Last month Refuge Church became affiliated with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches—we are now part of a network of close to 600 churches throughout the UK. The FIEC exists to encourage and equip independent churches to thrive, impacting our nation with the good news of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Refuge has already benefitted in a number of ways from the FIEC: from legal advice to our Pastor, Peter, personally being built up and encouraged by FIEC pastors and staff in Glasgow. Peter meets on Tuesday mornings for Bible study, prayer and bacon rolls with a few other FIEC pastors and church members. Additionally, the FIEC have pledged generous financial support to Jonathan as he pursues theological studies at Cornhill.
The FIEC is a fellowship of independent churches. This means the FIEC has no authority over churches. The conviction of independent churches is that the highest earthly authority in a church is her elders.
There are a number of advantages to being independent: an independent church is not burdened with the bureaucracy that can often accompany denominations; it is free to worship and reform with what they believe the Bible to teach; and an independent church does not have to deal with the trouble that can result in a denomination straying from the teachings of the Bible.
There are also challenges of being independent: often small churches lack the experience and resources that denominations take for granted; and an independent church, if it is not intentionally outward focussed, can become insular. Being affiliated with the FIEC will help Refuge overcome these challenges.
We join just as the FIEC in Scotland is planting a church in Aviemore. How exciting to be part of a fellowship that is pressing forward for the gospel in challenging times!