Rooted in the Bible

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Colin from TC Edinburgh sharing on the Lost Son in Luke 15

Theological outlook

The church is committed to be an evangelical, biblically based, Spirit filled and Christ centered church, holding to biblically shaped Christians ethics.

The church stands in the tradition of mainstream Christian belief, affirming the traditional creeds accepted by the wider christian church. The church also stands in the Baptist tradition of faith that emerged out of the reformation, affirming being a believers church, believers baptism, the priesthood of all believers, and separation of church and state.

Members are encouraged to pursue spiritual growth and Christian character through studying and applying the Bible together and by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to the church.

The church is part of the Baptist Union of Scotland and as such holds to the  BUS declaration of principle,

which can be found on the BUS website.

For further info on the teaching position of the church, please see below regarding our current pastor, Rev David Purves.

Our Pastor- David

About Our Pastor- Rev. David Purves

Spiritual journey with Christ so far…

Early Christian formation and Spirit filling.

Born in 1983 I grew up in a Christian home aware of God’s presence working in my church and community. Around the age of 10 I had a formative experience of God’s love and holiness. I had been talking with my dad about Jesus and all he had done for us. Afterwards, when we prayed I was filled with the Holy Spirit and an overwhelming sense of God’s love for all and a desire to share this with others. Despite being a somewhat shy 10 year old, I grabbed a whole lot of bits of paper, wrote ‘God loves you’ on them, then ran out the door to share this news with our neighbours. Although this was a somewhat childlike and simple response, I see it as an early foretaste of God’s calling on my life- empowered by the Spirit to share the incomparable love of God, that he would give his one and only son that we might not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) I have thereafter been on a journey of almost 30 years of growth in commitment and understanding, albeit with accompanying highs and lows, learning how to walk with Christ and share the good news in word and action.

Water Baptism, deeper commitment, and serving in love

At the age of 19 after an extended period of intellectual wrestling and seeking a renewed sense of God’s presence I was drawn by God towards believers’ baptism as an expression of commitment and surrender to Christ. Thereafter, throughout University life in St Andrews I committed to serve in Christian union and church life, growing in understanding and service. After University I worked for a short time with people with disabilities, then spent a few years working for Bethany Christian trust as a support worker with homeless people. During this time I developed a strong sense of God’s desire to share his love with those experiencing brokenness and pain, and every Christians calling to love those in suffering. I was also keen to see churches more deeply involved in sharing God’s love in practical ways as a community, alongside evangelism.

Theological study, Bristo Baptist and TC Edinburgh

I left Bethany to serve as an intern in my local church for a year then went to study theology at Regent’s Park, the Baptist College in Oxford. There I did a grad diploma in Theology, then an Mth in Applied theology and went part time in the third year so that I could return to Bristo Baptist in Edinburgh as a mission development pastor (local urban mission). There we had a community house at which we hosted people on respite from teen challenge rehab programmes, who would visit for time out. After 6 months we also welcomed flatmates who had finished the TC rehab and were moving back into ‘normal’ life. Together we restarted TC Edinburgh, the local teen challenge outreach in Edinburgh, working to connect people suffering addiction issues with the gospel and practical help.

Collydean Baptist

In 2015 I was called from Bristo to be pastor of Collydean Baptist in Glenrothes. At the time this was a small church of 18 members in a housing estate, who were looking for a part-time pastor. Being a part time musician in a ceilidh band and with no family to support, this was a good fit at this stage of life. At the church we focussed on developing childrens’ work and outreach, eventually having two kids’ clubs and a youth group, summer holiday clubs and school holiday meals. We also had a coffee morning and crafts group and many fellowship events. The church took on a youth intern, who then also studied at the Baptist college, and developed to become a youth pastor, before being called elsewhere. The church also developed numerous small groups and had a strong sense of fellowship and community, growing to around 50 people on a Sunday. During this time I learned the necessity of finding the right balance between Christian formation through spiritual disciplines, and practical service. Also the value of team ministry to support a church, as well as the importance of investing in the growth of young people, growing Christians and potential leaders. On the critical side I learned the vulnerability of small churches, with a lot of work placed on the shoulders of a smaller number of people, spreading them thin and making it difficult to develop each area of church life in a quality way and with proper support.  The danger for this to lead to stagnancy, exhaustion even among the most well meaning people, or stunted growth, helped further shape my vision/view of church development and planting as outlined below.

Values and theological commitments

Evangelical witness and living by Word and Spirit: As a pastor I strongly believe in the power of the good news of Jesus Christ to transform peoples’ lives, rescuing them from the kingdom of darkness with which they find themselves entwined in this world, and into the rescuing Kingdom of God brought by Jesus. God has gifted us with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus with the promise that all who repent (turn from destructive behaviour) and place their faith in and follow Jesus as Saviour and Lord, might not experience eternal separation from God, but be united with him in a relationship that begins now and goes on into eternity.(John 3) The offer of salvation, springing from God’s love for us even while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8), is for the whole world (1 Tim 2:3f) and we are called to spread the good news.(Matthew 28) This life in the kingdom begins now with a kind of spiritual new birth through the Holy spirit,(John 3) who is the first-fruits (Rom 8:23) of a promised new heavens and new earth. God wants to be intimately involved in all aspects of our lives as our loving Father (Luke 15), leading us in the way of Jesus through the scriptures and by the Holy Spirit. (John 16) God calls us to intentionally turn from sin and darkness and to live by his Spirit, displaying the fruit of the Spirit, namely the character of Christ. (Gal 5) Discipleship is a commitment to love and obey him alongside other christians,(Matthew 7) learning diligently from the scriptures and sacrificially putting them into practice by living life as witnesses to his saving love. God has given the Spirit as a gift to the church, and the Spirit shapes and guides us as well as enables us to further encourage one another through various spiritual giftings/manifestations (1Cor 12-14). A spirit led life always leads to a life of ministry to the poor- be it spiritually, relationally or materially (Luke 4) and invariably all three.

Seeker friendly and contextually relevant ways of meeting as church:

 The truths of the gospel are timeless, however the times and places we are sharing them in are constantly changing. Each church has to evaluate the community they find themselves in with its accompanying needs and then dream how best the church will convey the good news in a relevant way. This will mean being creative in how we communicate, and a willingness to change and adapt depending on the environment we find ourselves in.

Empowering and developing every-member ministry:

I believe that the Christian life is a calling to grow in relationship with God and fellow believers, that leads to every believer discovering ways to serve and love each other as a Christian family and those around us (our neighbour) through our daily activities. As a pastor it is my calling to help develop and encourage growth among the church family, so that each person might move forward as a disciple of Jesus. Each of us is to take personal responsibility to grow past being spiritual babes, to being spiritual fathers and mothers for other new believers. It is vital that the church foster a culture of nourishing discipleship, through committed relationships, hospitality and fellowship. Christian growth will happen variously through preaching and teaching, but especially through commitment to small group engagement, as well as focussed courses where helpful, and mentoring and learning to serve. It is not necessarily my responsibility as pastor to do all of this but to lead, initiate and cultivate a culture and process that will help mature church members that they each might develop the giftings to be involved in moving forward together as a people. It is my conviction that as we make ourselves available, God will use every member to bless the others in some way as the Spirit enables.

Working towards generously supported church planting

An objective of church life is to see each member grow in knowledge, understanding and practical service. As churches grow they are to look to develop teams that work together to share every area of ministry and outreach. As people discover practical and spiritual giftings and these teams grow and multiply, we expect that God will then prepare us to plant further local churches. Learning to serve with different giftings is not the end goal in itself, but should always involve investing in others with a similar gifting that they might grow too. Each church will target not self-sustainability, but a heart of mission, moving towards the place of generously overflowing in personnel and finances, supporting outreaches that will themselves become local churches. We will also purposefully develop and resource team ministry to support local church members in their service.

A network of related churches

My personal view and vision for church development and planting is that every church see itself as belonging to a continuum of development towards multiplication. Ideally small churches are not to be left to struggle alone, but resourced and supported, financially and in terms of human resources, by a planting/ resourcing church. The goal for our church growth is therefore not simply self sufficiency, but discipleship unto fruitfulness to the point of overflowing in supporting mission and further church plants that can then do likewise.