Lasting Joy on the Scottish Coast
Who will reach British coastal towns with the good news of the Lord Jesus if Christians are not prepared to plant churches there? Here is the story of one church plant doing just that.
It was back in 2014 that Graham and Tineke Wintour moved to Balmedie, home to 2,500 people some eight miles north of Aberdeen. Donald Trump owns a golf course to the north of the village, and there are plans for extensive housing developments in the area.
At the beginning of their time in the village, Graham and Tineke attended a church in Aberdeen, but soon came to realise that to reach people on their doorstep, there needed to be a gospel witness in Balmedie itself.
“The beach here is stunning, and the quietness of village life appealed to us”, said Graham. “Yet over a period of 2-3 years, God fundamentally changed the way we saw Balmedie. Instead of only seeing self-serving ‘pros’ for living here, we began to see the people living here and feel something of God’s love for them.
“There are several practical barriers that prevent non-Christians from coming along to church events run by a city-centre church in Aberdeen. So, we began local outreach events in Balmedie in order to share the gospel with unbelievers here.”
Gospel Witness in Balmedie
This initial work has now developed into a flourishing gospel witness in the village, and Balmedie Community Church (BCC) is now a recognised church plant with FIEC. They are also going through assessment from Acts 29 and partner with Deeside Christian Fellowship Church in Aberdeen.
For Graham, church planting in smaller villages in Scotland is vital because – usually – there is little in the way of gospel witness. He said:
“The national church in Scotland is closing many buildings and merging many congregations. It means many communities are left without a healthy, local church bearing witness to the grace of God displayed in Jesus. The need for a local church in Balmedie is representative of the pressing need for a local evangelical church in most villages in Scotland.
“For the vast majority of people across Scotland, Romans 10:14 holds: ‘How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard?’ Most people here have not heard the gospel clearly explained, nor have they had the opportunity to see Jesus displayed through the love of his disciples.
“We hope Balmedie will be transformed by the gospel of Jesus, which God says is His power for salvation. We pray that new believers will be trained and sent from Balmedie to encourage existing churches and to plant new churches in the towns and villages of Scotland.”
In addition to leading the plant, Graham works part-time as a carer for a boy in Balmedie who has special needs. Tineke trained as a doctor, but now cares for their four children and is working to complete the “Women in Ministry” course from 20schemes.
Graham concluded: “We would love to have a few Christians move into the village to help us with this exciting work. If there is any movement in your heart concerning this, please look for God’s leading.”