20schemes is partnering with Maxwell United Free Church, in the Ayrshire town of Kilmaurs to plant a new church in the scheme of Onthank in neighbouring Kilmarnock. This work is being headed up by Paul Harkess, who has been living in Onthank since 2019, and was joined by his wife, Miriam, after they were married in 2021.

Kilmarnock has a population of around 56,000, making it the 15th largest town in Scotland and is the administrative centre of East Ayrshire Council. Known as “Killie” by the locals, it is predominately a working-class town that was historically industrial in nature. It is the founding place of Johnnie Walker Whisky, and was also the home of several other manufacturers, in its industrial heyday. Kilmarnock has struggled since those industries relocated, especially after the closure of the Johnnie Walker factory in 2012.  

Hope for Onthank

There is a tremendous need for evangelism, discipleship and biblical leadership development among the unreached poorer communities of Kilmarnock. Onthank, where Maxwell Church is planting a new church, is one of these needy communities. Onthank is classed within the 0-5% most deprived places in Scotland. It is home to about 5,000 people, with the only place of worship in the area being a Roman Catholic Church. Pray for Paul & Miriam and their soon-to-be-born son Jackie, as they bear witness to the hope of Jesus Christ as they live there. They are in the beginning stages of planting, gathering local Christians to join them in praying for a new gospel church to be planted for the people who live in Onthank.  

Pray that people would join them in praying, and that God would move the hearts of his people to serve with them in seeing this vision of a new church in Onthank become a reality. 

Current needs for prayer:

  1. Pray for church planter Paul, his wife Miriam, and newborn son Jackie.
  2. Pray for people to join them in Onthank as they seek to plant a gospel-preaching church in this community.
  3. Pray for souls to be saved through this ministry.

Will you support the team serving God in Onthank?


Sign up to receive monthly updates by email. We will share updates and requests for prayer from Onthank and other areas of 20schemes ministry.


We rely completely on the financial support of our generous supporters. Could you make a one-off gift or sign up to regular giving for Onthank?


Onthank desperately needs mature Christians to come and make Jesus known. Whether short or long-term, is God calling you to serve Him in the schemes of Scotland?