BMW missionaries began church planting in Ireland in the mid 1970's. Two works were begun in the towns of Tralee and Killarney, located in County Kerry in the southwest of the country of Ireland. With the addition of more missionary personnel, a third work was begun in the city of Limerick, County Limerick, in the late 1990's. At the present time BMW personnel are working in Tralee, Limerick and evangelistic efforts in the smaller towns and villages in County Kerry. The work in Ireland is slow going, but there is progress.
The work in Tralee has been underway since the mid 1970's when the first missionary church planters under BMW (then WEF Ministries) arrived. Those early days were bleak and the work developed very slowly. Over the years since then, the work has grown slowly, but steadily. At the present time there are two couples with BMW working in Tralee along with a South African family which make up the church planting team. The heart of this ministry is discipleship, involving evangelism, establishing redemptive relationships, teaching and leadership development.
The church planting work is nearing completion and, Lord willing, in the next 4 to 5 years the church will have qualified, trained local leadership. Two Irish men are presently in training as leaders, both of whom have a strong desire to teach and preach God's Word and shepherd God's people. The church planting model or method being used in this work is a pastoral approach. We have a need of two additional missionary couples (committed to a long-term ministry) to join the team as we begin the search for the next location to begin a new church planting project.
The work in Limerick started in 1999 when two couples arrived in the city to begin a new church plant. The work started out very slowly but when several Irish men came to faith they had a zeal to tell their friends and family. From the small Bible study group a Sunday morning assembly developed. When the Crosses left for their furlough, the small group of believers were able the merge with another independent church that was just starting.
Since returning to the field the Crosses have focused on small group Bible studies for evangelism and discipling new believers. Patrick has four small groups that meet during the week with the goal of bring these small independent studies together to form a local church. Tracy is continuing to build strong relationships with women in the neighborhood which is vital for us to be credible in our community.
We have a growing fellowship in Castleisland that is committed to the New Testament model for church practice and a weekly Bible study with folks who are searching for Biblical truth.
PLANS AND NEEDS
We certainly could use three more dedicated families who are willing to help us establish more contacts in the three cities where we are working. Short-term missionaries and tentmakers are also welcome!
For more information about BMW's ministries in Ireland and how God might use you to help the effort, contact Dale Fries, BMW's Area Director for Europe.