Grafted - update Jan11

Monday, 3 January, 2011

Paul Little, Church Army Evangelist in South West Scotland, discusses Grafted, a fresh expressions of church in the Borders.

Duration: 3:37   | Download Download mp3


Introducer: In south-west Scotland there's a fresh expression of church which is beginning to make a real difference to the lives of local people, and particularly those who have serious life-controlling habits and difficulties. Evangelist Paul Little explains more.

Paul Little: Grafted is a Church-Army-backed project up in Scottish borders. We work in Newcastleton which is a very small village of about 750 people and we expand our work right across the borders including Hawick, Galashiels, Selkirk, just wherever we're invited to work. Although Grafted is made up of lots of little pieces, we've got a set of values and a vision that all those pieces adhere to. And at the centre of that our job is to give hope to those without hope. It's more about being church, all through the day, all through the week, all through the year and setting up and doing things that reflect the values of the church by being, rather than doing events.

The drop-in in Hawick is like a shop window in effect and, you know, we do do discipleship there, we have conversations, and the way that it's become church I suppose is the fact that everybody who comes to that drop-in understands that we're about the Christian faith, but we're also willing to serve people and give people real genuine help in their lives, the help that they need to change.

At the drop-in we do something that would look like a Bible study and very very often after those groups have ended and everybody's gone for their coffee – because they just last 15 minutes – every time so far somebody will stay behind and we'll have a much deeper conversation, maybe even lead to laying on of hands and prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to change a life.

Luke Wardle: Life before I met Paul and Elaine Little, who run the Grafted project, was pretty shocking. Had a heart attack at the age of 20 induced by an overdose, to be honest it really wasn't much of what I'd call a life, it wasn't really living. Being with Paul and Elaine and the rest of the people on the project, they actually helped me through my withdrawals when I decided to come off methadone. They prayed me through it and I do know for a fact that it was nowhere near as bad as what it should have been. That was the power of God working in my life.

Paul Little: Seeing some of these guys that we work with become Christians, I would even say that the Holy Spirit is growing them, not us, and we're just watching them grow. Everything we do is about building relationships with them, so when it comes to having deep conversations, they already know who we are as people, by just being with them and trying to be ourselves with them.

Refresh is the name that we've given to the work in Newcastleton which many people might describe as church, and it's made up of eight groups. There's a men's group, a ladies' group, there's kids' groups – the model is not important. You know, going out there and finding something trendy and sexy is not what it's about. It's actually about growing people who are real missional people and church that's missional becomes an absolute norm for them, rather than something that they have to work towards.

When I went to see the Bishop of Edinburgh to say to him that I think we might have a church on our hands, he said, you know, if God is growing a flower, I don't want to be the one to put my foot on it.

If I could look back in 20 years and see what it grows to, I would hope that in the future it's led by the very people who've come through what we've been doing and that they make up the local churches. Not to make Grafted important, not to make Church Army important, but that actually the gospel becomes the important thing and it's worked out both socially and by word and deed.

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