“Exciting because the mission of God is always advancing and as followers of Jesus we want nothing more than go with Him! Challenging because the culture of the island God calls us to share Jesus with is increasingly secular, material, diverse and complex. Our Church has given CMI the role of listening to God as we ask Him how we can encourage, identify, nurture and provide wise strategic direction and support in all-age mission in Ireland”.
The role of the Council is diverse and includes overseeing the great variety of work in Home Mission and Irish Mission. The Council also oversees and supports the men and women working in the healthcare, prison, armed forces and university chaplaincies across Ireland.
In addition, CMI has the role of considering new church development, church planting and the oversight of three special PCI projects: The International Meeting Point, Nightlight and Friendship House – providing support and strategic direction. PCI’s 23 Deaconesses, 6 Irish Mission Workers and 6 Community Outreach Workers are also an important part of its responsibilities.
“PCI supports Home and Urban Mission congregations because we are Presbyterian. This means we draw alongside congregations which may be smaller, new or emerging to bring the encouragement, nurture and strength of our denomination”, Stephen said.
“PCI generally offer support for Home and Urban Mission congregations by two means. We offer a “Presence” to support and assist the leaders of congregations to think carefully and plan strategically concerning their mission and ministry; and we can also offer “Personnel” such as Home Mission Ministers.”
The annual information evenings are an opportunity to hear first hand what the Council for Mission in Ireland does. They also provide an opportunity for members of PCI congregations to get a ‘snap-shot’ of Mission work in Ireland, where the guest speakers are gifted specialists in mission who have stories to tell of God at work.
"Mission in Ireland evenings motivate, educate and encourage us in our service for the Lord. Many leave the events inspired by the stories told and carry the ideas heard back to their own congregations," Stephen said.
Tom Dowling, who will speak at the second Mission in Ireland evening in Muckamore Presbyterian on Sunday, 13th March, has served as an Irish Mission Worker since 2006. He is attached to Kilkenny Presbyterian Church, where he assists Rev. Daniel Reyes Martin. Tom’s work involves sharing the gospel about Jesus Christ in many different contexts; door-to-door visitation; Christianity Explored courses; home Bible studies; one-to-one Bible studies; children’s Bible club; and street outreach, largely among young people.
“An Irish mission worker is someone who has been called by God to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We work alongside ministers and congregations to reach out to those in our communities”, Tom said.
Rev. Daniel Reyes Martin reiterates the key role that Tom plays in the life of Kilkenny Presbyterian Church.
“With our church members being from six different counties, pastoral work and visitation becomes demanding, particularly with the amount of travelling required. But with Tom in charge of the evangelistic areas of our ministry, this allows me more time to devote to pastoral care”, Daniel said.
Andrew Dawson, one of the six Community Outreach Workers supported by CMI, works alongside Second Dromara Presbyterian Church in Co. Down. He had the opportunity to speak at the first Mission in Ireland evening of the year, held at Downshire Road Presbyterian on 1st March.
“For me personally, the Lord’s great command to go into all the world and make disciples still stands. Under God, Dromara and the surrounding area is the part of the world where He has placed Jennifer, my wife and myself. We are grateful for this role and to be able to work alongside the congregation allows us to be involved in this great task.
“I am grateful for the grants that CMI give to provide part of my support as a Community Outreach Worker. Not only that, I am thankful for the prayer support that is co-ordinated through CMI. For that reason, to be able to speak at a Mission in Ireland evening is a delight. I know there are many people prayerfully and practically providing for the work of Community Outreach Workers. The evening gave me the opportunity to thank them for their unseen but vital involvement.”
“Through these evenings, the church and community can see the people behind that face on a poster, or prayer report, and the advantage of this is that prayer can then be more specific and the challenges more understandable”, Andrew said.
One congregation that began as a church plant and is now a full PCI congregation is Donabate in Co. Dublin. Rev. Andy Carroll was a part of the Donabate church plant from the beginning in 2010, and remains its minister. He will be speaking on 17th April in Ballyclare Presbyterian Church.
“The then Board of Mission in Ireland, CMI’s predecessor, was involved in the very early stages of Donabate, talking through plans with the leadership of Howth and Malahide Church as they sought God's leading for a possible church plant in Donabate”, Andy said.
“Offering insight, leadership and support to us all in Donabate. We continue to get advice and help from CMI, in particular as we transition from new church to a church with its own local leadership that retains its missional heart.
“We thank God for how He's used the structures and the island-wide people of PCI to see a new church planted and take root in a town where there hasn't ever been a Bible-teaching church. We have felt and experienced the benefits of this connectedness in so many ways”, Andy said.
There are still six Mission in Ireland evenings to take place – for more information visit the events page