Tell Scotland

"... so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17.23


In the year 1953 the 'Tell Scotland' evangelistic campaign was launched. With the voluntary exception of the Roman Catholic Church, it united all the main churches in Scotland. Tom Allan was appointed as full-time coordinator. The movement adopted 3 principles:

  1. Mission is not an occasional or sporadic activity, but a continuous engagement with the world at every level;

  2. The agent of mission in the Church;

  3. The place of the lay person is decisive.

3 was also the number of years in which the movement was to go through its first cycle:

  1. Preparation, planning, publicity;

  2. Training of lay people via prayer, Bible study, practice within congregations;

  3. Outreach via visitation, house groups, vocational cells, witness teams, open air meetings, personal counselling, social action.

It started well and Tom proved to be an effective leader, whose personal charisma won the support of churches the length and breadth of Scotland. At the heart of it all was the institutional "glue" of the BBC's head of religious broadcasting, Dr Ronald Falconer.


And then news came through of the impact of Billy Graham's crusade in England. Tom travelled south to investigate. He returned with glowing reports so, despite the misgivings of many on the organising committee, Billy was invited to bring his crusade north under the Tell Scotland banner. The results of 1955 are legendary and such was Billy Graham's charisma that he overshadowed his hosts and their efforts. Tom remained unrepentant but it split the movement between those who warmed to Graham's revivalist message, Tom among them, and others who wanted to take mission in a different, more socially oriented direction.

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