VCF Northern Weekend 2024 Speaker David Swan

I am married to Joyce, who works with international students in Friends International and as chaplain at Heriot Watt University. We have 3 children, Andrew (27), Joanna (26) and Jennifer (21). Joanna is married to Asker and is expecting our first grandchild in May.
I came to the Lord at the age of 20 in 1981 while seeing practice in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. In my attempt that summer to get away from some crazy people that had told me they had “become Christians”, I inadvertently landed in the hub of the Veterinary Christian Fellowship! Through the witness of Steve Gillgan, with whom I was staying, I was drawn to Jesus as I saw Him at work in Steve and those around him.
On qualifying in 1983 I worked in Stranraer in SW Scotland in a mainly dairy farming area – but it was very varied as the practice took in a large hill area with beef and sheep, and we had a large pig unit in Port William. There was also quite a bit of equine work as this was the port for transport of horses to and from Northern Ireland – and we did the majority of the small animal work in the town!
In 1986 I felt God was guiding me to missionary work in Southeast Asia, and after a spell at the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow, I served in Thailand from 1990 to 1997. I planted churches in a variety of settings – rural, urban, with students and working with some in the police and military to start the Military and Police Christian Fellowship of Thailand.
In 1998, after our return to Scotland, I went back into veterinary work in South Glasgow – it was a mixed practice but due to my background I found that the majority of my work was on the large animal side.
In 2000, I felt God directing me back to church planting but this time in Scotland. I trained for the Church of Scotland (CofS) ministry to do this. (This was called New Charge Development in the CofS at this time). I worked in Cove NCD in Aberdeen from 2005 to 2016 and at that time I was involved in various evangelistic endeavours like Street Pastors, school chaplaincy, regional and global Alpha training, and being a chaplain to Grampian Police before the advent of Police Scotland.
From 2014 to 2016 I would say I suffered a spiritual and mental crisis that pretty much broke me – and it was during that time that I now see, God was calling me to the broken. Not knowing what lay ahead we followed God’s prompting to move to Edinburgh, and initially I worked with Bethany Christian Trust in the crisis night shelter for the homeless. During that time God spoke in many ways about my ministry, and he opened many doors for me to return to working in prisons. (I had done prison chaplaincy as part of my CofS training, and I had been on the prison ministry team in my local church in Glasgow from 1998). I learnt of the work of Junction 42 in the Northeast of England, and to me their Connect groups sounded like missional communities for ex-offenders. So, in 2017 I started working for Junction 42 to see the work pioneered in Scotland, and prisoners come to faith and supported through the gate in discipleship and in returning to work. In 2018, I became a part-time chaplain in HMP Edinburgh to help facilitate that work. I have been doing that ever since, seeing the work of Junction 42 expand in Scotland, to multiply Connect groups and expand prison engagement, through the gate support and by developing WorkOut (our back to purposeful activity programme).
It is with great pleasure that I can share with you at this VCF weekend. VCF has been part of my journey and so I want to acknowledge that and celebrate it.
I want to share with you about “living prophetically in difficult times” this weekend, as I feel that in my life we have moved in the UK from a season of evangelism (sharing openly the good news of Jesus) to a season of prophecy (standing up for righteousness in a culture of rebellion and decay). How do we live for the LORD in these days of seismic shift? We will look at the story of Elijah from 1 Kings to seek God’s wisdom and guidance.

Back to News