In 2012, 20schemes was founded on a hope and a prayer.
A hope that God would use the vision of two local church pastors to create, facilitate and resource 20 church plants or revitalisations among the deprived communities of Scotland, many of which had been without a gospel ministry for a long, long time.
And a prayer, that God would provide for this vision. In people, partners and finances.
'Gospel churches for Scotland’s poorest', this has been our singular ambition. Click To TweetWe are quite simply amazed! “Gospel churches for Scotland’s poorest”, this has been our singular ambition, and nearly five years on we can honestly say that the Lord has done a remarkable work. Not least in the way by which God has provided again and again to sustain this work. Major donors have never bankrolled 20schemes, mega churches did not start it, rather small churches and individual donors, like you, regularly giving gifts have consistently funded the work. For that we are so thankful.
Small churches & individual donors, like you, regularly giving gifts have funded the work. Click To TweetIn less than 5 years, we have expanded to 6 church plant teams at various stages, with more than 30 plant team members. We are producing contextual resources that will serve churches working in deprived communities around the world, training indigenous leaders, running weekenders, workshops and so much more. If we answered every call for help, we would never sleep.
But all of this comes at a cost, and a literal one at that.
Last year we needed to raise £700,000 to staff our church plant teams, produce resources, train indigenous leaders, build new partnerships, and provide operational support to all of 20schemes church plant teams. Our missionaries do not have the burden of being self-employed but, the security of being employees. We take care of the administrative burden of each of our church plant teams. Our plants couldn’t be as effective without the support of our small staff team who are there to serve them.
In 2017, with new church plants coming along our total fundraising need is in excess of £1million. Quite simply, we need to raise that amount of money this year to press on in this critical work.
To some people, those numbers would be overwhelming. As the guy within 20schemes who, literally, watches the pounds, pennies, dollars and cents roll in and out of our accounts, I can confirm that it is a challenging position.
But, in the last few years, we have seen the Lord provide for our people time and again. For church planters who were on the verge of giving up as funding didn’t materialise. For our first ministry interns arriving from the US. For the indigenous workers with no circle of Christian friends to tap into. Each and every one of our plant teams has a story to tell of God clearly showing His will as He pays His bill.
There are many faithful friends and church partners of 20schemes who have dug deep to support workers willing to sacrifice everything to live and work among the lost in Scotland’s housing schemes. And we are very grateful for every single one of them.
But, this is the hard truth: There are many friends of 20schemes who have expressed that they would prefer to fund an individual worker or a specific church plant directly rather than support the broader ministry of 20schemes. We totally understand that. People like to support, and feel involved, when they know their donation is going towards those who are out and about on a daily basis, sharing the gospel in community.
In 2017, we expect that more than two-thirds of our donors will express a preference that their funds are used to support specific workers or church plants. The hard truth is that this would have a devastating impact on our work. Designated gifts leave us with a funding gap that will mean the work of building church planting teams, training indigenous leaders, developing new church planting opportunities, providing pastoral support to our planters and their families, will go unfunded.
Designated gifts leave us with a funding gap that will mean the work... will go unfunded. Click To TweetHow can we plant a new church without a team at work recruiting, training and assessing church planting teams? How will we raise up indigenous leaders if we are unable to fund and train them? How long will our missionaries persevere in this difficult work if we are unable to provide them and their families with pastoral support?
We are reliant upon faithful donors giving to 20schemes without expressing a preference, allowing the ministry to allocate the funds to the most pressing need at any time.
We want you to partner with us because you share our vision, you see the great need there is for the gospel in the schemes of Scotland, and you have been led by the Lord to join us in this exciting work. We do not want you or your church to donate to us because of guilt or fear but because you share a common cause with us – that the unreached might be reached by the planting of gospel preaching churches.
In Genesis 17:11, Abraham fell down laughing when he heard the LORD’s promise to him of a son. But God was faithful to His promises and Isaac was born. When we set our 2017 budget, it was nervous laughter that came from my lips. Where is the money coming from? Who is it coming from? But we trust in His provision because He is faithful.
I worked in corporate banking during the very worst of the global financial crisis. All around me, companies and banks were failing, ultimately because we could not trust in each other. Our earthly gains in the boom times, founded on the promises of man, counted for nothing during the downturn.
In 20schemes, we trust in the promises of a merciful, loving God, to provide for what we believe He has ordained. We believe that He is continuing to call us to plant healthy, gospel-centred churches in the schemes of Scotland. Will you join us in this work?
Help us plant and revitalise gospel-centred churches in Scotland’s poorest communities.