how destiny started
Destiny Church is one of Scotland’s success stories. We started with just a handful of people, but by God’s grace, have grown to become one of the significant churches in the nation, and have opened many other Destiny Churches in Scotland, Europe and across the world. So how did it all begin? And where do we see it all going?
Our founders, Andrew & Sue Owen relocated to Glasgow in late 1989 and started the first public meeting of Destiny Church in January 1990. They came to Glasgow to start a life-giving church, which proclaimed the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ, presented in a modern and relevant way. The first meetings started with just eight adults and their children in a small room of a local hotel.
Andrew & Sue believed that God sent them to Scotland, where historically the church had a big history and a large legacy, but in recent times had been in rapid decline.
Their story shows that the gospel is as powerful as ever, and thousands of people have since been impacted by the generous and amazing love of God.
Andrew & Sue were also commissioned and sent to Scotland by an apostolic team who took ‘the great commission’ very seriously. This team (which was known as CMI) provided encouragement, oversight and spiritual input in the early years.
When we first began, we had a different name, we were called Covenant life. This name represented one of our core values – covenant. This powerful concept simply means that we have a deep conviction that God promised to be with us and never leave us, and that we should live out this same level of commitment with each other. Learning how to build strong in vision, win through adversities and maintain our focus and purpose as we journey forwards. Although we changed our name, covenant is still one of our highest values.
Through consistent outreach, and hosting hundreds of ‘healing meetings’, the church grew, particularly drawing a younger generation, who found life, purpose and friends in the church community. The average age of the church was 24yrs, and even today, we are predominantly, but not exclusively, a younger church.
There were several key moments in our journey.
At one point, the growth of the church seemed to slow. Andrew went to seek God about this. He believed God said to him, ‘In the climate in which you are currently working it takes a while for a tree to grow, but if you plant a forest they will all grow together‘. This underlined a prophecy which they had when they first started. This prophecy said, ‘not a village, not a town, not a city, but a nation and nations turning to Christ’ (prophecy given by the late Bryn Jones, apostle, in 1989). Consequently, fresh energy, vigour and strategy were focused into exporting and starting new churches.
Then, just a few years into this adventure, (around 1995) the team leaders of CMI appointed Andrew into an apostolic ministry at a large event in England, and they both encouraged and released him to his own unique apostolic ministry.
And so, we changed our name to Destiny Church, with all new and emerging churches operating under the covering of Destiny Ministries, which is the apostolic and international arm of the ministry, and in association with the Evangelical Alliance. Today there are some 1200 churches in this family, across Scotland, Europe, Asia, India and Africa.
Our Destiny Churches had already begun to emerge in various places like Stirling, Inverness and Germany, we then planted into Edinburgh and further afield. You can read their exciting stories in other places.
Destiny Glasgow became like Antioch or Jerusalem in the New Testament. They became an apostolic centre. Andrew and Sue, say of this church, “The people who make up the church have shown the most remarkable generosity and tenacity, as they have not only endeavoured to build church locally, but have been a consistently sending church, releasing some of their best leaders to other places, and then continuing to support those churches with many and various ministries, strong administration and spiritual guidance”. Many of the Glasgow Church staff carry a dual-role, they serve the local church and they are encouragingly hands on with all the other churches.
Having outgrown rental venues, in 2000, we bought our first Glasgow building in Shawlands from the Church of Scotland and converted this tired but beautiful building into a modern, multi-media centre. The upgrade won the architects and our team a prestigious architectural award.
Very soon after this we filled the building to capacity, and then at first started multiple services in the same building. But then in 2010 we moved into a multi-site church, where we work and live as one church in many locations. Presently there are 9 locations, in Glasgow, with many more planned.
Destiny Angels is born! One night, Andrew couldn’t sleep, and found himself moved with the ever-increasing needs of the city. He drove around the city in the early hours of the morning asking God to help him, help them. In this moment Destiny Angels was born, a helpline with a strap line, ‘Got nowhere to turn for help? Then ask an angel to help you’. The angels were a team of volunteers who responded to the calls that came in. Consequently, we started the first food bank in Glasgow, and then got involved with addiction/homelessness/loneliness issues and much more. A building was donated to us for this particular work.
Books and writings. Andrew & Sue often say that one of their key missions is to ‘Get the Word out!’. We believe that the Word of God is creative, powerful and life changing. We think that it is the way God speaks to us. Writing and publishing, together with the release of messages in various ways and formats became a very important part of the ministry from the beginning. Initially, we created an entity called Reapers Trust, to facilitate this ministry, but it was modernised and changed into Destiny Leadership Resources. You can find out more about this aspect here.
According To The Pattern is one of the most important books Andrew has written. It’s now translated into many languages, including German, Telegu, Orea. All our churches (and many others also), use this book as the key foundation building programme for their churches. Everyone goes through it, from the newest Christian, to the most mature leader. It’s not a course as such, but a discipleship programme designed to bring people into maturity. It’s important in that it teaches us about God, His Word, and the protocols of engagement by which we do life together. You can find this book here.
Destiny TV is born. A key moment in our journey saw the church move into TV broadcasting. Always with a passion to ‘Get the Word out’, Andrew and some key personnel started making broadcast quality programmes. These were broadcast on the Sky satellite platform. Christian TV was very new to the UK in those days, and the corresponding audience was very small at around 20,000 viewers. The strategy was switched, and once again we became the first church in the UK to use livestreaming, borrowing the idea from the soccer clubs. The idea was so new and innovative, that our TV team, made up of mostly teenagers and youth, were nominated for the prestigious Times & Herald new technology award. We thought it really cool that a church should get such an award. We then found we had a global audience with people watching from the middle east, Europe, China and many far-flung places. We still livestream, and you can find details of the next livestream here.
In recent times we have also moved back into broadcasting with our Partners at TBN UK, and this has been hugely successful since they broadcast on the Freeview channel, (as well as the Sky platform), which almost all UK people get for free. They tell us some 3 million people are watching in the UK, and now in addition also across Africa and Europe. (Find the current broadcast schedule here)
The City Building is bought. (2012) We now own a building we call a miracle building. Situated in the best possible location, adjacent to Strathclyde University and right next door to the ancient and famous Glasgow Cathedral, we acquired a former bank building. The story as to how we bought this building is miraculous and has been written of elsewhere. We are just completing a full and complete refurbishment of the building and is home to our City location (Sundays 11am), our administration and Destiny College, and home to Destiny Ministries.
Youth. We know that God is interested in every generation, and we have a passion and love for both the youth in the church, and the youth in the city. Initially our youth initiatives were called GNR8, (Generate), and they reached so many and did so much. Lately, we have a new team in place who are excited to reach the youth in the city and host many events. Find out more about Destiny Youth!
Children’s ministry, affectionately known as Destiny Kids, complete with its own signature tune, and mascot, the kid’s ministry is significant in that we say the children are not the church of tomorrow, but the church of today. More than 100 kids came to faith last year, many were baptised in water and received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They continue to grow in confidence as they grow in their faith.
Students make up a significant part of Destiny Glasgow, with several key colleges and universities in the area. The student ministry operates under BOLD and is led by Pastor Phil Everitt and a fantastic team. Many of these students end up leading significant things here at the church. They grow together around lots of food, fun and friendship.
Missions. There is a committed and regular outreach team that reaches out each week. BUT over and above this, we are encouraging all church members to participate in a mission’s moment at least once in the year. Each person can participate locally, nationally or internationally. We both send out mission’s teams alongside Destiny College students, and welcome missions teams from other countries. Do you want to bring a team to Scotland? Then consider us your partners, we can help make it happen. Get in touch!
Prayer. We think prayer is the ‘boiler house’ of the church. We pray in different ways at different times. We periodically have days of prayer and fasting where we are all involved together. Often times we host what we call Holy Spirit Nights, which is an extended evening of prayer. Ivan Squillino is our prayer and intercession team leader (contact Ivan). Soon, our new Destiny App will enable all to connect at any time for prayer. We have our own dedicated prayer email address, and if you have a need, all you need to do is send in your request to email@example.com.
Discipleship. Jesus told us to go and make disciples. This means our direction of travel in life is to become like Him. To be a disciple requires great courage and the willingness to continually grow and change. It means being in relationship with others, who will both encourage us and challenge us to become all that we can be. We take this task seriously and have created clear pathways that can move people positively forwards in life. We do this through our small groups, called Growth Groups, through short course teaching programmes that cover many different subjects, and by rolling up our sleeves and getting involved. We sometimes say, ‘you don’t have to serve, you get to serve’, we see it as a great privilege to do so. And we have dozens of serving teams creating these opportunities, and if there isn’t one that suits you, how about starting one?
Special events have always added colour and flavour to our journey. They have included Diamonds Women’s events, Menmakers for the guys, Favour for our entrepreneurs and business community, ILD (International Leaders Days) for pastors and leaders, Impact for students, and occasionally the Room4U an all age singles conference, and lately the fantastic SURGE Conferences, which we have had the joy of hosting together with other great churches in our cities. We alternate the location for the Surge conference, and this next year it will be in Glasgow. Get your SURGE Conference tickets here!