To be fearless, for a believer, is not to know no fear; but to act, with boldness and trust, in the face of fear. As a child, I marvelled at the stories of Christians who circumnavigated the globe as missionaries, called by God and fearless in the face of famine, illness, and physical violence. Today, I cannot imagine the faith and courage of those mission personnel who take their families to live in places like Afghanistan, where there is regular violence against Westerners.
In our partnership with Eden teams (more on our eden teams here), we invite Scottish Baptists to move onto the poorest housing estates, as servants of God, seeking an opportunity to serve and witness in the name of Jesus. This past week, I visited the team in Hillhead (Kirkintilloch) and talked with parents who have moved, with their infant children, into streets with known dealers and addicts. They are discovering what it means for them to be fearless, as the follow the call of God on their life.
The need, however, is far greater than that found in just a couple of locations. Can you imagine what our witness would be like if we, Scottish Baptists, were known for our fearlessness? All of our networks and neighbourhoods are calling out for disciples of Christ to be fearless in their witness and service: a people who will remember the often repeated commandment and promise of God, “Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This year, our Assembly will unpack aspects of discipleship in relation to this word, “Fearless.” We will be joined by Teun Van der Leer, Rector of the Dutch Baptist Seminary, who will be exploring our Baptist roots and the fearless witness of early Baptists. Rosey McFarlane, Pastor of Pastoral Care & Prayer at Stirling Baptist Church (watch Alan’s interview with Rossey), will be helping us reflect on fearless prayer and how we might grow in boldness in and through prayer. Kang-San Tan, General Director of BMS World Mission, will close our Assembly with an exploration of the topic, ‘fearless mission’, reflecting on what it looks like today for us to participate in the mission of God with a Godly boldness.