God’s church across the world continues to grow and thrive. Development in China, India, Russia, South America and Africa is strong. However, in some areas of Western Europe, God’s church is struggling to be heard. The Church of Scotland is struggling. Note, I don’t say the church in Scotland, because many churches in Scotland are growing in number. But the Church of Scotland is struggling.
At the General Assembly last month, attempts were once again made to deal with the consequences of reduced attendance, finances, and ministers. New plans to combine Presbyteries and reduce the number of churches allowed to call their own ministers were fiercely debated. Many of God’s people are worrying as they look towards an unclear future.
Change can be painful, no doubt. Many churches, members and ministers are exhausted and fearful. However, just as our gardens bloom from loving attention, we should not fear Godly pruning. Remember what we read in John 15, before He went to the cross Jesus gave his final sermon. In it, he spoke about spiritual growth and pruning, about how his disciples (and we) should draw our strength from God. God prunes and prepares his vines for growth and renewal. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Let us pray for our Church, for the Church of Scotland, for those making truly difficult decisions. Let us pray that the church will undergo Godly pruning, so that it will once again bear much fruit.
[from Cat Rawlinson-Watkins]