HOW WE GOT HERE
In 2005 Whiteinch Church of Scotland started the Invest course, a year long, spare time course for those seeking to pioneer new missional projects or church plants. Designed as a course taught by active practitioners with the express purpose of launching real activity on completion, we have seen participants go on to be involved in over 55+ different church plants or innovative missional expressions. We partnered with Forge International in 2013 to become Forge Scotland – a win-win partnership.
A Cultural Crisis
We believe that to reach the vast majority of those who live in our community, our city and our nation we need a new breed of Church – a Church which holds passionately to the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ while finding new ways of expressing that message in new faith communities. We are encouraged in this view as we read the many ways in which the Holy Spirit led Jesus’ friends to create and establish culturally appropriate, missionary congregations. We are optimistic as we survey the emergence of a whole range of new initiatives within the wider Church.
In Scotland, and further afield, Christians today are trying to rediscover how to apply that sharp missionary focus in a way which is appropriate to contemporary culture.
In 1992, as part of the Decade of Evangelism, the Disciple A Whole Nation (DAWN) Congress, made up of all the major Christian denominations within the UK, set the target of planting 20,000 new Churches within the following ten years. By 1994 C. Peter Wagner had already identified that the target would never be met.
Why? Because to plant 20,000 Churches would require 50,000 leaders to be trained, ready and released. No such leadership training agenda was in place, never mind the actual selection, training and deployment programmes.
By 2002 there were only a few hundred new Churches planted – largely due to lack of trained leaders.
God is raising up many people from throughout the whole Church with a passion for creating church in new ways, whether they call them “church plants”, “fresh expressions” “missional communities”, “network churches” or simply aim to create space for people to have access to the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In 2005 Whiteinch Church of Scotland started the Invest course, a year long spare-time training course for those who were seeking to start new expressions of missional activity. Designed as a course taught by active practitioners with the express purpose of launching real activity on completion, we have seen participants go on to be involved in over 55+ different church plants or innovative missional expressions.
The Forge Missionary Training Network was established in Victoria, Australia in 1996. After 7 years of significant road testing and evaluation it expanded to six networks throughout Australia. From there, Forge developed an international system to birth and nurture the missional church globally, and to ensure that the Forge DNA and founding character is cultivated and supported within each new region. We wholeheartedly believe that the establishment and ongoing development of the international Forge Mission Training Network will play a vital role in the church emerging on the edges of the first-world mission fields.
In 2013 Invest partnered with Forge International to become Forge Scotland, continuing to run a year-long training programme, but also expanding into The Forge Support Network to resource church planters, and seeking to increase involvement with academic and denominational organisations in Scotland in order to increase the level of new missional activity in a country desperately in need of the gospel.