VISION AND STRATEGY
The Scottish Network Churches is a Charitable Company Limited by guarantee. Our Charity Number is SC041393, and our Company Number is SC375655. PLease click on these links to review our accounting history with OSCR and Companies House.
As a Network, we see the need for the good news of God’s Kingdom growing and bearing fruit in Scotland, for heaven and earth to be brought together, renewing the world as the Kingdom of God expands.
We see the need for justice, hope, transformation and restoration; for missionary disciples and churches to be mobilised and multiplied throughout Scotland (and beyond); for people to become committed followers of Christ; for new churches to be planted.
We see Scottish Network Churches as a fellowship of leaders and a network of churches playing our part, in the unity of the Spirit, in this Kingdom movement.
Scottish Network: Direction
We sense God is calling the Network to develop into an apostolic movement in Scotland: a fellowship of leaders and a network of churches. We won’t be the only such movement (and will seek to work with others where we can), nor do we understand apostolic with a capital “A”, but rather an apostolic role or function modelled on Jesus and his humble, serving, empowering, relational apostolic (and other 5-fold) ministry (Ephesians 4:11ff). We believe our values will characterise the way in which we intend to develop this movement, and are much needed to avoid some of the pitfalls of leadership.
We want to partner with churches, leaders and ministries to further God’s mission to Scotland. As we look around the nation, we see the desperate need for faith communities to embody the good news of Jesus in every village, town and neighbourhood around the nation. Many churches already exist: how we can help them to increasingly be God’s light to the dark and broken world around? Many neighbourhoods don’t have a vibrant faith community: how we can raise and encourage folks to pioneer new expressions of church? And how can we equip individuals in these communities of faith in whole life discipleship, to effect change in culture and society?
We see ‘apostolic’ as applying to both church and culture so we want to resource a missional church planting movement in Scotland and at the same time equip individuals for whole life discipleship, biblical knowledge and the expression of the gifts of the Holy Spirit both in the church and in the marketplace.
๏ Being together, before we do together.
๏ Genuine and honest relating together, where we share the joys and sorrows of leadership and ministry and other aspects of our lives.
๏ Encouraging one another to become who we are ‘meant to be’, and from that do what we are meant to do.
‣ Gather intentionally for fellowship.
‣ Relate together based on our common humanity, not on hierarchy or position.
‣ Spend time together seeking God’s presence, who is the One who brings transformation to the broken and dark parts of our whole beings.
‣ Seek to relate to one another with grace, kindness and humility.
๏ Giving to and resourcing others, regardless of whether they are part of our grouping or not.
๏ Serving the Kingdom, not building an empire.
๏ Welcoming the broken, hurting and wounded into our fellowship, not expecting individuals to behave the right way or believe the right things before they belong.
‣ Work with others, regardless of which network, denomination or grouping they belong to, if sensing a linking of hearts and shared values.
‣ Seek to empower, serve and resource people.
‣ Gather together around our fellowship with Christ, rather than on the basis of believing the same things, or having our lives ‘sorted’.
‣ Welcome diverse viewpoints and perspectives on aspects of theology and practice, seeking to learn from each other.
‣ Promote men and women in teams and all leadership roles.
๏ Serving local churches to enable them to become all that God is calling them to be.
๏ Ministry and leadership that serves and empowers.
๏ Humble and transformed leaders that catalyse transformation in others.
๏ Incarnational and contextualised mission that seeks to bring the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven in practical and spiritual ways relevant to our host culture.
‣ Recognise that legal and spiritual responsibility lies with the leadership of local churches.
‣ Seek to find what God is doing with individuals, communities and churches. We seek to resource, rather than trying to fit mission, people or churches into a brand or mould.
‣ Recognise that leadership comes in many forms, but emphasise empowering and value-led leadership.
‣ Seek forms of mission which serve people and the communities they are part of, by being good news as well as speaking good news.
How we gather
We intentionally gather together for fellowship and friendship and make no apology for time spent relating together. This kind of community is Christ-centred and so the fellowship we have with one another is done in the presence of the Lord, as we gather together around Him and His ways.
We recognise the need to continually learn from Jesus and one another, and our gatherings are designed to be opportunities for learning together.
We are invited to participate in God’s mission. We seek to empower and nurture mission and missional cultures, by encouraging missional projects, events, initiatives and new churches as well as seeking to transform our society by training “whole life disciples” who will live for Jesus in their families, communities and workplaces, affecting the culture of Scotland and beyond.
We believe there is value in meeting in geographically local contexts, to resource churches and church leaders from the region, whilst still recognising that Scotland is small enough for there to be gatherings from across the nation too.
We have regional hubs for fellowship, learning and mission which meet monthly. In the future, we’d like to see hubs in other regions of Scotland.
In addition, our regional hubs (and others) join together and meet as a national hub three times each year.
For the time being we will continue to meet on Zoom every first Wednesday of the month.
What does it mean to be part of the Network?
Belonging to the Network doesn’t mean signing a doctrinal statement (although we do hold to historic orthodox creeds), paying a membership fee, or cutting links with other networks or denominations, and could strengthen existing links.
Rather it is:
๏ A commitment to journey together, in relationship and friendship. This means gathering together, where we are able to.
๏ A commitment to a set of values, as outlined in this document.
๏ A commitment to participate, to bring our gifts and contribution to make the Network more than it would be without our participation.
๏ A commitment to receive, at either a leadership or a church level, whilst recognising that the legal and spiritual responsibility lies with the leadership of a local church.
๏ A commitment to best practice, including legal and fiscal practice, compliance with child-protection guidelines, and health & safety.
๏ A commitment to being faithful to scripture, prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
There are two ways you can be part of the Scottish Network: a leader can be part of the fellowship of leaders; or a local church can be part of the network of churches.
Being part of the fellowship of leaders means agreeing to the commitments above. 8
Being a Network Church
๏ A commitment to promote a culture of mission and pioneering.
๏ Churches and leaders working together.
๏ Sharing together with other churches in appropriate ways.
๏ Training, mentoring, releasing new leaders.
๏ Receiving or giving help with crises and decision making.
๏ A wider relational accountability, allowing others to speak into our church and leaders’ lives.
๏ A commitment to contribute financially (see next section)
These will be worked out relationally through conversation at a local church level.
Commitment is a two-way process. The Scottish Network would seek to support and care for Network Churches and its leaders, providing help & input to enable the church to flourish. This might involve Network leaders visiting the church or meeting with the Leadership Team; providing an outside voice or resourcing the church with Ephesians 4 ministries.
Becoming a Network Church involves a discernment process with the leaders of the church, and the Scottish Network Leaders. This process may take several months but varies with different situations. It is a relational approach with a
flexible process, to ensure that both the church and Scottish Network are clear of expectations and have values and heart. Being a Network Church can sit alongside other denominational affiliations.
Churches becoming a Network Church will be acknowledged and prayed for at the next Annual Gathering.
A Commitment to Financial Contribution
Sometimes we can hold back from talking about money. However, it will take time, money and commitment to bring into being all we see for Scotland and the Scottish Network.
Money given to the Network goes to resourcing the Network and supporting mission (new churches, church planting or mission initiatives).
We are very reliant on the generous and unpaid time various people have given the Network, and a few churches willing to release their paid leaders to serve in the Network.
We suggest a Network Church works towards a guideline of giving 2% of its regular giving from its members. We do recognise that churches sometimes have other denominational or stream affiliations and have different financial income & expenditure and so every situation is unique.
We also want to encourage individuals & leaders of churches to give to the Network to recognise the support and nourishment they receive and partner with us in our vision and aims.
We never want affordability to hinder partnership, while at the same time we must be real about costs and expenses. Please contact the leadership team to further about this.
There are three levels of training:
Accredited theological training and reflection for practitioners, for example courses at Nazarene Theological College (Glasgow Learning Centre).
Discipleship based courses, aimed at equipping the next generation of church leaders, and equipping individuals for whole-life discipleship. We need to be equipping church leaders and leaders in society who live for Jesus and reflect the culture of heaven on earth.
There are two courses we run in the Network: Ignite (a one year discipleship course) and Dynamic Adventures (a course run over 6-8 evenings training missionary disciples).
In September 2015, we started an Ignite Course for the East-side of Scotland, based in Edinburgh, and a further course started in Linlithgow in 2016. A Glasgow course launched in September 2017, and we would like to see more Ignite courses run in other areas of Scotland in the future.
Training modules / events. There are a great number of folk in the Network who could teach and train modules on various topics to help resource local churches. Please contact the leaders if you have specific requests.
Meetings / Gatherings
In additional to monthly ‘hub’ meetings, a number of national events will continue.
Scottish Network Annual Gathering: an annual two day event in March each year. This is a leadership conference, aimed at Leadership Teams, wider leaders, and emerging leaders. It is a great event to come to with a group from your church, to take time away to meet God, pray, and listen to what God is doing in Scotland.
National Hub Meetings: three times a year, generally in January May and September, a gathering of the West & East hubs, plus others who can’t make the monthly hub meetings. We worship, pray for each other, fellowship and discussion. We invite someone (generally from beyond the Network) to stimulate us around issues of leadership, mission, and local church issues. It is aimed at church leaders (but open to others say on Leadership Teams).
Other Gatherings: from time to we run other events or gatherings, for example we hosted a theology conversation with Greg Boyd, and have had Theological Symposiums on various issues.
Resourcing Mission and Discipleship
As a Network we are seeking a missional movement in Scotland, seeing people come to faith and society transformed. We are one of the key networks is bringing the Turning to Scotland, and seeking people coming to faith.
We are exploring how we can support and resource church planting, both where existing churches ‘plant out’ but also church planting by the Network.
Using “Dynamic Adventures” a training resource from Communitas, we are able to resources Network Churches in training missionary disciples.
We have a partnership with the Pioneer Network, who are supporting and helping the Scottish Network to become an apostolic movement of churches and leaders in Scotland. Specifically, we benefit from friendship with Allan Cox, who meets with the core team 2 or 3 times a year, and occasional visits from Billy Kennedy, as well as access to the wider Pioneer Network for learning, encouragement and inspiration.
Communitas (formerly Christian Associates) are our second key partner organisation, with Wes White part of the core team, and Communitas members part of the Network. Communitas have experience of planting churches, and their wisdom in this area will be invaluable as we move forward.
Both Pioneer and Communitas recognise the leadership of the Scottish Network, and are solely seeking to support us in becoming all God has called us to be.
Write to us:
Scottish Network of Churches c/o St John's
183 High Street
Call Us: 01506 517031
The Scottish Network affirms the teaching of the Apostles Creed as containing essential elements of orthodoxy. On secondary matters, we recognise and welcome diversity.