The church planting story of Ireland begins long ago, the 5th Century AD to be precise. It begins with a man whose name is now synonymous with these lands and it’s people across the globe; Patrick.
St. Patrick developed a movement of church planting churches that where culturally rich and as missionally edgy as they come. Rooted in orthodox faith, with Christ at their core they modelled warmth and hospitality to what was known then as a barbaric society. They had naturally supernatural mindsets, Patrick’s model was to move into communities, living with tribes not trying to “civilise” them before telling them about and introducing them to Jesus. His strategy of “caught more than taught” was incredibly effective and revolutionary in terms of missionary practice at the time. The “celtic model” advanced the Kingdom in a new and fresh way without watering down the orthodox faith and teachings of the Church.
George Hunter III in his book The Celtic Way of Evangelism (2nd revised edition 2010), notes the impact of Patrick and his followers on the people of Ireland.
By AD 432 there was no indigenous Irish Christian movement, Patrick and and his team over the next three decades baptised many thousands, probably tens of thousands. There is reference mostly by name to at least 55 churches that Patrick planted in the province of Connacht alone! An ancient document known as “Annals of the Four Masters” reports Patrick’s mission mission planted around 700 churches and ordained around 1000 priests.
We in the Vineyard Movement recognise and are hugely honoured that in the 21st Century we get to participate what is an incredible spiritual heritage in church planting across these lands. Our approach to mission and church planting mirrors that of Patrick; we seek to plant churches that are indigenous to their particular locality which seek to bless and connect deeply with the communities that exist there, we seek to live naturally supernatural lives and model a “caught more than taught” approach to discipleship.