Scotland was once a land steeped in the Gospel and has a great Christian heritage. John Knox led the reformation in Scotland which made way for Protestantism. The church grew in this time greatly. In the late 1800’s, a large portion of the Church of Scotland divided to form the Free Church of Scotland. This time acted as a sort of revival and was considered a continuation of the reformation. During this time, many came to Christ and churches were planted and leaders trained up.
This now serves as sharp contrast to the state of the church today. It is estimated that 1.5-2% of the population of Scotland are born-again believers and it is now considered an unreached nation. With some churches assimilating to the secular culture around them, rejecting Biblical authority, and others closing their doors with little attendance or no leaders to lead them, it is clear that Scotland is in great spiritual need. The people, which for many are a few generations removed from gospel exposure, are in need of God’s saving truth, healing and love, as many of them live in hopelessness. Drug use and drug related deaths are a major problem in Scotland as well, and symptomatic of the larger heart problem and spiritual need.
This would be a bleak outlook, if it weren’t for the mighty God we serve. There has been a mindset shift for many Scottish Christians who see the vital importance of being missional where they are and sharing the gospel boldly. There is a dependency on unity between churches moving forward and a desire to see churches planted and leaders trained. There is a confidence in God and Biblical authority that is growing. God is moving and at work in the hearts of Scotland and we desire to be apart of what He is doing there as “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”
Recommended reading: Transforming Scotland by Barna Group; A Scottish Christian Heritage by Iain H. Murray; Mission in Contemporary Scotland by Liam Jerrold Fraser.