The Baptist Union of Scotland is celebrating a one-percent increase in membership over 2022/2023. After 40 years of continued dwindling congregations, the network of churches has seen a rise in members, baptisms, and Sunday attendance.

Following the Covid pandemic, the denomination decided to make ‘increasing their membership in all 150 churches’ their central vision through three strategic priorities: prayer, church planting, and leaders’ training. A year and a half later, they are seeing the fruits of their efforts.

Speaking to Premier Christian News, Ali Laing, the denomination’s younger generation and digital church lead, said the vision statement is based on Jeremiah 28, which says, “Increase, do not decrease these people.”

“So we’ve been pursuing an increase as a network of churches. We started praying together, and from east to west as well and all the way down and across, praying regularly that God would increase and not decrease.”
However, membership is one of many numbers rising. The number of people coming to faith and deciding to get baptised has also increased significantly.

“The most exciting news is the number of baptisms,” Laing continued. “We’ve seen about 350 in 2023. And I think it’s easy to say that we’ve seen at least that number again this year so far.”
He added: “And for me, who works at the younger side of the church, the exciting thing is well over a third of those are people who are either high school age or young adult age. And so, we’re seeing a younger generation coming in.”

Asked whether they had membership targets, Laing said they didn’t have specific numbers but were praying to see 40 churches planted over the next five to six years.

“God’s just doing something. And that’s what we would say: this is not about the Baptist Union of Scotland; it’s not about any of our churches; it is about what God is doing in our relationship. And we’re beginning to see, hopefully, the first fruits of something significant happening in terms of people returning to him or coming to him for the first time,” Laing concluded.

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