Gospel partnership is at the heart of what the Trust does.
The Trust’s vision is: gospel workers for the Church in Scotland
There is a harvest to be gathered in Scotland. Labourers are few. By God’s grace, the Trust exists to play a part in answer to the Lord Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 9:38 – to see a generation of gospel workers called, trained and sent out into Scotland.
In gospel partnership with others
Scotland is now an unreached nation. In these challenging times, a national gospel vision and strategy is emerging. The re-evangelization of Scotland is the aim.
The local church is the front line in God’s mission.
Church planting is key. It takes the gospel into new places.
Underpinning all of this is the need for gospel workers, not only those who will lead churches, but people to work in other ministry roles in churches. This is where the Bonar Trust fits into the picture.
Three expressions of gospel partnership
1. Partnership with church planting networks
Recognizing that planting new churches is our best hope for the evangelisation of the nation. the Trust is committed to supporting church planters in their training.
This is powerfully illustrated in the partnership between the Bonar Trust and Generation Church planting. Generation exists to build thriving gospel-centred local churches and communities in Scotland’s cities, suburbs, towns and villages. The aim is to plant churches that will plant churches. Generation is part of the Free Church of Scotland, but reflecting the new spirit of gospel partnership, supports a number of churches outside the Free Church. Through networks like Generation, church planting is gaining increasing in Scotland.
For a story of five churches in the Generation network in partnership with the Bonar Trust see here.
2. Partnership with training churches
The Trust is now focusing increasingly on the development of training churches. The establishment of a network of strong training churches across the country is critical to creating the pipeline of gospel workers.
It is encouraging to see the number of training churches growing. There are a number of key factors: an increasing awareness of the importance of training gospel workers; churches taking the responsibility for training; people trained with the support of the Trust, now in leadership, are developing strong training programmes.
With the support of the Trust, new training churches are emerging each year. The Trust now has links with over 40 training churches.
Importantly, there is a healthy spread of training churches geographically, in cities, towns and rural areas. The spread is also reflected in the different grouping and constituencies the Trust is working with, e.g. the Free Church of Scotland, FIEC, Didasko, 20 Schemes. One of the most encouraging developments is seeing some of the larger, well-resourced training churches, training people to be deployed in different constituencies. For example, Chalmers Church in Edinburgh, an independent church, is training people for the Free Church of Scotland as well as independent churches.
3. Partnership with training providers
The Trust has established strong relationships with a range of external training providers committed to partnership training with local churches.
Currently, the main training provider the Trust partners with at Apprenticeship level is Cornhill. At the advanced Church Leader Training stage, the vast majority of people are studying/ training at Edinburgh Theological Seminary, Cornhill Pastors’ Training Course or Crosslands Training. At the Specialist end, our main partner is Generation.
A national vision based on gospel partnership
Historically, gospel vision and strategy in Scotland has been blighted by partisanship or tribalism. Wonderfully, that is increasingly a thing of the past. Gospel partnership is replacing partisanship, the next generation of leaders is inspiring in their humility and generosity to work together. This is vital to developing a national gospel vision and strategy. A national vision cannot be the preserve of one group or constituency. People need to work together.
The Bonar Trust is well placed to foster gospel partnership. There are three reasons for this:
- The trustees, while united in their gospel convictions, represent a broad constituency of networks in Scotland. Moreover, the trustees are passionately committed to gospel partnership with a number in positions of leadership and influence.
- The Trust funds people in their training and partners with training churches, training providers and organizations, across a range of networks in Scotland.
- The Trust encourages networking among the people it supports, recognizing that the emerging generation of leaders is best placed, and most committed, to fostering gospel partnership.