This is a guest post from one of our church planting partners, Mark Smith from Dublin, Ireland.
Sitting on the western edge of Europe you’d be forgiven for overlooking Ireland as a mission field. It’s the land of St. Patrick after all! And yet, with an evangelical Christian population of less than 1%, Ireland is the least evangelized English speaking country in the world .
Dublin has a population of 600,000. The river Liffey runs through the heart of the city, dividing it into Northside and Southside. While the south of the city has traditionally been better served with gospel-centered churches, the north side has one church for every 40,000 people. There are many reasons for this. A couple include: the influence of the Catholic church (though largely evaporated) or the fact that the Protestant Reformation simply did not find fertile soil there.
Today Dublin is a progressive city with 41.5% of the population claiming to have no religious affiliation. Dubliners (or Dubs) are increasingly secular and see any claim to authority as a power grab. Like most Irish folk, rebellion is in their blood. Speaking of the gospel, which calls rebels to lay down arms, presents a daunting task.
City Church Dublin is a 3 year old church plant on the north side of the city. We began with 20 adults at Christmas 2014 and now have about 60 folks on a Sunday morning. In addition to our weekly gathering we meet through the week in community groups and this last September we were excited to launch our third group in the west of the City (in addition to groups in the North and South). Dublin is a college and tech town with people coming from all over the world to work or to study. City Church reflects this diversity with at least a dozen different nationalities on a Sunday morning. This also means that we tend to have a young and transient congregation who we get to bless, equip and engage on mission before sending them out all over the world.
We would love you to pray for us on a number of fronts:
First, that the Lord would provide us with a new home for City Church.
We got word a month ago that our lease would not be renewed at the end of the year. At the moment there are no clear options for us to pursue so please pray for wisdom and the Lord’s provision.
Second, for our friends to come to know Jesus.
A year ago we took the decision that the first thing we would do when we met in community group would be to talk about conversations we were having with friends and colleagues who didn’t know Jesus and to pray into those relationships. Over the last year we have seen the Lord do amazing things and it has instilled a zeal for evangelism
Third, for the provision of a church planting resident.
In Europe it takes on average 8 years for a church plant to become self sustaining. However, we do not want to wait that long until we seek to plant again. We want to keep mission and church planting at the forefront of who we are and so we are prayerfully seeking a resident to join us who will plant between 2020 and 2022. Please pray for the right family to come on board with us and for the necessary financial.
Finally thank you all for your continued support and prayer. Thank you to the elders for prioritizing mission outside of the US and for allowing Robie and Jonathan to visit us in June. It was more of a blessing to us than I can say.
Mark and Philippa Smith are our partners in Dublin, Ireland. They met at seminary in London and have been married for just over 3 years. They have a 20 month old daughter named Isla.