Starting from Scratch: Church Planting in the West of Ireland

mayo-ireland-ballina

 

Our God is passionate about growing His kingdom in this world. God is passionate about church planting. Glenn Dekker commented in a recent post that church planting is ‘a way of reaching the lost for Christ as we engage this Australian culture with the words and love of Christ’; but this is not only true in Australia but for the rest of the world.

We have been in the west of Ireland for five and a half years now trying to engage with a post-Christian Irish culture with the truth and love of Christ. Our sending mission agency, Pioneers; which has church planting as one of its core values; have helped us set up a team in Ireland that, in partnership with local churches and networks, started a new church plant, Calvary Church, in our small town Ballina in County Mayo, over four years ago. We have recently been on Home Assignment in Perth, raising support for our third term on the field in Ireland.

Ballina

Why Ireland? This is a question we always get asked when we talk about our ministry. Despite its strong religious history and that almost 90% of its population call themselves Catholic, Ireland is under 1% evangelical. Basically Ireland is an unreached people group, there are simply not enough evangelical Christians to reach its own nation with the gospel

How do you plant a church in a town where you know no one, have a tiny core group and very little resources or money? Firstly, in a nutshell, it hasn’t been easy but we have been thankful for strong partnerships with local churches and networks. We are partnered with a reformed indigenous church planting network called Calvary Mission that have supported and mentored us as we began our church in Ballina.. Since our time in Ireland, Calvary Mission has grown to plant 3 more churches & is in partnership with other churches too, enabling our support network to grow.

Secondly, we work in a team. Our core group is very small, two Australian families, but we support and encourage each other to share the load. Being small means we work very closely together but also makes us reach out into our community since we don’t have the busyness of a large church family. Our main focus is to ‘live out loud’ our Christianity in a community where religion is often very private. Building relationships is our main goal as we find that developing trust with our friends and neighbours gives us opportunities to share the love of Christ in meaningful and powerful ways.

Thirdly, we have needed to develop a deep relationship with God to guide us and lead us as we seek to do His work in Ireland. God is not just passionate about saving souls, He is also passionate about changing and growing us!  When life gets too hard in Ireland, when we are in tears when the time spent journeying with close friends bears no fruit, when members of our tiny little church decide to leave due to things outside our control….those are the times when we have had to rely heavily on our compassionate loving God to hold us in tightly in His hands and guide us through. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12: 9, ‘But (the Lord) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’

 

Meyerinks

L-R: Arwen, Ryder, Brendan, Carinne, Rory & Kian

 

Lastly, prayer! We know people are praying for us here in Australia and all around the world. We are so thankful to our sending church, Gateway Community Church for supporting us these last 5 years and encouraging us in our ministry. We are also partnered with four other churches who are passionate about mission and church planting, here and overseas. We are so grateful that God has surrounded us with faithful, prayerful partners who continue to pray for us, our church, for Ireland and for the world.

There is always a tendency in mission and church planting discussions to talk about our successes, i.e. how many souls have been won for Christ and just how well we are doing. But the truth is, our church plant is tiny and fragile; our friends in Ireland still seem so hard to the Gospel; raising support for our ministry in Ireland has been really difficult; and we seem to have nothing to boast about. But another great truth is that God uses us in our weakness and the power of Christ is resting upon us! Even through jars of clay like us, God is fulfilling His kingdom work in Ireland. He is compassionate towards our struggles. And He knows what He is doing. God is passionate about growing His Kingdom in the world, we can definitely boast about that!

If you would like to know more about our church planting ministry in Ireland, would like to receive ministry updates, or would like to become a financial partner, please email us at brenandcarinne@gmail.com

Brendan & Carinne Meyerink

Pentecost, Prayer and Planting

On Pentecost Sunday we remember that Christ sent his Spirit into the world to invigorate the mission and build His church. This Sunday we can be reminded that we serve a Lord who is busy redeeming the lost, conquering regions in the Kingdom that do not yet bow the knee and turning rebels into worshippers. This is therefore an appropriate Sunday to pause on the work of church planting. 

We celebrate the great work so many church planters and core teams are doing all over our country – building and expanding God’s Church by preaching the Gospel to the lost, perhaps in areas our current churches have not been able to reach.

We also celebrate church planters like Ben Murphy and his team at Wilson Christian Church who have become an officially instituted church earlier this year! Have a look at their video to hear their story.

This Sunday please pray for our church planters, their families and all the volunteers who gladly take up the mission into which the Holy Spirit is leading us.

KJ Tromp
CRCA Church Planting Taskforce

Catalyst June/July – Download now!

The latest edition of Catalyst is ready for download!

Click here to download the latest issue.

In this issue:

  • we hear the voices of three South African migrants sharing their stories and offering their advice on how to make the move to Australia
  • Zac Hicks, music pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church shares an excellent review of Hillsong’s latest album No Other Name. A must read!

This issue will be great reading for any church with South African attenders. It would also be good material to share in South African churches, and with anyone thinking of migrating. Share away, friends!

CRCA Catalyst June 2014 -p.1

 

Got feedback? Leave a comment on this post!

Grace and peace,

Dave Groenenboom
Editor
Pastor: Gateway Community Church

 

Gaining Traction

Hi Catalyst friends,

Just sharing with you some of our stats over the first two years of our life…

Catalyst stats 201405

6,000 views may not be such a huge number, but what’s interesting is where the traffic is coming from. By far the greatest number come from Australia, there are people from 45 or so other countries who are also interacting with Catalyst.

Thanks for your continued interest, and may our great and gracious God be honoured in your life, ministry and mission.

Dave

Catalyst March – Download Now

Catalyst March is ready for download!

Click here to get the latest issue.

This issue has some great input looking at aspects of pastoral care, church planting from the planting church’s point of view, with the other perspective coming from Pakenham Christian Community Church’s Sean de Kretser.

Crca catalyst march 2014 p1 lite

We also introduce the work on International Justice Mission, an inspirational evangelical mission doing a truly transformational work, soon launching their partner office in Australia.

My prayer is that the Lord will use this for your encouragement and to stimulate you to engage with his mission.

Finally, my apologies for the lateness of this issue. We encountered some technology woes at the end of last year when Apple radically changed their Pages software, dropping some 200 features, many of which were integral to Catalyst. Our work around involved accessing (with some difficulty) and installing the previous version of Pages. This put us so far behind at the end of the year we scrapped the November issue. Thankfully, we’re all back to together again. Once again, thanks for your patience.

Dave

File issues resolved

Hi everyone,

It seems that over the last few days there have been some issues with the June Catalyst file. Thanks to Rihet Oosthuizen for alerting us to the issue.

This has now repaired and everything seems to be working just fine!

You can download it here

Dave Groenenboom

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Barossa Valley Way,Lyndoch,Australia

How to stay up to date with Catalyst

I recently heard from someone who had visited a nearby CRCA church and had picked up a recent issue of Catalyst there. He wondered why he had not seen Catalyst at his own church, which also happened to be a CRCA congregation.

There may be a number of things happening here. Whatever the reason, here’s how we let people know about new issues and other Catalyst updates:

• An email is generated to all who have subscribed on the Catalyst blog.

• An email is sent through the CRCA email network (the ‘Bulletins’ list).

Catalyst’s Facebook page is updated

• A link is posted to Catalyst’s Twitter feed

This means several hundred people are contacted every time there’s a new issue or a blog update. Even so, some people still miss out. So, if you still don’t get Catalyst, what can you do?

1. You can subscribe to the blog. Just add your email address in the ‘Follow blog by email’ field in the lower right hand margin of the Catalyst website, and when the confirmation email comes through, click on the link, and you’re done. Easy.

2. Subscribe to Catalyst’s RSS feeds. You can do this by clicking on the Posts RSS icon (you will find these button in the top Right Hand corner of the blog window). This will update your RSS reader every time the blog is updated. Those who have an RSS Reader on their smartphone or tablet will also be able to follow the blog by adding feed://crcacatalyst.com/feed/ to their reader. If you also want to subscribe to any comments that are made on the blog, add feed://crcacatalyst.com/comments/feed/ to your reader

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3. Ask your Pastor or church admin person to circulate Catalyst around your congregation’s email network. We always let the CRCA ‘Bulletins’ list know when Catalyst has been updated, so if your church is part of the CRCA, your pastor and admin person will always receive this update. So, get on to them and ask them to circulate the emails when they come through

4. If you or your church family is not part of the CRCA, simply ask your Pastor or Admin person to subscribe to Catalyst’s blog, and then they can circulate the updates when they come through

5. If you or someone you know does not have email or access to a computer, you can just print off the hard copy once you have downloaded it. Catalyst is formatted for a standard A4 page, so it’s pretty easy to make this happen

6. If you are a Pastor or Church admin person, please do circulate Catalyst updates in your bulletins and enews networks. Let people know about the Catalyst web site: http://crcacatalyst.com

And if you have questions beyond these, please leave a comment or email.

Dave Groenenboom