The first weekend of November marked the beginning of the Scottish Public Leader (SPL) 2019-2020 journey for this year’s participants.

A diverse group of people in their twenties and thirties gathered together over 24 hours to learn and grow in their role as public leaders in their area of work. It was a great opportunity to get to know new people who are passionate for Christ, and who are placed in a wide variety of professions: lawyers, medics, teachers, entrepreneurs and architects, to name but a few were represented at this weekend. The knowledge and experience shared added flavour and quality of discussion, conversation and learning to the sessions. 

The aim and purpose of SPL are to equip and empower the coming generation of leaders in Scotland to transform the nation in all areas of public life. This is the fourth year that this programme has taken place, and it has been a huge encouragement to the team every year to see the course grow and the participants make connections and friendships. 

This network encourages us as individuals and allows us to build connections with fellow Christians across different sectors. The focus of this first weekend was how our identity and character in Christ shapes leadership on a personal and a professional level. The speakers were from a diverse range of backgrounds, all with incredible insights into being bold and courageous leaders who lead with humility and grace.


We were encouraged by a CEO of a large corporation to bear in mind the passage in Galatians 5:22 – 23, which provides a template for the character we aim to embody as leaders. Another speaker, a senior police officer, spoke about the need for physical safety and spiritual safety as we grow in faith and into leadership positions throughout the nation. She spoke candidly about the need we have for God’s protection on ourselves as leaders; we were encouraged to put on the full armour of God, spoken of in Ephesians 6:12, each and every day, as it is through Christ that we are effective, emboldened and fruitful leaders.

The SPL programme includes several other events dotted throughout the year, with the aim of bringing the participants together roughly once a month to reconnect and receive further teaching and to gain from the experience of senior leaders. Last week, the public leadership team hosted a follow-up event in Glasgow for participants, mentors and speakers from across the SPL years to gather together and pray for the nation and connect with one another. This was another incredible opportunity to see a tangible expression of John 17:23 – a united body of Christ praying for the nation of Scotland, its people and its leadership. 

There was a sense of warmth, community and enthusiasm in the room – be it during the sessions, coffee breaks or conversations at the dinner table. All in all, my personal experience of SPL so far has been permeated by pure excitement, encouragement and inspiration. The calibre of speakers, mentors, organisers and participants who are involved in SPL have blown me away, and I have already learnt so much. I am particularly reminded of Proverbs 27:17: As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” 

It is our hope and prayer that this community and excitement for SPL Year 4 will grow and spread across the nation, from the Highlands to the cities and beyond.