This week – part four of the ‘meet a church planter’ series – takes us to the South West of Ireland and County Kerry where Shaun and Tania Abrahams from South Africa are leading a church planting team in Killorglin, not far from Tralee. I first met Shaun through the graduate programme at the Irish Baptist College (Shaun has just successfully completed his MA). He and Tania have been believers since 1990 – both coming to faith shortly before they got married. They have two daughters who are both important members of the church planting team in County Kerry.
Tell us about your sense of call and vision for this new work
After being involved in church planting in Cape Town, the Lord miraculously opened a door in January 2005 for us to come to Ireland as tent making missionaries at Tralee Baptist Church. In 2008 we were accepted into UFM Worldwide as missionaries.
We are leading a church planting team made up of our family and another local Irish family. Our team was commissioned from Tralee Baptist Church on 19th February 2012 to plant a church in Killorglin, County Kerry. This town is strategically positioned on the Iveragh Peninsula and on the Ring of Kerry.
We have a vision for the development of a sustainable church planting movement in County Kerry, Ireland. Our commitment in particular is to strategically plant indigenous, self-replicating local churches that uphold the centrality of Scripture in Christian life and growth and are dedicated to: evangelism, the discipling of believers, the development of competent leadership and the support of missions. We believe in the responsibility of the local church to equip men and women for different areas of ministry. Our church’s philosophy and methodology of Christian education is based on a mentoring, vocational style of ministry training.
Tell us about your church – where is it, when did it start, how is it going
Killorglin Baptist Church is just over two years old. Presently, we meet in an old Methodist Chapel on Market Street on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings. Last year, on 23rd February [NB – on just about the first anniversary of the commissioning of the team], Liam O’ Keefe trusted Christ as his personal Saviour from sin. We were also privileged to baptise two young ladies Agatha and Shannon, in the summer of 2014. The little church plant is developing an honourable reputation in the town and presently we have 21 attending.
What are some of your hopes for the church in 2015?
In 2015 we want to focus on strengthening our core ministry team. Secondly, we aim to communicate the long term vision of the church planting team to the small group that the Lord is calling together at KBC. Thirdly, we are praying for opportunities for outreach and evangelism. Fourthly, we want to communicate to our small group how important our ongoing discipleship, edification and learning about God is for both personal worship and for the corporate worship of our church. Lastly, we are praying that God will send us a young family to join us in the work here in Killorglin.
How would you like to be able to relate to other, more established churches in your community?
We believe the need for a church planting culture in Kerry is paramount to the longevity and future of the existing church in Kerry. We hope to be able to work alongside the few existing like-minded churches in Kerry in the areas of outreach, church planting and training. To achieve all these objectives we believe that establishing and maintaining a spirit of unity and peace between these church groups is important, and must be a goal, in and of itself.
Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Thanks to Shaun for sharing about his work. You can read about KBC on their website.
Check out the previous interviews in the series:
Next week we will be back north of the border with John Ervine and Cornerstone, Rathfriland.