Bringing Light and Life to Scotland's Communities—
This Christmas saw a remarkable distribution of Bible-based resources by over 130 churches the length and breadth of Scotland, with 10,000 copies of our free resource A New King: Hope in Dark Times, alongside nearly 3,000 of our magazine style John’s gospel Light & Life, being given away by churches.
This was the first ‘normal’ Christmas for several years, and we were eager to discover how churches had used these resources.
We often hear how church congregations increase at Christmas and it remains one of the key opportunities for outreach. Rev David Carruthers is the minister of Ardrishaig and South Knapdale Parish. One of his congregations increases ten-fold at Christmas, as people return home to celebrate with family. This year, everyone who attended received a copy of Light and Life.
For many churches, the resources have had a positive impact both within the church and the wider community as they sought to reach out this Christmas. Bellshill West Parish Church gave A New King to all who came to a Christmas service. In addition, 40 house-bound individuals each received a gift-wrapped copy of both Light & Life and A New King: ‘Our pastoral care team of elders were overwhelmed with messages of thanks for sharing the gospel with them in this way.’
The village of Fauldhouse also saw a similar impact. St Andrews Parish Church distributed A New King during their hugely popular Christmas Tree Festival and their Christmas services, while church member Abigail Strange distributed the resource to households in the streets around the church.
Fauldhouse Salvation Army made great use of A New King during their Christmas events, distributing it while the band played in the local shopping centre and giving copies away during their Carol services.
The switching on of Christmas lights gives many people in Scotland an opportunity to gather as a community. New Laigh Kirk, Kilmarnock have long used their annual light switch on as an outreach event. This year they ran a Crystal Maze themed escape room and gave out Light & Life and A New King to those who attended.
For one group of Christians in the East Neuk of Fife, Light & Life is proving a great way of engaging with the Bible afresh. They will be studying John’s Gospel together in 2023 as they meet each Sunday. With the closure of the local church, Christians in the local community are gathering to worship in the church hall. One of the members, Maureen Clark, commented, ‘It’s a new beginning. And what better way to begin than with John’s Gospel.’ The new initiative is gaining interest, as people from the local community who would not usually attend church have come along. In this new context, the format and layout of Light & Life has made a great difference. ‘It’s an attractive way to have God’s Word in your hands...The combination of images, layout with no chapter numbers or verses, the headings – it is making the gospel come alive for people.’
When they met previously in the church, with Bibles on pews, no-one brought a Bible with them, and the Bibles remained unopened during the service. Now, people are opening John’s Gospel and following along as the gospel is being preached. People are taking their magazine gospels home to read in between Sundays. In addition, Maureen commented that she is using the gospels with a group of 15 ladies in the community who struggle to get to church, focusing on encounters that Jesus had.
We praise God for churches in Scotland who have taken His Word to their communities this Christmas and we pray that this great distribution of Bible resources will have a lasting impact for the gospel.