This was an exciting weekend at Niddrie Community Church as we inducted Andrew Mathieson into the ministry and sent him as a church planter to Lochee, Dundee in partnership with Central Baptist Church. We are excited about what the Lord is going to do in the years ahead as we begin the long process of establishing an evangelical, Christian church in this area.
Tell us about yourself and your family.
I was born in the promised land of Glasgow in 1983. I’ve been familiar with the gospel from my youth; my grandparents and my mother are believers, they faithfully taught me the Scriptures and took me along to church. Despite the privilege of a Christian upbringing, I wanted nothing to do with Jesus or the things of the gospel. I ran as hard as I could in the other the direction and ended up a mess of a boy in addiction. This continued until I was 23, at which point the Lord, in his mercy, saved me and turned my life upside down. I went from the madness and chaos of addiction to starting Bible College in the space of a month. I have since studied at Cornhill before travelling down south to Moorlands Bible college where I met my lovely wife Lauren. We were married last October just before we came to Niddrie to spend a year training before going on to plant in Lochee. Lauren and I are currently expecting our first child on Nov 5th.
Tell us about how you discovered 20schemes.
I first heard of 20 schemes from John Hindley of Acts 29 Europe. I was looking for somewhere to do a placement while at college, and once I told John what I was interested in and a bit about my background, he gave me Mez’s number. I came up for a meeting with Mez around Christmas 2012 and arranged to come back at Easter to do my six-week placement in Niddrie. During the placement I fell in love with the vision for 20schemes, and by the end of that six-weeks both Lauren and I were sure this was what the Lord was calling us to.
Tell us why you want to come and work in the schemes of Scotland.
Having lived in the schemes before coming to Christ, I can honestly say I love them and the people. The culture, sense of community, and sense of humour are fantastic—and all these things mean that there is rarely a dull moment. But, at the same time as being places full of laughter and community, Scotland’s schemes are places of difficulty, struggle, and great spiritual darkness. The thing that makes me want to work in schemes most of all is the gospel. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of Scotland’s schemes have little or no gospel witness and that means that the vast majority of the people living in Scotland’s schemes are heading for hell. They don’t know that they’re in such danger, and they need a Saviour. Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
What are your biggest fears as your think about the future?
If we are honest, the prospect of failure is a bit terrifying. So many people have been gracious and kind by supporting us financially and prayerfully. Mez and the team have been awesome to us as they have trained us and cared for us over the past year. Our partner church, Central Baptist, have been massively encouraging and supportive. We don’t want to let them down, and at the same time we know that we have to fight the people pleasing tendencies and remember why we are actually doing this, and for whom we are doing it.
How are you getting on with your fundraising?
Lauren and I have been completely amazed by God’s provision for us over the past year. The generosity of those who are supporting us has been humbling and encouraging. As far as the brass tacks of how we are doing, we have raised about a little over two-thirds of our target support, which is enough to cover the day to day expenses (though things can get tight if unexpected bills or expenses pop up). So, with the baby on the way and the prospect of heading out to plant just weeks away we are still looking to raise another £5000-£7000 a year.
How are you preparing for ministry in this particular field?
Lauren and I moved into Niddrie in October to spend a year working with the team here, and to get used to scheme life and culture. I have spent most of my time shadowing Mez, asking him questions and generally trying to sponge up as much guidance as I could before heading out to plant. As I told Mez at the interview, I have a head full of Bible College information and knowledge. I could write you a killer essay on church planting, but I have no idea how to actually do it. That’s what this year in Niddrie has been about: learning out how to actually plant a church.
How can people best pray for you as you take this step of faith?
Pray for us as we become parents, because I am honestly clueless. As I write this, I’m a 31-year-old man who has never changed a nappy. Pray that our little girl would grow to know and love the Lord. Pray for Lauren as we move again further away from home and this time into a new culture without the back up of an established local church.
The closer we come to the move, the more aware we become of our own insufficiency for the task that lies ahead. If there is going to be a church successfully planted in Lochee, it is going to happen because Jesus is awesome and uses weak people to show his glory. So, please pray for us we settle into a new town and new community. Pray that the Lord would prepare the way for us to make relationships and connections with the people. Pray that we would raise the remainder of the support we need. Pray for us as we recruit and train a team. Pray that the Lord will open a door for the Word and that many will come to faith. Most of all pray that the Lord will be honoured and glorified in Lochee.
Please consider supporting the work of church planting in Lochee. To find out more contact me at: [email protected]