Pastors talk a lot today about mercy ministries. It's a great phrase I think. It captures part of the way God has related to us. Without his mercy, we have no hope. So it's appropriate for us as Christians, just as we show love, as we show holiness in our actions, so we should show mercy.
Now a question that people have is: how specifically can we do that? And it varies from setting to setting. But I think one of the best ways we can extend God’s mercy to others—probably the best way—is by helping to plant gospel-preaching churches. So when you see somebody come to Christ, particularly out of a very obviously broken background, what’s going to put them together? Well, the Holy Spirit through the Word definitely, but what's he going to use? Christian people, yeah, but Jesus gave a particular form to how these Christian people work together. It's called a church. With baptism, the Lord's Supper, the teaching of the Word, prayer, caring, fellowship, support. That’s what the local church is.
So I think if you want to be involved in mercy ministries we can spectrum them out kind of, and look at very particular ones, and those are all fine. But far and away the best one to be involved with is if we can actually plant churches. And plant churches in obviously needy areas. It’s great to plant churches in every kind of area, but when we're trying to help those most broken parts of our cities what better way to do that than by trying to help gospel preaching churches?
I'm very thankful the Lord, in 2012, seems to have raised up 20schemes. As we go into 2013 and Lord willing 2014, I’m hoping this ministry is going to be used by God to establish vital gospel-preaching churches in 20 places in Scotland. Maybe more, we’ll see. Well let’s start with praying for those 20 and trying to work and support those 20.
So I know Mez McConnell and I know Matthew Spandler-Davidson, two of the brothers the Lord has raised up to get this going. I trust them both as pastors, as Christians, as Bible readers, as evangelists, as husbands and fathers, as disciplers. So I'm just delighted to see them come together, get to know each other, get to understand how the Lord is using each of them in their settings and how they can help each other to do this work expanding gospel work in Scotland. I think it's exciting and I'm really thankful for it. It's been one of the most exciting things I've seen in 2012 get started.