From 14th – 16th June, Stranraer RP Church in southwest Scotland held their first 3-night mission. The Mission was held in our newly refurbished church hall – something that was only possible due to the generosity of the wider RP Church in both Ireland and North America.
The Mission comprised three evangelistic services on the theme ‘Your Life has a Purpose’. With the help of a RP Mission Team, invitations were delivered to every home in Stranraer and some of the surrounding villages. While worthwhile, even to remind people that Scotland’s oldest RP church is still here and still preaching the gospel, what we’ve found in Scotland is that most people who come along to such events do so because of a personal invitation.
One such personal invitation was given by a Mission Team member to a group of Mormons we came across in an Indian restaurant a few nights before the Mission started. They said they’d come, and on the middle night three of them did. We were glad that they came, and also for a chance to talk to them afterwards and tell one of their local converts that despite their claims, we don’t worship the same God. We were also glad to see others in the church for the first time over the three nights, including local Christians but also family members of those already in the congregation who don’t normally attend church. Over the three nights we heard how our lives have a purpose because God made us, because Jesus came to die, and because we will live forever.
We are glad to have people in the congregation who are good at inviting friends along to church on any given Sunday, and the Mission services certainly aren’t intended to become the sole focus of our evangelism. However we found this first attempt encouraging as it brought the congregation together, encouraged local Christians and also saw others coming in. Just a few days later, one of the team members encountered an unbeliever in another town who was asking questions about the meaning of life, so he was able to tell him why our lives have a purpose.
We pray that God would be pleased to continue to use these messages in the lives of all who heard them, who will listen to them online, or will have a friend sit down and explain to them why their life has a purpose. And that those who didn’t accept an invitation to come this time, would do so in the future – because everyone in our town, and in yours, will live forever. The only question is; where?
Rev Stephen Steele