Gareth is the Community Outreach Worker in Ballyloughan Presbyterian Church in Ballymena. He started the post in September 2011 and the main aim of his role is to build up a connection with the church and its parish area, namely the Dunclug area.
As a community contact, Gareth spends a substantial amount of time doing door-to-door work and visitation. The church runs a cafe drop in morning and an informal bible study called Discover.
Gareth is also involved in different youth and children’s ministries, running a club for local school children aged P4-P7 on a Tuesday afternoon and a youth club for teenagers on a Thursday night. He is also involved in running special events such as Christianity Explored and big community outreach events over the summer.
In any form of ministry, God’s faithfulness is a constant source of strength. Even though the seasons come and go, our circumstances may change and we can even be fickle at times, it is always great to remember that “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end”. It is great to look back and see the faithfulness of God and know that it is His steadfastness that will carry us into whatever the new season holds.
We had a busy 'connect' season during the months of May and June, running a series of evangelistic events with a strong invitational emphasis. We had a Walk for Life programme for ladies of all ages and stages to come along and enjoy the summer nights with others. We also had a special Euros night for men, with different football themed activities and an opportunity to watch the opening match on the big screen. This season concluded with our Family Zone event; a day of all kinds of team challenges, from nerf targets to mobility scooter races.
The event finished with a barbecue and a performance from renowned singer-songwriter and children’s entertainer, Randall Goodgame. We were so encouraged by the times of fun that were shared at these events, and by the new faces who were introduced to the church and the gospel.
Spark 2016 took place at the end of July, with over 300 young people involved in practical works of love across Ballymena and beyond. We had a team of just under 40 young people in the Dunclug area involved in gardening and clean-ups, running a kids’ club and just being out and about chatting to folks in the estate. It was wonderful to see God at work in and through the volunteers as they sought to serve others.
The theme that we as a congregation are adopting over the next year is 'Courageous'. We are seeking to be courageous in our walk with Him and in sharing our faith with others. There are several specific ways we are seeking to be courageous in the coming year.
- The first is through starting up a community lunch in the local community centre in partnership with other churches. Through this, we hope to offer good meals and build strong relationships with those who live in the community around the church.
- The second is by running an Alpha course in place of our mid-week programme in the new year. We are seeking to be courageous in inviting those in our everyday circumstances to come along and look at some of the big questions of faith.
Please pray for the vision, planning and start up of these two initiatives, that through both we would have opportunities to share the love of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Pray that God would take our small efforts and use them to draw people to Him. And pray that in all things, God would get the glory.
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