Did you know that last year, the Scottish Baptist Lay Preachers’ Association undertook 1,630 services, 58% of which were in 106 Scottish Baptist churches? With around 90 members drawn from Baptist churches across Scotland, and the strong emphasis which is placed on the development of their members, the Association is well positioned to help, and has a genuine desire to serve, Scottish Baptist churches as effectively as possible.
Helping Smaller Scottish Baptist Churches
In particular, the Association has a concern for the number of Baptist churches in Scotland which have memberships of under 50 and/or are struggling to maintain a full-time or even a part-time pastor. The Association has now developed a tailored ‘menu of ministry’. So for example, over an 8-week period they would be able to send a team of up to 8 lay preachers, or 2 lay preachers working together to sustain the preaching ministry, or, if a church would prefer, a single lay preacher for the entire period.
At the heart of what the Association is offering is partnership! It’s not about the Association coming in and ‘doing it all’, but rather their encouraging members of each local church to develop their own gifts by being involved with them. Equally, and with prayerful discernment, they’d work carefully with any church to prepare a teaching series for the period, in order to provide continuity and systematic teaching. This would not be prescriptive in nature, but rather appropriate to the life of the church at that time. Given their commitment to serving each local church well, the church would have the opportunity to provide constructive feedback on each lay preacher.
Identifying a new generation of lay preachers and developing the gifts of young people in preaching is something for which the Association has a real vision. They believe that to prepare diligently for, and in partnership with, the next generation of leaders, is to make a vital investment for the future. Think of who first encouraged you and gave you opportunities to serve – perhaps a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader, or a pastor.
The Association is keen to identify and intentionally encourage young committed believers in their late teens or early/mid-twenties who are showing signs of gifting in communication and leadership, and who may wish to explore the art of preaching. Because the Association is committed to doing so, it has amended its Constitution to create a new ‘Young Adults’ category of membership, so young people from our churches can benefit from the training, mentoring and support the Association provides. This will enable them, with the commitment and encouragement of their local church, to discern if there is a calling from God into preaching ministry, which could then lead them ultimately into full, active membership in the Association.
If you’re interested in progressing either or both of these two new initiatives, or would value a chat to explore further, then do please get in touch with Glen Cartwright (email@example.com) or Douglas Inglis (firstname.lastname@example.org).