Previously I wrote a couple posts (part 1 | part 2) about what the process of us sensing God was calling us to Ireland looked like. I wanted to share a bit as far as what the need is, and why we believe God is calling us there.
The picture to the right was actually one I took in Northern Ireland, but what the image portrays, the church as a place for the elderly, is something we saw and heard a lot during our trip there.
I know numbers can make your eye’s glaze over, but think about this: Currently 86% of the Republic of Ireland is Roman Catholic. Which clearly is an amazing number. However, according to Irish Archbishop Diarmuid Martin only 18% actually attend mass regularly. To bring that number even more into focus, we’ve heard the number of people under age 40 is closer to 5%.
And in case you were wondering, the second most commonly listed faith in Ireland after Roman Catholic, is none.
Evangelicals? They are currently less than 1% of the population. Although there are over 4 million people living in Ireland, only around 30,000 are evangelical. You may have guessed this already, but less than 1% means that the Republic of Ireland has the lowest percentage of Evangelicals in English speaking countries.
As you’ve surely read, the past several years have brought to light story after story of abuse by church leaders. That has led to a vast majority of people in Ireland deciding that church, and Christianity have been tried, and they failed. In fact, a very quick way to end a conversation is to say you are hoping to start churches across the city of Dublin!
However, we believe that God loves the people of this city and wants them to experience his love and mercy and to be set free from the hurt and pain that has been done to them.
Please join us in praying for this city.