland, and having the chance to reflect and pray together on the role participants might themselves play as future public leaders in Scotland. 

In between the weekends at Crieff, we hold one-off visits and engagements at some of Scotland’s most significant culture-making institutions and participants are matched with a senior mentor from their sector. The 2021 – 22 cohort recently held its first weekend together, and it was joyful, challenging and sanctifying in equal measure.


Chris Dowling, director at the Cairngorm Group and co-pastor of King’s Inverness, opened the weekend challenging us to think through a deeper theology of faith and work and how we might shape culture both through our valuable work and through our local church. Catriona Paton, one of Police Scotland’s most senior staff, challenged us on the topic of resilience and the difference knowing Jesus makes to us in difficult seasons of our work. 

Also joining us was Martyn Link, chief strategy officer at the Wood Group leading their energy transition, and Fiona Stewart, founder and creative director of Foolproof Creative Arts who led us in a session of reflection, restoration and renewal after the chaos of the last 18 months. The participants also had the chance to think through together the current cultural moment we’re in and how they might start to think about contributing to it.

It was a hugely significant weekend which left us all stirring with a greater sense of the value of our work, our purpose in God’s giftings to us and how we can bring a gospel-shaped culture to the work that we do. We now look ahead to when we will next gather during the COP26 conference in Glasgow – potentially one of the most significant moments in Scotland’s history.

For more on the Evangelical Alliance’s public leadership work, click here. Further, if you haven’t already signed up to our free Christianity, climate and race webinar organised in partnership with Tearfund and Christian Aid, which will take place on Thursday, 7 October at 7.30 – 9pm, consider doing so today.