Over the next several days I am part of a team serving a church planting project in Kinsale, Ireland. Kinsale is a small tourist town on the Southern coast of Ireland outside of Cork.
The groups of planters we are serving is a splendid core of Irish and a few “blow-ins” from the States. They are working tirelessly at building relationships that may one day form a church. And the thing that is challenging me is their patience in the process.
Most American church planters I know have an aggressive plan to build churches. They ramp up efforts to get to a Sunday gathering quickly and most are to that point within a year of planting (after all that is how we define success in church planting, by actually launching a church). Some may spend more time getting to know their new context but will still rapidly move to go public.
In Ireland, at least among Baptist planters, this might be 12 years of relationship building before a Sunday service starts. They are a patient people. In Kinsale the efforts are five years underway without a Sunday service as of yet.
This patience is definitely part o the context, it takes a long time to build trust in this culture, but I wonder how the American hurried perspective would actually harm church building efforts.
It is just the first thing I am noticing while on the ground here. I will attempt to keep sharing updates but I am not sure how often. I am not even sure I can find wifi to post this!
Expect further evaluation and processing when I return to the States.