A note from the editor: The following article is part of a Gutenberg College initiative involving six sophomore students who researched and wrote on Serge’s work around the world.
Bruce Alwood, Regional Supervisor with Serge Ireland and co-director of the Irish Prayer Summit, is helping to facilitate gospel-centered renewal and transformation in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland across many streams of Christian traditions (Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland, Baptist, Independent, and Catholic). And he and his mission teams need more help—in the form of prayer and people.
Bruce and those with whom he serves decided that one of the best ways to share their passion and vision for this mission in Ireland would be to invite people to join in a week-long Prayer Summit that will take place this summer from July 22 to 29.
Bruce and the Serge Ireland teams hope to share the context in which Irish pastors and Christian leaders serve as they plant new churches and seek revitalization for existing churches.
Participants will pray—a lot!—with Irish pastors and leaders and learn more of the needs and vision for the growth of the Irish Church. They will witness the relationships to which the Serge Ireland staff are dedicated, as God uses them as willing instruments of His grace for the catalytic encouragement of Irish leaders.
The Prayer Summit will be based in Greystones, Ireland, located 25 miles south of Dublin. During the Summit, Serge Ireland hopes to take a team of 20 participants to a wide range of Irish church plants and missional ministries, exposing them to a number of communities, where they will talk with the local pastors, hear stories, and discover the work of God in Ireland.
Many Irish already have firm views on the church and religion. Since 2011, the number of Irish who affiliate as ‘without religion’ has increased by 76 percent (according to The Irish Times). The long history of Christian tradition means that Serge Ireland works among people with very fixed views about Christianity. Without a clean slate, Serge Ireland works to witness to the truth of the gospel and looks to the Holy Spirit to illuminate people’s understanding of who God is. Complicating their task, the Irish face few physical needs. This relative affluence, can lead to a sense of self-sufficiency which makes Ireland a very hard place to see spiritual fruit.
To serve in this context, Serge staff integrate themselves into the community through joining local sports clubs, book clubs, school parents clubs, and spending time at local meeting places. It is in these settings that real friendships develop and barriers come down to hearing the good news of the gospel.
Over the years, the team in Ireland has learned the value and fruit of loving people and building a bond with them instead of going in with a “fix it” mentality in addressing the spiritual needs of the Irish people.
Bruce said, “It’s about putting yourself in the community as a minority and learning their ways.” For Bruce and his wife Kathy this has led to the joy that the Lord has given them genuine friendships with many Irish people who care about them and view them as an important part of their community.
Come and see this beautiful work grow at the 2017 Irish Prayer Summit! Learn more here or email Brad Wallace, Serge Short-Term Team Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org).