Rev Tommy MacNeil has been minister of Martin’s Memorial Church of Scotland, Stornoway for the last fifteen years. Prior to that he was minister of Barvas Church of Scotland which was the epicentre of the Hebrides Revival with the Rev Duncan Campbell during 1949-52. He studied at Aberdeen University from 1994-2000 where he was awarded M.A. (Master of Arts) and B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) Degrees.
Through his work in Martin’s Memorial he spearheaded the work of The Shed Project. A youth and community project that provides a neutral and safe environment for young and old alike and gives support to those who face challenges that are bigger than they are.
As well as serving locally Tommy has always had a heart for the nation of Scotland. He was part of the leadership team of C.L.A.N. (Christians Linked Across the Nation); served on the Scottish Council of Evangelical Alliance; and is a former Trustee of The Scottish Bible Society. As well as being part of various ministries within the national church, he has been blessed with opportunities to preach and teach all over Scotland, the UK, and internationally.
Tommy is the Chair of Hebrides Alpha Project, a residential rehab based in the Isle of Lewis. He is the former convenor of the Recruitment Task Group within The Church of Scotland and is a part time lecturer with Highland Theological College where he teaches on Evangelism.
Tommy is married to Donna and they have two adult children Jo (married to Ali) and Matthew (soon to be married to Rhona). He is proud Grandad to little Haley, and loves to go walking with Brownie, an excitable springer spaniel.
God first spoke into Tommy’s heart about writing during a sabbatical in the U.S. in 2014. He was waiting on God’s timing for vision to be turned into reality. ‘Sleeping Giant’ is Tommy’s first book. He has already begun work on his second one.
The Very Reverend Dr Martin Fair.
Minister of St Andrew’s Church, Arbroath.
Moderator of the General Assembly of The Church of Scotland 2020-2021.
It’s impossible not to be enthused when in Tommy’s company and the same can be said of this book. From start to finish, his writing is both a wake-up call to the Church and a wonderful encouragement that God is not finished with Scotland! Tommy calls us to renewal and revival and reformation but all the time, reminds us that such movements are God’s doing. Even so, as pages are turned, we find ourselves inspired to join in - to shout, ‘Count me in, Lord!’ And beyond that, we’re inspired to pray - and to persevere in prayer and to recognise it as the priority.
Sleeping Giant is nothing if not a challenge to the Church. But if in reading it, you don’t find yourself challenged - you’re missing the point, spectacularly so! We’re called to look out to our churches and communities but not before having looked in to our own hearts and having acknowledged our own need of revival.
This book comes as a gift to the Church and should be read by its ministers and members. But while you might well enjoy it, it will leave you feeling thoroughly uncomfortable - such is the prophetic nature of the writing. In longing for revival, Tommy cautions us to be careful what we pray for, and to understand that such a move of God will disturb, disarm and dismay.
Tommy suggests that Church leaders tend to take up the role of either caretaker, risk taker or undertaker. As a minister of thirty years experience, that thought stopped me in my tracks and caused me to consider which one best describes me - and whether I need to get back to taking more risks!
In these days, the Church is concerned with how it manages its affairs and organises its activity. This book reminds us - and forcefully so - that no amount of restructuring will matter if first and foremost there isn’t a hunger for God’s glory, an acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty and a willingness to partner with God in the fulfilment of The Great Commission - which as Tommy suggests has, to our shame, become The Great Omission.
In Sleeping Giant, Tommy skillfully weaves together biblical interpretation, theological insight and much by way of story and personal reflection. It’s the combination of these three that makes it so readable and, I suggest, so accessible. In other words, this is a book for everyone and I’d happily recommend it to professors, preachers and the faithful people who take their place in our pews Sunday by Sunday.
Tommy’s writing makes clear his love for scripture and his love for the Spirit and his insistence that reliance upon both is necessary if there is to be any hope of revival in the days ahead. But while he longs for it be all that it’s called to be - and is clearly frustrated by some of its antics - that Tommy loves the Church of Jesus Christ is never in doubt. He has high hopes for it but there’s nothing in this book that smacks of ‘church bashing.’ We’re encouraged not to loathe the Church but love it.
‘This is a wonderful book. The most apt description of the church today, speaking generally, is that it is asleep. I pray that this book will serve as a wake-up call to all of us’.
Rev. Dr R. T. Kendall
Former minister of Westminster Chapel - London, and author of more than fifty books.