Monday, 24 June 2013

Four Questions on Mission Scotland



Mission Scotland may be a new concept to you or perhaps you’ve heard of it before. Either way, I’ve thought of some questions which may come to your mind about Mission Scotland and hopefully, in trying to answer them, I’ll give a clear understanding of its purpose and place in The Salvation Army in Scotland.


Question 1: Mission Scotland – What is it?

Mission Scotland is a focus on The Salvation Army in Scotland; it’s a strategic approach to develop the Army’s effectiveness in delivering God’s mission by

   Reflecting on where we’ve come from
   Assessing where we are
   Plotting the way ahead with God’s guidance and direction.

Importantly it takes a view of Scotland as a whole and aims to deliver mission together, understanding that there are some things we can do better together, that we are stronger together.

Mission Scotland is delivering God’s mission as outlined in The SA’s purpose statement: ‘To save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity’ together.

The Scotland Office, THQ, Scottish divisions, corps, social centres, other churches and denominations – working together for God’s sake.


Question 2: Mission Scotland – Why do we need it?

Christopher Wright states ( in his book, ‘The Mission of God’s People’

‘It is not so much the case that God has a mission for His Church in the world as that God has a church for His Mission in the world.’

That being the case, there will always be work for God’s Church and the need for us to work more effectively to deliver the outcomes God desires. The Salvation Army in Scotland, in common with The Salvation Army in the rest of the UK and Ireland, has declined in the past years and withdrawn from some areas of Scotland. There are today people getting saved, Christians becoming disciples and impacting their communities where they live and people being served, cared for, encouraged and supported in The Salvation Army and we thank God for that. There are however many, many people who have not yet come home to God, people who need the Lord so we need to be increasingly effective, for their sake and for God’s sake.


Question 3: Mission Scotland – What difference is it going to make?

To focus in on something means bringing all our resources, expertise and concentration to bear on a particular subject or object – Mission Scotland has already borne fruit through the focus on how we might better help people with drug and alcohol addictions.

Three support workers employed in Greenock, Stirling and Falkirk to work in conjunction with Floating Support Services based at Greenock and led  by Brian Murphy with a fourth worker planned for North Scotland soon is an outcome of the focus Mission Scotland has given; a centre of excellence dealing with alcohol and drug addictions is the next planned step.

We all are aware of the havoc that addictions can wreak in the lives of those gripped by them and in the lives of those around them. A concentrated focus on this area of work and a willingness to work together to make a difference has resulted in people being rescued and released from the grip of their addiction and given new hope for a decent life – Mission Scotland can make a difference and it needs to!


Question 4: What can I do?

Mission Scotland has the same aims, works for the same outcomes as each division and corps in Scotland.

    Every corps should have some mission goals; speak to your officer about becoming involved in delivering these.
    Pray – on your own and with those in your corps
    Pray - specifically for these objectives to be achieved
    Pray - consistently for God to be at the centre, to be the driving force of Mission Scotland
    Pray - together with those who are part of our prayer network and with others in your neighbourhood and community


And don’t forget to give us your feedback and ideas on God’s mission being accomplished in Scotland:

All suggestions, questions and constructive observations are welcome – It’s God’s Mission!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

A Prayer for the Nation

Last week the Pray for Scotland movement held a prayer breakfast which was attended by upwards of three hundred Christians engaged in mission and ministry in Scotland. Amongst whom were several salvationists representing both the Army as well as other aligned church and para-church groups. The breakfast concluded with the following prayer being shared by all attending. The Salvation Army Mission  Scotland movement was birthed and covered with prayer from the outset - this feels very much as if we are part of what the Lord is doing in all parts of the church. The body of Christ on the move!!!

"A Prayer for The Nation

"Almighty God, we bring you praise for your Son the Word of God,
by whose power the world was made, by whose blood we are redeemed".
Austin Martin, 1983

We thank you for this beautiful land "of the mountain and the flood", of river and glen, of island and sea-shore; a fertile, productive land well able to sustain our life and well-being; and one in which no-one need go hungry.
We thank you for our fore-fathers who taught us who you are and how we might know you; to honour hard work and honest endeavour; and to have respect for a person's character rather than for their possession or status.
We thank you for the gifts of mind and hand which have helped us to understand your world and build our nation; and which have enabled us over the years to contribute to the welfare of humanity in fields such as engineering, science, medicine, the arts, education and business.
We thank you for those who have struggled and suffered that we might live in freedom and peace; and for all who have served you at home and abroad so that others may come to know you. We pray and give thanks for our countrymen and women who serve in such causes even today.

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy,
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

"Come, let us to the Lord our God with contrite hearts to return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave the desolate to mourn".
Scottish Paraphrase, John Morrison, 1781

Create in us contrite hearts because Scotland has fallen short of what it could be. We have been forgetful of you in the midst of the blessings we have received. We have not always sought after the highest and the best and have imagined too often that we are complete in ourselves and have no need of your grace and wisdom. Help us to remember, as the Bible teaches, that "The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him". (Daniel 9v9). We pray for the spiritual renewal of our land.
We pray for the Queen and for the royal family. We pray for those in government who make decisions on our behalf, that they may seek and know your wisdom; and demonstrate integrity, good stewardship and a true spirit of service in all that they do. We ask that our nation may follow paths that are marked at every step by truth, justice and compassion. We ask for your guidance as we consider the decision that faces our nation in the referendum planned for September 2014.
We pray for communities throughout our land, that our people may lead their lives free from fear. Bless all who serve by safeguarding our freedoms and safety. We pray for those who feel marginalised in our nation and for all who work to help them. Help us to be generous in spirit towards those who are genuinely in need.
We pray for those who have damaging additions and ask you to bless every effort made to help them find freedom. We pray for all who are in prison and ask that you would give them strength to find a better way. We pray for our justice system and ask that it may always be a servant and protector of what is good and true, and be wise in knowing how to temper judgement with mercy.

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

We pray for all those who suffer ill-health or disability and for those who live with anxiety, depression or the frailties of advancing years. Have mercy on those who are tempted to despair. We pray for all in the caring professions and ask that you will bless them as they seek to alleviate suffering and bring healing to those in need. We remember the many who care devotedly for family members in their own homes and ask that you will give them the strength necessary for the task.
We pray that our children and young people may be protected from the dangers that surround them in our society and that they may learn how to discern right from wrong and truth from error. We pray that family life may be strengthened and that parents, guardians and teachers may know your wisdom as they carry out their responsibilities.
We pray for all engaged in business and commerce and ask wisdom for them as they face the challenges of changing economic conditions. We pray for those who are unemployed and feel discouraged. We pray that our business and economic affairs may be conducted with energy and probity, with due consideration for employer, employee, consumer and our environment.
We pray for our churches and places of worship that they may represent you truly to our generation and shed the light of your gospel faithfully across the nation. Help your people to fulfil Jesus' words that they should be salt and light to our world (Matthew 5). We pray for those in leadership positions that they may know your wisdom in discerning your truth and in sharing it with others. We pray for the spiritual renewal of our land.

"Our hearts, if God we seek to know, shall know Him, and rejoice,
His coming like the morn shall be, like morning songs His voice".
Scottish Paraphrase, John Morrison, 1781

Lord, be exalted in our nation, that we may receive mercy,
and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Lord, hear our prayers for we bring them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Salvation Army Mission Scotland Videos

Last weekend approximately 60 Scottish Salvationists met in Bellshill to move The Salvation Army Mission Scotland project onto it's next phase - searching to embed the mission DNA within the Salvation Army in local settings in Scotland. 

Local communities are where mission happens. Not through church fellowships or Salvation Army Corps but through individuals working in those areas through their living, eating, breathing existence. Some of this is facilitated by organisation but it is the mission through the individual contact that impacts most deeply.

There were strategic focusses throughout the weekend a few are given in these short videos. Lt Col Alan Burns on "Mission" Major Fiona Sayer on "mission with the marginalised" Captain Wendy Parkhill on "why I believe mission is important" Sheonagh Brooke-Smith on "Children, Mission and Discipleship" Major Martin Sayer on "Youth on the Margins"

Please feel free to comment on the You Tube page, Facebook/salvation army mission Scotland, or twitter @scotlandsa

Addy our story to the story of what Christ is doing in the world - and especially through the Salvation Army in Scotland!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Journey Continues...

Mission Scotland - the journey continues
We're entering our third year of Mission Scotland with a deep sense of God's presence and purpose for The Salvation Army.  Our focus on mission and spiritual renewal are based on the prayer that God will renew us and revive our nation.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, you and I are being made in the likeness of our Lord, and we are called to make disciples of others ("Follow me and I will make you fishers of men". Matthew 4:19).
Being comes before doing!  Our vision, to make Jesus real to the people of Scotland, is dependent on our being like Jesus.  I wrote in my book, 'Founding Vision for a Future Army' that God's reputation in the world depends upon my holiness'.  This statement is a constant challenge to me to ensure that when I talk about 'Fit for Mission', I am not simply relating these words to the Salvation Army UKT, but that I am asking the question of myself as a follower of Christ- am I Fit for Mission?  This is the question that ought to be in the heart of every disciple.
As we enter a new phase of Mission Scotland we are focussing on discipleship along with the rest of the Territory.  Disciples - who are making disciples ... who are growing, who are missionary and who are serving others.  You will note the resonance with our mission statement in these words - save souls, grow saints and serve suffering humanity.  I would emphasise that this focus for Mission Scotland is about challenging all of our disciples to be growing, missionary and serving.  Allow me to elaborate on this.
We commit to our own growth as disciples of Jesus Christ and to help and support others on their journeys of discipleship.
· Holy living
· Living together (Loving each other, church as family)
· Learning together (Small groups, cell groups, Bible study)
· Growing together (Mentoring, accountability)
· Praying together (General's weekly prayer meetings, prayer training)
· Holy leaders
· Identifying (Looking for potential in everyone)
· Releasing (Finding ways to create space for leaders to flourish)
· Training (Strategic Leadership Development)
· Holy priorities
· People before programme
· Development of whole life discipleship
We commit to the ongoing mission of Jesus in the world around us.
· Missional stories
· Knowing & sharing His story
· Knowing & sharing our story
· Missional corps
· Growing Disciple Making corps
· Pioneering new missional expressions
· Missional activity
Ensuring that our social, community and other activities remain true to the Gospel by the provision of high quality services, a clear determination to do all we can within available resources to improve the social and spiritual condition of the people we serve, and by proclaiming Christ as Saviour and Lord.
We commit to the challenge to serve suffering humanity.
· The Seeds of Exclusion
· Support and sustain children and families
· Support people in transition
· Support vulnerable people
· Speak out for marginalised people
· Commit to further research
Identifying our core services and committing our resources to those areas.  
Let me conclude by saying that we are developing these priorities across our Mission Scotland strategic platform. It will inform our work in corps and centres, amongst children and youth (and indeed all generations of people) in our corps community programmes, and as we pray for God to open up fresh expressions of mission in communities across Scotland.  What we are saying is that in all of our expressions of mission, new and old, we will make disciples who are growing, missionary and serving, thus allowing the people of Scotland to see the living presence of our Lord Jesus in who we are and in what we do.