Posts Tagged ‘Mez Mconnell’

As you can tell I am using lots of video fillers for the Christmas season. Tomorrow I will start the countdown on my top 3 blog posts of 2012 (statistically). Then, early in the New Year I will be leaving this blog and starting over at However, I will give plenty of notice about this and hope that all of my followers and subscribers make the move with me!


As many of you are aware, I have recently returned from the USA launch of 20Schemes. I suggest you click on the link if you do not know what that is. 20schemes is partnering with Bardstown Christian Fellowship in the planting and revitalisation of gospel centred churches in some of Scotland’s poorest housing schemes.

As I was there for 5 days of intense meetings, lectures and preaching I observed several things.

1. The BCF churches – Grace & Redeemer – are relatively small churches compared to the rest of the USA. Grace, the largest, is about the same size as Niddrie Community Church (my home church). Both congregations are not poor but nor are they rich. In other words, small churches coming together on both sides of the Atlantic can actually, with God’s help, make big things happen. The vision for 20 schemes has not grown from a mega church and yet far outstrips many in the scope of what we hope, by God’s grace, to achieve in the next decade. Never fall into the trap of thinking that because your congregation is small they cannot have a  part to play in world mission. The remarkable generosity of brothers and sisters in the USA never ceases to amaze me. They have such an openness to share time and resources. Leaders who have never met me have been so supportive of 20 schemes and have been going out of their way to help us to succeed in what we are trying to do. This flies in the face, often, of many in the UK who are suspicious of ideas like this and are often very negative and critical about whether it will succeed or not. This ‘can do’ attitude of so many stateside is a real breath of fresh air.

2. Partner organisations and individuals have just been unbelievably kind and generous to us. 9Marks have been a first rate example of this. Many of their leaders have given us such invaluable input and advice across a broad range of areas from branding, marketing, theology, finances and overall strategy. They have even offered to help us train our leaders through their own weekenders and printed material. Dr Jeff Walters at Southern Seminary allowed me to go into the classroom and teach a group of MA students for 2 hours on the vision of 20 schemes and the challenge of church planting in housing schemes. Another brother I met for the first time was Brian Croft who blogs at Practical Shepherding. He is not only sitting on our board but also offered us help in terms of fundraising, raising the profile, training young pastors, resources and allowing me to blog on housing scheme issues monthly on his site. I would like to thank all of these people who have been such a good example to me and I hope, one day, when 20 schemes has the means, to be able to offer the same level of help and practical support that has been shown to us.

3. I have admired the attitude of my elders at NCC and the elders of Matthew’s church at BCF. Both sets of men have graciously freed us up to pursue this ministry on behalf of both our congregations and without this kind of forward thinking we would not have gotten this far. This is a vision shared by both our communities and we hope it will grow in the hearts and minds of many over the coming years as we engage in this exciting gospel partnership together.

Finally, can I thank our Advisory Board Members who skyped together across three time zones for the first time this week. We hope in the years to come they will continue to ask us hard questions and offer us helpful counsel as we seek to serve the poor in Scotland for the sake of the glorious gospel of Jesus. I have listed them below.

Dr Jeff Walters (SBTS)

Robert Briggs (Scottish Pastor, Sacramento)

Mark Schenk (Scottish pastor, Edinburgh)

Marc Surtees (NCC elder)

Brian Croft (Pastor, Louisville)

Steve Robinson (Pastor, Liverpool)

All have are current pastors and between them possess broad experience in church planting cross culturally, church revitalisation work and an understanding of the current problems in Scottish housing schemes. Please continue to pray for us as we keep you updated on our progress.

Football is the language of the schemes. Almost everybody here has a team. In Edinburgh it is Hibs or Hearts. In Glasgow it is Rangers or Celtic. Of course, here teams are divided down religious lines: Catholic or Protestant. Regardless, people love their football here in Niddrie and it has been a good medium for me over the years to share the gospel. In about 2 weeks time we have Gavin Peacock coming to Niddrie. Throughout a distinguished playing career in England, Gavin Peacock’s faith was an integral part of who he was. Upon retiring from the game, the former Newcastle, Chelsea and QPR star realised that his future lay in Christianity and in spreading God’s word. Hear his remarkable story in ‘Gavin Peacock: Leap of Faith’. 

Gavin Peacock’s footballing life

1967 Born 18 November, Eltham.

1984-87 The midfielder begins his career with Queen’s Park Rangers, making his debut on 29 November in a 2-2 home draw against Sheffield Wednesday, aged 19.

1987-89 After a brief loan spell, he completes a full transfer to Gillingham, joining his father, Keith, who is manager. Peacock Snr is sacked soon afterwards but Gavin remains with the Gills for nearly two years.

1990-93 Following a year under Harry Redknapp at Bournemouth he is signed by Newcastle United. Peacock plays a crucial role as they win the 1992-93 First Division title, scoring 12 goals. Despite promotion to the Premier League with the Magpies, he joins Chelsea in the summer for £1.5m.

1993-96 Peacock scores on his Chelsea debut, a 2-1 home loss to Blackburn Rovers, and is one of the star performers in an otherwise disappointing league campaign for the Blues as they finished 14th. Peacock hits the bar in the 1994 FA Cup final as Chelsea suffer a 4-0 loss to Manchester United at Wembley. He goes on to make over 100 appearances for the club.

1996-2002 Moves back to QPR for £800,000 following a loan spell. Goes on to make over 200 appearances and score 39 goals in total for the club, but was unable to help the side back into the Premier League. Has a brief spell on loan in 2001 at Charlton Athletic, where his father Keith was assistant manager, before retiring at the end of the 2001-02 season.

Here’s the highlights of one of my favourite games against my beloved Man Utd. Enjoy Gavin’s reaction to the penalty at 1:31. Then we see him again with a tame header at 6:27. All that hair must have put him off balance 🙂

I recently discovered, ‘Writers Write’, a useful little blog on becoming a better writer. Not a Christian site but helpful nonetheless. It can be found here.

The table below is from the site.