Eddie Spence is a Community Outreach Worker/Evangelist in Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church in North/West Belfast.
Eddie preaches in services in Ballygomartin PC when needed and attends their schools prayer programme every Wednesday morning with other members of the congregation. He initiated ‘Adopt a Child for Prayer Programme’ within the congregation.
Eddie is also a talented musician and has performed in concert with his nine-piece band; performing charity shows at Christmas times for example.
Tuesday’s coffee shop in the church is well established. With the vision of one of the ladies who attends they now have a knitting group. These activities offer opportunities for Eddie and others to build relationships.
Eddie has a good working relationship with Farset International Hostel, with the staff and management. This is an important contact as the folks who work there come from the community. On virtually every occasion he has Bible or gospel conversations, most of these are initiated by the staff because of their mutual trust and warm relationship. As a result of his work in Farset he has been able to establish a House group/Bible study group in Highfield housing estate.
August - September 2016
When I began working with Ballygomartin Presbyterian Church as their evangelist I wrote an article for Connect. Back then I had hit the ground running in my work, to make inroads and build bridges between church and community, community and church. I told the story of eating an apple while driving my car when I suddenly sneezed. A sneeze so powerful that it launched my apple like an Exocet missile from the bowels of a battleship. The immense power of that sneeze sent the apple into every nuke of the front of the car. At this point I pondered my evangelism and I felt I was to go out in power, to hit every corner of the community and sort out any chaos that may result. After that initial ‘explosive power’ I settled down to a slower pace. Slowly getting more involved with folks that I had met, slowly sharing the gospel and slowly getting to understand who they were and where they were at, what they believed and why. The good news is that we have had new members joining the congregation and others attending regularly, this after years of relationship building at a slow, methodical pace.
I continue to develop my relationships within the local community with the support of the minister Rev. Brian McMillen and session. I have now established two Bible study groups in the community and I very much appreciate those who have facilitated them in their homes. Brian and I share every other mid-week meeting and I do pastoral work as needed. Farset International Hotel has been a marvellous opportunity to speak into situations. The group who gather with Jackie the Director of the hotel and I have themselves named our little group ‘Fellowship at Farset on Fridays’. This may seem an insignificant thing but that is far from the case. The staff at the hotel converse with the group, with Ruth the Manager interacting very positively both verbally and practically.
Ballygomartin congregation has a team spirit not before witnessed by me in the first two years of my time here. It is wonderful to see God moving in people within the congregation helping them to learn, grow, and reach out. This year has been one of continuous building, creating, teaching, regenerating and renewing. God has been helping those of us within the church to build each other up in the faith, love, fellowship and discipleship. We have been encouraging each other to use spiritual gifts and natural talents for service. Outside of the congregation I am also seeing positive effects, as an evangelist people are now more than passing acquaintances to me. I work hard at challenging perceptions and conversation that is unbiblical, while at the same time offering alternatives through the gospel to a newer, richer, fuller outlook on life both temporal and eternal. God in His mercy continues to endure with me in my faltering attempts to serve. Thank you for your prayers.
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