One year on from the beginning of my time with CityChurch Dublin & it has been an eye opening year to say the least; A 22 year old guy leaving Bible College, thinking he knew so much about ministry and all that it would entail and everything the world would throw at him – HE DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE!
I was never expecting what I encountered, a fairly turbulent year of ministry for City Church Dublin, that I got swept up in as their apprentice; learning to swim is definitely necessary when you find yourself in the deep end. Shortly after I arrived at City, Mark (Lead Pastor) wrote a blog entitled “Welcome to the frontline, now go and die”. This blog post was highlighting the season of difficulty that had been prevalent for many involved in ministry in Dublin, hard pastoral ground, sickness, mental health issues, discouragement & bereavement. But God does not leave us, and that’s what gives us the hope to endure these things.
With all of that going on in the background and the forefront of our ministry, this has truly been one of the most exciting and enriching years of my life. I have met so many wonderful people that I call family; we say hellos and goodbyes all the time, but there is an intense cultivation of gospel centred community blossoming out of City Church Dublin that creates such a care and concern for the physical and spiritual well-being of the individuals and families that God sends our way; that has been amazing to be a part of.
Leaving a well established, fairly large, church in Northern Ireland, and entering into a young church plant in the centre of Dublin, was refreshing and frightening at the same time; I had been born into a church community that I then grew up with this community supporting and loving me. It was safe and comfortable and I really enjoyed the opportunities that God had given me to serve.
Now I was leaving the security of everything I had known and entering into the unknown, to work with 3 people I didn’t know beyond a few Skype sessions and an interview, to be in a position of responsibility for certain aspects of ministry in this new church. This is what was refreshing and exciting at the same time; having to be more intentional every single Sunday to greet the new people that entered our doors, to be loving through the week as I met with people, to be transparent and vulnerable and to never know how many people would show up on a Sunday morning, to face the frustrations that would accompany my new position, but to grow, to love and be loved, to cultivate community, to move beyond being people who meet every week, to being a group of people who genuinely care for one another. That has happened and is still happening.
I am forever grateful for the support that I receive; people reading my newsletters, people praying in response, the financial support of my home church and from others who have blessed me financially along the way. Your contribution has been very much appreciated and never goes unnoticed. I thank God for you all.
So what’s next?
I start a 3 year, part-time Masters this September, focussing on Church Planting. This is in association with Oak Hill Theological College & Acts 29 (a global church planting network). What started out as a staff team of 2 pastors and 2 apprentices has dramatically decreased to Mark and myself. Kieron, has just left City Church to Pastor Immanuel Church Dublin and to manage Irish Church Missions, as they seek to find a full time superintendent.
This increases my responsibilities, with more preaching and greater attention to one-to-one ministry. Focussing more on our student demographic, as well as all of the other roles that my apprenticeship involves. Mark & I will be attending a SOMA conference in October that focusses on Missional/Gospel Communities and how that looks elsewhere in Europe and we hope to learn how we can do this better.
Our first sermon series this year is entitled “Gospel DNA” – Spending some time looking at the basics and fundamentals of being a gospel centred church; this will be our launchpad and hopefully a catalyst for the intention we have in cultivating a greater desire to be a community that is missional and gospel focused in every area of our lives.
It will be ever-changing, as I have found ministry to be, and it will be challenging, but it is much more rewarding as we see people journey with God and become more like Jesus as they invest their lives in his Gospel and to be a part of the local church in the centre of Dublin.
New intake of students for this academic year; that we will be a welcoming place to worship and a place where they know they will be loved and able to grow in their faith; that they will have a family here in Dublin.
Beginning my Masters; that I will be able to efficiently balance my time between my studies, sermon preparation, and all the other duties that I have in my work with City Church.
Missional Communities; as we meet every week to study God’s word and to grow together, that we will be a community that isn’t exclusively for the church, but a place where everyone, from all walks of life will feel welcome and loved.
Praise God for his provision, his sufficiency and his strength to persevere in this Gospel work in Ireland’s capital city.
Pray for opportunities to develop one-to-one ministries, with believers, and also with people who don’t know the Lord, but would be willing to take a look at Christianity and to study God’s Word.
Thank you for reading, thank you for praying and thank you for all your support over the past year and the support that I know I can rely on as I continue in my ministry here in Dublin.