It is not quite time to return home from Scotland; Aileen and I are first spending a couple of days together in the Highlands. We spent much of yesterday exploring the area, driving the narrow country lanes, visiting churches, graveyards, memorial markers and artifacts, each one somehow significant to the history of the church.
At one point we came across an old church building that is barely still standing. The roof has long since collapsed and even the walls are now tottering. Signs warn that the building is derelict; to enter is to risk your life. The graveyard is overgrown with tomb stones broken and toppled. Lying flat on the ground, just beside one of the church’s walls, is the tombstone of the church’s founding pastor, Thomas Hog, who lived from 1628 - 1692. The words on his tombstone are very nearly worn away through the passage of time, but in 1940, someone had a new stone made to ensure those words would not be lost.
“This stone shall bear witness against the parishioners of Kiltearn if they bring ane ungodly minister in here.” Over time the church did bring ungodly ministers into their association and into their pulpit. And today that stone, better preserved than anything else on the whole property, bears witness against them. It seems an apt illustration of what has happened to so many churches in Scotland, the UK, and across the world.
Yet hope remains. Congregations have come and gone, buildings have risen and fallen, but the Word of God endures forever. The gospel remains the power of God for salvation.
I have spoken a lot about 20schemes over the past few days. I have seen the ministry up-close now. Obviously I got only a glimpse of it and there was only so much I could see and do in 4 days. But from what I observed I was greatly encouraged and came to believe even more in what they are doing and in what they are seeking to accomplish. I want to leave you with a few calls to action—things you may wish to consider exploring.
- Take the 10-4-20 pledge. A donation of $10 per month helps fund their training programs for indigenous workers.
- Consider going on their next vision trip. It will take place March 7-12, 2014. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information.
- Become a church partner. They are seeking 100 church partners to give, to go and to send. Again, email email@example.com and visit 20schemes.com to get more information.
- Join 20Schemes in Calgary at their Workshop on Oct 26th or keep an eye out for other events at 20schemes.com/events. If you are in Toronto, you can get in touch with me about a 20schemes event we will be hosting in October.
- Best of all, go. They are looking for church planters, female outreach workers, and ministry apprentices who will go there, settle into a scheme, and tell people about Jesus.