Ten years ago, no one was actively working to establish a church in Trim, Co. Meath. Today, Living Hope Church has a regular attendance of 40 adults and 20 children. Where did this church come from?
In 2007, six people began meeting in Ciarán and June Loughran’s living room in Trim for fellowship, Bible study and prayer. We (the Loughrans) had attended Grace Baptist Church, Dublin for a number of years and we began this outreach with their blessing. After meeting for 18 months in a house, we moved to a hotel. Three years later, we moved to our own rented building, where we have been for over three and a half years. Having our own building has made us highly visible in this small rural town, no doubt raising a few eyebrows.
Currently, we have a Bible class, taught every fortnight and three home Bible study groups. Outreach continues all year-round, with seasonal events, literature drops, evangelistic children's ministry and special talks, with a gospel witness.
Many in our fellowship had been travelling long distances to attend churches in Drogheda and Dublin. Others have come to a totally new understanding of Jesus and have been born again by God's grace. It has taken time but a solid core group has formed - people who don't just visit the church but who view it as their home. Broken together, we remind each other of our Saviour who was broken for us, so we could be freed, fed and formed to be more like him.
We have tried to build favour in the town, as the early church did in Acts. One report of the church in Acts says, ‘None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem’
(Acts 5:13). ‘The people’ were not those in the church but in the world. They could see God was among them.
By God's grace, we have built a good reputation, through continually building relationships. Many are glad to have an 'alternative' church to go to, even if they dare not join us just yet.
We hope to establish a network of Bible study groups, in the surrounding areas, which, in time, will become self-governing churches. We are excited about the prospect of seeing a church-planting ministry grow in this area.
(Living Hope joined the Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland in May 2015)