Scotland is, according to recent church attendance statistics, an unreached country for the gospel. We see the effects of this in our city, yet rather than just self-preserve, we want to go out with the good news of Jesus and plant churches.
Planting churches is no new thing - every church anyone has ever been in was, at one time, a new church. So rather than seeing church planting as a fad, the leadership at St Columba’s see starting new churches as the most effective way to take the gospel out into a culture which, by and large, has rejected the mainstream institutional church in Scotland.
Almost every area of the city would benefit from having new, outreaching churches acting as salt and light. At present we have started a church in Morningside, and are working towards starting one just south of the city in Midlothian. These have been small groups of people from St Columba’s who have felt called to begin a new work in the part of the city where they live. Mostly, the way we do this is by being a community together, and by trying to reach out relationally to those we live and work amongst during the week.
We sense the challenge of doing this, and feel ourselves to be very small - but we recognise at the same time how great God is, that all the necessary resources are his and that He has the power to build His church.
In early 2014, we planted a new church in the Morningside / Bruntsfield area of the city. We want this church to be for those who are not religious and would never normally consider being part of a church. We put a high value on relationships and community and are working hard to be a group of friends who are accepting, open and honest. The congregation are a multi-generational group made of up of a variety of people and families. Some of us have been Christians a long time and others are new to Christianity. We are at various stages of belief and understanding, so it is a good place to come along to explore and ask questions even if you are not a Christian personally. A lot of the time we are just about being friends and doing the kind of stuff that friends do. Every Wednesday evening we all come together to share a meal and then spend time studying the Bible, applying it to every-day life and praying. Some of us meet for prayer in the mornings and we like to hang out together on a Sunday afternoon.
Esk Valley Church
Having planted Cornerstone in Morningside, St Columba’s are now starting Esk Valley church South of Edinburgh in Midlothian. This is an expanding region with newly developed transport links joining up Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders. It’s also an area with a huge need for the gospel, and for new churches to be started.
At present there is a core group meeting in the Scottish Mining Museum in Newtongrange. We meet on most Sunday mornings at 10.30am, and throughout the week in people’s homes, to look at the bible, pray and share life together. Our desire as followers of Jesus is that we worship God, grow in our faith, serve others out of love, and witness to what Jesus has done in our lives.
To find out more, please visit the Esk Valley Church website.