As a denomination we want to see United Free Church congregations across Scotland revitalised, renewed and growing and to see new congregations established, so that the denomination can play its part in the mission of God’s people in Scotland.
This is the vision of Reshaping for Mission, the United Free church’s mission initiative which was adopted at the 2015 General Assembly, in response to what we see happening both across the denomination and more widely across Scotland, and indeed across much of the western world, namely the growth of secularism and the decline of many congregations and churches. This could lead Christians to shrug their shoulders in despair or to put up the barriers and hope somehow to weather the storm. However, there is another response, which is to see God using this situation to drive us to a renewed commitment to mission and confident proclamation of the Gospel. The theologian Emil Brunner is credited with saying “As a fire exists by burning, so the church exists by mission.” In our current spiritual climate, churches, especially established ones with a long history need to look outward and adjust our own mind-set from one that sees church ministry as being about “maintaining the congregation” to one which sees the church’s role as “engaging in mission in the community”.
In response to this, Reshaping for Mission envisages a three-stranded approach.