20schemes is partnering with the Free Church of Scotland to bring the light of the gospel to Scotland’s poorest communities.
Meet Chris Davidson, a 20schemes presbyterian church planter who is in the early stages of planting Merkinch Free Church.
My name is Chris Davidson…
I am labouring to plant a church in the Highlands of Scotland in a place locally called “The Ferry”. If you were looking for us on a map of Scotland, you would need to find Inverness (the capital of the Highlands) then if you drag your figure north, you will see a place called Merkinch and South Kessock this is “The Ferry”, our scheme. It is my opinion that it is a beautiful scheme in Scotland. On one side of us we have the River Ness, and on the other side, we have the Caledonian Canal.
I moved into our scheme in January 2018, after training at Edinburgh Theological Seminary for three years and working for a church plant in Edinburgh called Cornerstone. Over the past year, I have gathered a launch group and married my wife Katherine in May 2018.
Our main desire for the first year of ministry was to get plugged into the community, as in the Highlands of Scotland there is a sense of community but also mistrust of outsiders. We made it an aim to get known and to gain trust. After one year we feel we are just starting to penetrate the community.
Our community battles with the standard issues that face many schemes in Scotland, but the most crucial battlefield is around Jesus. Some of our community have had contact with a hyper-liberal or hyper-charismatic view of Jesus. Others see Jesus as a self-help guru. The majority have little time or no connection with Jesus or the word of God. Therefore, in the Merkinch Free Church, we want to be ‘a local church for local people with a local leadership.’ We want to be surgical in aiming for our community.
As a Presbyterian with the Free Church of Scotland, our vision is not a new idea, Scotland was once divided up into the parish system so that every area would have a local church. In our desire to plant the Merkinch Free Church, we are not innovative or revolutionary. We hold fast to the word of God and major on the ordinary means of grace.¹ Again, this is not innovative or revolutionary as the early church in Acts 2:42 did the same.
In the next year, we face many challenges. Currently our team is young, therefore we have no older Christians to set a Godly example. We have a massive need for an intern and women’s intern to enable us to extend our reach into the community. We are blessed with a building but as we grow, we are going to need to build an extension so we can have rooms for creche and other facilities. Above all we would ask for prayers.
“One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:6-10
¹ Westminster Shorter Catechism question 88 “What are the outward means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption?” The catechism’s answer is, ‘The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ communicates to us the benefits of redemption are his ordinances, especially the word, sacraments and prayer; all which are made effectual to the elect for salvation.’