Bridging the Kingdom of Fife to the Kingdom of God
By Matthew Marshall, Associate Pastor at Glenrothes Baptist Church
When God graciously provided a new location for Glenrothes Baptist Church to move into in 2016, it presented a unique challenge. Not how to raise the funds, but how to best use the 20,000 sq ft space in the town centre shopping mall. Most of the building was spread over the first and second floors and easy enough to see how it could be used for church life and ministry. The challenge was how to best use the 4,000 sq ft ground floor area that was directly connected to the mall and acted as our very own ‘shopfront’.
In Acts 17 we see the Apostle Paul waiting in Athens. While there he spent his time reasoning in the marketplace every day, with those who happened to be there. He spent his days among the traders, not offering worldly goods but heavenly hope. His intention was to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. As we studied this passage we learned much from his example.
Firstly, we could see how he was provoked by what he saw in the marketplace — the idol worship of created things. We likewise could see the same thing in modern form on our marketplace doorstep. (Acts 17:16-17)
Secondly, we could see how he would collide and compare a Biblical world-view with their pagan world-views, bringing the message of God’s love in Christ and the hope of the Gospel to bear. (Acts 17:18-27)
Thirdly, we could see how he faithfully called them to repentance. How he would bring their sin into focus and show the way to salvation was through Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sin that only he can offer. (Acts 17:30-34)
We are located on the East Coast of Scotland at the heart of the Kingdom of Fife. 20 miles south of us, three bridges connect the Kingdom of Fife to the Capital of Scotland. Seeing this and thinking through the example of Paul in Athens, God gave us the vision and tag-line, “Bridging the Kingdom of Fife to the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ”. We decided to focus our efforts on a community hub and Café. We wanted the space to be overtly Gospel-centred; Scripture on the walls, in the music played in the background and on the lips of those who would work there. We wanted to see it be a place where those from the kingdom of Fife would feel comfortable to come onto ‘The Bridge’ and meet those of us from the kingdom of God there, and not feel threatened.
Our prayers have been, and continue to be, answered. Since opening in December last year (lockdown not withstanding) we have seen the Gospel bear fruit in the salvation of six people and many more starting to come over into areas of church life. Maintaining this unusual ministry is challenging but the Gospel opportunities it affords are priceless.