Priority Areas

Priorities…. Defiance

Derek Pope who retires as the Convenor of the Priority Areas Committee reflects on a Boys Brigade Review he attended and calls for the Church to embrace a radical theology of Defiance.

Last Friday evening I attended the Annual Review of the Motherwell, Bellshill and District Battalion of the Boys Brigade.  The large town centre church was well filled with 250-300 boys, plus their parents and supporters.  There was much about the event that was impressive.  The large turnout spoke of the commitment of the Lanarkshire churches to the Boys Brigade.  John Swinney, the Depute First Minister and Guest of Honour, spoke sincerely of how the BB had shaped his life and how its values were needed today.  The Chaplain presented an age appropriate multi media address and the excitement of the boys was palpable as the previously unknown results of the various competitions were revealed.  It was a particularly good night for North Motherwell, where this blogger has ministered for the past 22 years, as our small BB Company (the Motherwell 20th) managed to win ‘The Flag’ for the third time in four years.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t quietly pleased for the boys and officers who had put in so much work and were now enjoying the rewards... read more

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Priorities…. Service

Maryhill Parish Church is coming to the end of its time as a Priority Areas church.  As part of our PA journey, we joined the Chance to Thrive programme, which prompted us to focus on what it is we do to serve the community and how we could do better going forward.  We wanted service to be embedded in everything we do, so we came up with three strands to describe our work: Care for Others, Care for Young People and Care for the Environment... read more

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Priorities…. #SquadGoals

I saw a tube of toothpaste and I cried. But we’ll get to that later.

One of the five values of the YAV program is intentional Christian community.

                  “YAVs explore what it means to be a Christian community with one another and their neighbors. While some will live in housing together and others spread throughout their country, all YAVs will reflect together on their service and explore their relationship with God, the church, and their ministry in a broken world.”

Not that I wasn’t expecting it, maybe more so it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but my intentional Christian community in the context of my YAV year extends far beyond my YAV community... read more

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Priorities…. Worship


Priority Area churches are examples for the rest of the church in the way they serve their communities in the name of Christ. Mission and service is in their DNA. The challenge is always to not think that service in the community is ALL that God requires of us. Worship is the first priority for us as visible expressions of Christ’s body on earth. Our service in our communities flows from our worship, otherwise we engage in mere activism. Therefore, how we engage in worship becomes extremely important, so I want to talk about this area of ministry in this post... read more

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Priorities…. Prioritising

Life is all about Prioritising

Depending on who you ask, where you are from, or what age you are one might think that priorities differ between people, but in reality I don’t believe they really do. I have been volunteering with theGKexperience ‘Just Do It’ group (a group of young people who come together from various Priority Areas). Chatting with two of the young people, one from Blackhill and one from Ruchazie, and one young leader from Ruchazie I found that a lot of our priorities are similar... read more

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Priorities…. Honouring Friday

It was at the point of walking into the solicitor’s to sign the contract that the enormity of what was happening literally struck ‘home’.


I came across from Belfast almost two years to begin working with Chance to Thrive, a Priority Areas’ project, as its new co-ordinator. My sense when driving to Glasgow that first week was one of thankfulness, excitement and enthusiasm as I was coming to what was for me a dream job.


The idea was that I would go to Scotland and begin the job, and then at some point in the future, Catherine my wife would join me... read more

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Priorities…. Discipleship

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18,19 Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

The Serious Challenge of Discipleship


These are Jesus’ last words to his disciples on the Mount of Olives and often quoted by church planters and evangelists.  But how are we to do this faithfully, today?

.. read more
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Priorities…. Change

Three streets worth of derelict houses clung to the steep side of the hill like the remnants of ancient teeth in a prehistoric skull.

They were my new neighbours in my new church placement at St. Martin’s in Port Glasgow in September 2015.

By the end of the year they were gone.  A while after that the land was smoothed out, grass began to grow. If you were to look at the hill now for the first time you would never know that here was a place where people lived and loved and had families and grew up... read more

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Priorities…. Questions

‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

During Lent, we’re asked to take a long, hard look at ourselves; how we live our life, consider the choices we have made and look ahead to the choices before us.
In doing this there are, inevitably, questions – and with questions, we seek answers... read more

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Priorities…. A.B.C.

The A.B.C. (All-together Better Church) perspective on ministry and life in priority areas.

Often the approach we have in ministry is to work through the problems or needs in the context we are called to serve. The general perception of a Priority Area Parish (PA) is a place with deprivation, illness, and damaging social behaviour.

The church mission then takes the shape of serving the needs judged by demographic analysis, past experience and the reputation of the said community. While this understanding paints a picture it is a deficit identifying approach that starts from a negative premise... read more

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