by Adrian Armstrong
That was the question we asked ourselves at the Scottish Bible Society last year, as we took receipt of thousands of copies of a special edition of Mark’s gospel. Entitled Mark: The Time Has Come, this magazine style gospel had been intended for mass distribution at the 2020 Edinburgh Festival and Fringe. But God had other plans.
Unable to use the gospel for our intended purpose we turned to churches around Scotland, writing the following to our supporters:
What if we saw the crisis we are passing through as a Gospel moment for Scotland? What if, like the disciples in Acts 8, scattered as we are in the cities, towns, and villages of Scotland and unable to meet in large numbers in our churches, we saw this time as the moment to share God’s Word with our families, friends and neighbours?
We encouraged people to do two things: buy two copies of the gospel and read it with a friend or order more copies as a church to give away. Since then, we have distributed nearly 3,000 copies of the gospel.
Over 100 people accepted the challenge to read the Bible with a friend. One of the great unseen engines of evangelism that God has been using powerfully in Scotland over the past years has been the simple but transformative idea of inviting friends who are not Christians to get together over a coffee and read a gospel. Within our Universities and Colleges, which remain one of the most fruitful mission fields in our country, reading a gospel with a friend has been the key initiative in bringing people to faith.
Churches have responded too, distributing Mark: The Time Has Come to local homes, including some who used Christmas as a particular opportunity to engage with their local community. Other churches have ordered for their small groups, and a number of Boy’s Brigade Companies have taken and used the gospel together.
The need in Scotland for the gospel of Jesus Christ is as urgent as ever. We still have plenty “seed” in our storehouse that needs scattered across the land! We do not print gospels that they might lie in a warehouse, but that they might reach the hands and hearts of the people of Scotland, transforming lives.
Who could you invite to read the gospel with you over a coffee? Perhaps this is an initiative you could take on as a church, committing as a congregation to taking a gospel and reading with a friend. Or maybe you could think about distributing copies to your local community.
“Others, like seed sown in good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times what was sown” (Mark 4:20, NIV)
You can order copies of Mark: the time has come by clicking here.