OUR STORY

Ireland is a needy country: less than 1% evangelical, many towns without gospel churches. But God is at work: in the last 25 years our network alone has planted 8 new churches in our region. Castlebar is in Co. Mayo (West of Ireland) – around 20,000 live nearby. Our church began meeting in 2013 and we have been reaching out via public events and personal evangelism; and building up via Sunday teaching, bible studies, and creative children’s teaching.

WHAT GOD IS DOING

Our outreach is starting to bear fruit: we have seen 5-6 people profess faith in recent years. In the last year we have also seen new people engage with weekly meetings and one-to-one Bible studies. When gathered in person, around 35 adults and children meet together each week. We are committed to leadership training and currently have two students on Crosslands Seminary.

OUR PLANS FOR GROWTH
Due to this growth our current building is too small. We are looking to purchase a permanent base for outreach, worship, community, and training in coming years. Our budget is 350,000 euro and we are hoping to move in during 2022.

Since moving into our current premises just off the main street of Castlebar, we have experienced numerous benefits. People in the town are able to place us, and casual enquirers have popped in off the street at times. It has been easy to host extra events such as outreach talks, kids’ bible clubs, training seminars, Christian workers’ gatherings, etc. We have also installed a library of Christian books used by those in training.

We are blessed to have a regular attendance of over 30 adults and children. There is a warm family atmosphere, with people hanging around to chat over a cup of tea. Before COVID, we enjoyed regular meals together after church. However, with the addition of new regular attenders, space has become an issue – it is challenging to run kids activities on Sunday mornings.

OUR CORE VALUES

GOSPEL the good news of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone

BIBLE the unchanging and ever-relevant word of God

CHURCH a warm, loving community united in the Holy Spirit

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Ephesians 4:16 NIV

WHY A BIGGER BUILDING?

Quite simply, extra space will allow us to continue growing. Even before social distancing we had difficulty fitting regulars in, and we were extremely limited in welcoming visitors to special events (e.g., carol services and holiday bible clubs). The last year has seen a steady trickle of new enquirers; we hope they will become regulars. Our goal is a building with space to seat 80 regularly and 100 for special events. We aim to provide facilities for children’s activities, creche, conferences of various sizes, with suitable catering facilities for refreshments and meals.

Castlebar is ideally suited to act as a hub for churches in the West of Ireland. We are part of the Calvary Mission network comprising eight regional churches. Galway, Sligo, and Roscommon are also within 80 minutes’ drive. Connections between churches are vital in this pioneer setting, and a larger building would enable us to build on our past experience hosting training and networking events.

WHY BUY?

We have been renting for over 4 years now. The rent on our current premises consumes nearly all of the giving by members of the church. If we can raise the one-off funds for this purchase, future church giving can be used to move towards self-sufficiency e.g., in funding staff salaries.

COVID has underlined that churches are about people, not buildings. However, establishing a permanent base in the community emphasises our commitment to Castlebar and helps locals to recognise us as a place that welcomes those with questions about God.



PRACTICALITIES


It is a challenging time to undertake a project such as this, however current conditions mean that suitable buildings are available. We have set the following criteria for a permanent premises:

  • Within walking distance of town centre, with good visibility to encourage visitors

  • Total budget including purchase and fit-out of €350,000

  • Floor area of at least 3000 sq. ft. (current building is 900)

  • Fitted out to a high standard to facilitate meetings, kids' work, hospitality, etc.

Having located potential properties meeting these criteria, we are now raising funds. We hope to fund this project through internal fundraising, external grants, and low-interest loans.

We would welcome any support, large or small. Prayer support will be vital – even if you can’t donate, please sign up to our prayer emails and pray for us! We are working towards a move-in date of 2022, allowing for fund-raising, purchase, and fit-out.

Stephen Childs
Pastor