The missionary parish
"But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." 2 Timothy 4.5
The key to understanding parish ministry in the Church of Scotland is to be found in the Third Article Declaratory of the Church's constitution, which "acknowledges its distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish in Scotland through a territorial ministry." This means that the responsibility of every local church in not only to nurture its congregation but also to reach out to its surrounding community with the Gospel. In other words, ministry in the Church of Scotland is expressed through a network of missional parish churches.
Fresh from the success of Tell Scotland, Tom Allan returned to parish ministry at The Tron Church in Glasgow. The breadth and fruitfulness of his service is breathtaking as it encompassed all ages, involved TV as well as radio broadcasting and propelled him to international awareness, preaching to thousands across American and Canada at mass rallies. His approach was guided by three approaches, whose order is telling:
The prayer of God's people, meeting individually, in small groups and as congregations
The practice of faith expressed in acts of compassion and service
The preaching of the Gospel, as the antidote to sin and the route to eternal life.
In terms of his own preaching, Tom was no prophet of doom, preferring to stress the resurrection of Jesus and the hope which his victory over sin and death offers to every penitent sinner. Vital was the expression of that hope in real life, enabled and multiplied through prayer.