Andrew has been the Community Outreach Worker at Second Dromara Presbyterian Church since August 2014. Having joined Dublin City Mission in September 1999, he served in the housing estates of Crumlin and Drimnagh for 13 years. Andrew, along with his wife Jennifer and their two children, returned to Northern Ireland in 2012.
From 2012 to 2014 Andrew worked part-time as an outreach worker with Newington Presbyterian Church in North Belfast,where he also had the opportunity to study part-time with Cornhill Belfast.
Moving to the rural environment of Dromara, Andrew works alongside Rev. Kenny Hanna to reach out to that community with the news of the Gospel. Dromara is a rural village that has seen considerable changes over the last ten years, with new housing developments meaning many new families in the village.The challenge then is for the church to impact this changing community for Christ.
An ongoing project for Andrew is to encourage and equip the Christians in Second Dromara so that they can reach out to their family, friends and neighbours. One way in which this is happening is through the parents and toddlers group; these families feeling at home in the church space has led to parents opening up and sharing their struggles. Within this caring atmosphere the Good News is being shared.
Other outreach opportunities have included a four-week evangelistic course, a 'dads and lads' night with Coaching for Christ and a Harry Ferguson themed evening. In this way, Andrew can go beyond the the connections the church already has and develop more gospel opportunities.
Take the risk and go deeper
As a community outreach worker in Dromara, I’ve gotten to know lots of people. When I say, I know lots of people, I mean I know their name or I recognize their face. But do I really know them? Do I know their hopes and fears? Do I know how they answer the big questions of life? We all tend towards being superficial, but we were created for deep relationships (with our Creator and with others). Within this fallen world our tendency towards being shallow impacts our outreach and discipleship.
I’ve come to realise that if we are to really have an impact upon our world, we need to go deeper with people. We need to capitalise on the trust we have built up with others. We need to take the risk by asking and answering questions in a way that reveals more about Jesus Christ. We need to push further and pray for the miraculous.
Here are a few ways we are trying to do this Second Dromara:
Man-school – Going deeper than football.
This is a new initiative for us, where we invite teenage lads aged 14 to 16 whom we see during the week to meet with us once a month. During these monthly evenings, they are taught a new skill by a Christian man who will then share some of his own story. This will continue through the summer, ending with a camping trip. Numbers are small, but our focus is on depth not width.
Thirty-day Mark Challenge – Going deeper on the doorsteps.
We haven’t yet completed this project, but already many copies of Mark’s gospels have been taken. We heard of one young man coming to faith in Christ, largely through a man who was prepared to offer him friendship and then a copy of Mark’s gospel. On another occasion a man asked, “Are you saved?” What an opening! This conversation continues every time we meet. Here was someone who didn’t want to paddle in the shallow, but wanted to swim in the deep.
Life Explored – Going deeper outside the building.
We have taken this seven-week course to the café in the village. Life Explored takes us deeper. It probes the heart, revealing to us where our hope really lies and pointing us to Jesus Christ. Again, numbers are small, but we are using a tape measure, not a click counter, to measure its usefulness.
One-to-one Bible reading – Going deeper with discipleship.
It’s a privilege (and a foretaste of heaven) to spend time with a fellow believer and delve into God’s Word, seeking to apply it to our lives. These times are a real antidote to the shallowness of our lives.
God’s Word reminds us we are made for more. We are created for deep relationships. When we go deeper, wonderful conversations happen and lives are challenged and changed, including our own. Go on, take the risk.
- Please pray for us in Second Dromara as we seek to develop relationships with each other and those in the community – deep relationships that centre on Jesus Christ.
- Pray for Rev. Kenny Hanna and the elders as they seek to lead the church to live for Jesus every day.
- Praise God that my contract has been extended for another three years. Pray that my wife Jennifer and I will use this extra time wisely.
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