• Messengers of Hope
    Assembly booking is now open. We are returning to Motherwell Civic Centre. Early Bird discounts are available until the end of the month! Everything sounds predictable, except this year you could be a keynote speaker. You are being invited to bring a message of hope to our Assembly. There is no age limit, no media limitation, you don’t need to have achieved some elevated status of leadership within the church. We are looking to gather together messages of hope from the churches collectively, and also from individuals who will take the time to carefully and prayerfully craft a letter, tweet or video to be shared in the run up to Assembly and during the course of our gathering. Baptists have been committed to the priesthood of all believers since their inception. One expression of this is that we believe that each of us can speak directly with our Father God and can hear his voice directly, through others, in his word and in the world around us. Taking time to listen to all voices is a challenge. Big voices are always easier to hear, yet in Scripture it is so often the still, small voice that we are drawn to, in order to hear the word of God. Your message should explore the theme of hope. If using social media, please use #BUShope. If writing a letter or email, it should be no longer than 250 words and printed on one side of paper, it can be posted to our usual address marked “hope” or emailed to BUShope2017@gmail.com We are creating a YouTube channel where we will upload your videos. We would encourage you to film these on a phone held horizontally, and it should last no longer than 1 minute. Please think carefully and prayerfully about the message of hope you wish to share. The videos will be streamed throughout Assembly, with letters on display in the exhibition area. Social media messages will be immediately live on our social media channels, and should be posted with appropriate care. Videos of hope: To upload video use wetransfer.com, When asked for email address use bushope2017@gmail.com God is at work in our nation, through our churches and the people of God. Amidst suffering, personal and national distress, facing a world in great pain and daily impacted by the sinful selfishness of humanity, the resurrection gives us reason for hope and the power to live differently. In these messages, let us remind one another of the hope we have and the stories of hope that emanate from that deep belief #BUShope Hope, Baptist Union of Scotland, 48 Speirs Wharf, Glasgow, G4 9TH. Videos – BUShope2017@gmail.com
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  • Autumn: a season for harvest
    As the first tree in the street begins to change colour, I wake to dew covered grass, with mushrooms which have appeared overnight, and worm casts defacing the manicured lawn. I know that autumn is on its way. Soon the apple tree will release its ripe fruit, the root crops will be ready for pulling and rural churches will gather in thanksgiving for the harvest. Similarly, the National Team have been involved in several services of thanksgiving in the past few weeks which marks a changing of seasons. In this edition of connect you will read of changing ministerial roles at East Mains Baptist church and a celebration of the fruitful years they have experienced as they have grown as a congregation and developed the village centre. We have celebrated with Glenrothes Baptist church this month the excitement of a new building, opening with increased capacity and greater flexibility. The Rev Archie Macmillan, a former pastor, dedicated both the building and the people afresh to the work of mission, commenting that it was a delight to see years of prayerful sowing of seed come to fruition in this generation. This has also been a time of inductions, with almost every weekend a new minister beginning a new season of ministry. Several of our churches are in the early stages of building development, seeking planning permission or obtaining architects feasibility studies, in a season of long term preparation of their infrastructure. It has also been a privilege to visit several of our new church plants this month, to hear the stories of hope and of challenge that face them. These early phases of planting seed and waiting to see if it will germinate are testing, for those who have personally invested so much with the hope that their service will produce much fruit. When Paul wrote 1 Cor 3:6, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow”, he was addressing jealousy issues in the church; but it also acts as a reminder to us that, apart from Christ, we can do nothing. This month has been a month of great rejoicing for us, as a Baptist family, as we have celebrated God’s goodness. It has not been without its challenges, but there have been a great many reasons for hope: reasons to encourage one another and embolden faith. As we approach Assembly, we are looking to gather these stories of what God has been doing amongst us. We are encouraging everyone who comes to Assembly to bring a ‘message of hope’, a story of where they have seen God at work, in their lives and in the life of the local church. In advance of Assembly, we are collecting 1 minute ‘videos of hope’, filmed on your phone, that can be uploaded to our site and which will be shown throughout Assembly. In this season of harvest, may you know God’s presence and power wonderfully at work in your life. And, “May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 Messages of Hope To upload a 1 minute message of hope Film the video Use  https://wetransfer.com/ to upload the video bushope2017@gmail.com is the email address to use on the we transfer site You will receive a message to say that we have received it. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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  • Fruitfulness
    John 15 teaches us that if we abide in him we will bear much fruit, and yet for over 50 years the church in Scotland has been in sharp decline. With a focus on membership, Sunday service attendance and baptismal statistics, the picture painted by statisticians is overwhelmingly gloomy. The recent church census conducted by Peter Brierley in 2016 has demonstrated that all traditional denominations in Scotland are in decline, with a small trace of church growth being seen in new forms of church and ethnic minority congregations. There is no doubt in my mind that these stories are overwhelmingly debilitating and faith-sapping for our churches. Trying harder or seeking to discover the latest trending programme will not resolve the underlying issues. The problem with these numbers is that they only tell a particular story. Ten years ago, very few of our churches were committed to the local community in the way I observe today. Church buildings are open to the public, ministers are spending more time with as yet unbelievers. I hear stories of small groups that have adopted a missional stance and are engaging with local schools, artists, musicians, prostitutes, prisoners, bikers, joggers, and so the list could go on. I hear of churches developing fresh gatherings for prayer that often last several days at a time. There are new ways of approaching the discipleship of young leaders and putting space aside to think about the long term future of the church rather than always focusing on the immediate. Thankfully, decline is beginning to disturb our equilibrium. We have been forced, in many cases, into a journey of self-emptying, a humbling journey. Arrested by the imminent death of the established church, we travel towards a new place of Christ-like reliance and creativity that embraces the journey celebrated in Baptism of dying to self and rising in an expression of new life in God’s Kingdom. Abiding in Christ should cause us to re-evaluate our practices and priorities. To consider what has been lost from our Baptist faith and practice in the last 50 years that we need to recapture. To measure the fruitfulness of the discipleship of each and every believer; our commitment to see everyone in our churches faithful in witness and global outreach; and the counter cultural lifestyle that is always present where Jesus is declared as Lord. Rev Alan Donaldson General Director Baptist Union of Scotland
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