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Mission to Macroom, Cork, Ireland


Introduction: Macroom is an Irish market town in located in a valley on the River Sullane, a tributary of the River Lee. It is situated about half way between Cork and Killarney, it one of the key gateways to the tourist region of West Cork.  The town has a population of approximately 4,000 souls. Macroom, like hundreds of other towns, began as a primitive settlement on the banks of a river, In this case the Sullane.

Historical Background: It should be noted that the area was an important centre of “pre-Christian” and “post-Christian” worship.  Very slowly over the centuries the power of the druids waned and Roman Catholicism took over.

The Castle in Macroom was built in the 12th century area grew outwards from the castle. Macroom progressed slowly from a ragged settlement of mud cabins in the middle ages to a more structured and organised environment. The McCarthy family grew to be one of the dominant clans. Landlords developed land, roads and buildings; they modernized farming; they provided employment for crafts people, carpenters, masons, tailors, shoemakers, coopers, tanners, nailers and blacksmiths. The unskilled and the landless who drifted in from the countryside were poor and were most vulnerable when the Famine struck during the 1840’s. A workhouse opened in 1843 at a cost of £6,800. It was built for 600 people but held an overcrowded 2,124 in 1851. If, as evidence suggest, 1,000,000 died of hunger and disease between 1845 and 1851, it means that 456 souls perished every day for six years. By about 1900 another million had emigrated.

Then social and economic divide changed after the Famine. Surprisingly, perhaps, the Protestant population declined. They migrated, emigrated and married outsiders. Many Catholics who survived the Famine moved into town and through education, hard work found work or became established in business. Gradually reconstruction and renewal took place. The first train arrived in Macroom on May 12th 1866. About 80,000 travelled to and from Cork in the first six months.  Goods, especially cattle, could be transported quickly and easily.

In the early years of the 20th century the old, established order was disintegrating across Europe and Macroom was no exception. The Land War and the decline of landlordism, WW1 and 1916, The War of Independence and the Civil War contributed to this. Macroom continued to be significant market town but traditional trades and crafts declined.  The town failed to attract much industry until the 1960’s when factories such as The Carpet Factory, Wessman Toys (1971), Tape Factory (1971), Cake Decorations (1970), and Paper Sacks (1975) were established.

My own take!

Today Macroom for the most part is just like most of Ireland’s smaller towns in that it just keeps its head above water. The people are clannish and for most part Catholic in religion. To summarize Macroom in one word it would be LOST; hopelessly and utterly lost. As barren as the street is in this picture so is the heart and soul of the people of Macroom. Day after day they go about their life with no knowledge that there is a God in heaven that wants to have a personal relationship with them. God loves the people of Macroom with the same love that He loved me. There must be a man who will stand in this gap to provide the people of Macroom with the Bible knowledge of true salvation. They need to hear the words of life from the Saviour Who has purchased eternal life for all who will come to Him. John 6:37 “…and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

How is it done? – Matt.28:19, 20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

            The Bible gives a clear command to all Christians to go into “…all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 The Lord is calling forth labourers into His harvest Matt.9:38 The lack of evangelism is not the world’s problem but the church’s. We as His people have got to answer the call to go even if it is just our own Jerusalem. Three distinct parts of the Great Commission (Command) tells us what to do! They are Evangelize, Baptize and Teach. The Bible does not tell us things to do and then cast aside as we will. Our obligation yes, our duty is to obey. At least one reason the world is not evangelized is because of the disobedience of God’s people. Christians are to be Christians in word and deed. Why do we not apply the clear illustration of James 2:14-17 to the command and will of God to go into the all the world with the gospel. Does not our obedience to this command show our true faith in God. Not by words spoken but by obedience to His will. I ask how is world evangelism undertaken and most especially to the town of Macroom? Obedience!

Evangelism  Someone must go with the gospel on their lips and a burden in their heart! Macroom needs the lifesaving gospel of Jesus Christ. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can change their desperate need into the “abundant life” God wants to give them. There needs to be a physical presence that brings the message to these people. They must see the caring and loving heart of a true Christian living their life before them. Paul and his band of evangelists went from city to city seeking people to preach to and tell the story of Jesus Christ. No different today in the town of Macroom. The greatest need is Jesus Christ and the abundant life He can give.

            The people of Macroom are no different than anyone of us before we got saved. They are living in darkness, blindness and fear of death. Look at…  Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. And also… Heb.2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

             The fruit of evangelism releases people from the fear of death and the bondage of sin. It makes them free John 8:32. Our role is to take the message of the Bible to people who do not know the Bible. They do not read the Bible nor are encouraged to in their dark Catholic religion. They need light and understanding from a child of God who is called and burdened and even trained. Evangelism is the heart of God but also is the product of salvation and discipleship to another lost sinner like you and I. This is our responsibility and mandate to GO! Every day, week and year that goes by and we ignore the clear will of God and shun our God given duty we get closer to a reckoning day. We will answer for our lack of labour in His fields.

Baptizing – Why is getting people baptized after they get saved so necessary and important? They have already chosen Jesus Christ instead of their past religion; but now they are openly professing that choice. This is a big step for any new Christian. It was back in the days of the early church and so it is today as any Catholic would tell you that has gotten saved and now is considering believers baptism. This step to be baptized is a huge step of obedience in their young Christian’s life. It shows a fresh and living faith as they trust the Lord and the pastor to openly baptize them in a local river. What a statement is made when a new believer steps into the waters of baptism. The community i.e. Family, friends, shop keepers and local parish priest will wonder what in the world have you done. They may ostracize that new believer and even openly show their anger toward them because to them this “born again” believer has left the faith, turned their backs on everyone. The new believer who goes through the waters of baptism (for the most part) is serious about their new faith in Jesus Christ.

            Baptism is a wonderful tool given to the local church and its pastor to structure the local church the way God intended. Baptism is necessary also for the believer to show their obedience and faith in Jesus Christ and precludes their entrance into the New Testament local church. The pastor can make as sure as possible the true heart and intent of this new believer to follow God’s word and the authority God has placed there – the Pastor. Baptism is the first great stepping stones of obedience to a lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ. The Lord placed it high on the list of things that a new believer should follow as a beginning to a life of following Jesus Christ as laid out in the Holy Bible.

Discipleship – If the evangelism of a new area is the heart of the ministry, and baptism an integral part of the development, than discipleship is the backbone of the ministry. Without teaching these new believers you might as well leave them to fend for themselves. I equate the lack of teaching of new believers to leaving a new born baby on a door step to care for itself. This part of building a church in an area is vital for this local body of believers to last. The Lord said in Matt. 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you...” If a fledging church plant is to survive it will be accomplished by teaching these new converts what the Bible teaches about God, Jesus Christ, redemption, The Bible itself, the church, fellowship, prayer, and being a witness themselves. There is so much more to learn but the point is that it MUST be done. Real growth in a church will be seen as the people grow in their own personal walk with the Lord and begin a lifetime of following and serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

            2Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

            This verse alone shows us the continuity that is to be seen in the church. The Pastor teaches and preaches the Bible and faithful men rise up and teach other faithful men who commit that same doctrine to others also. On and on it goes until the Rapture of the Bride of Christ, His Body, all believers to be with Him in Heaven.

Our Responsibility / My Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the local church to train men and women to listen for and obey the call of God on their life. The responsibility on the mission field is for the missionary / church planter to start new works and organize that local body and pastor them until such time an indigenous man is raised up to pastor those people. Really the missionary should always have ‘Go’ as his goal. What we fault sometimes our fellow preachers and pastors in our local sending church or from the countries we leave behind, we also could fall into, and that is getting comfortable where we are. To truly carry out the missionary / church starter plan that is illustrated in the Bible. We would have to constantly be re – evaluating what we are doing and to what end. If God says stay, STAY! If God says go, GO! The only real requirement is what God is calling the person to do. God will never tell you to do something outside of His word. The Holy Spirit never contradicts the Bible He Himself Authored.

When any of us step back and take time to evaluate what the will of the Lord is we must respond to it. God’s plans never contradict each other. He never makes mistakes but has a plan and purpose to everything He does.

I wish to finish this paper on the one area of church planting that seems almost non – existent, and that is teamwork. All through the Gospels and the book of Acts we find missionary teams; men and women working together to propagate the good news that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. Many a man has ventured out alone with wife and family in tow and with the greatest of intentions failed in that he had to leave that field or work because of numerous reasons. The few I would submit to you is lack of on the field training, no fellowship, and discouragement with no one there with him to encourage him. I see teams moving about, preaching, serving, in the Book of Acts. Jesus sent out teams. Paul, Barnabus, Silas and a host of others planted churches, together. Yes, they had different roles but the key was they partnered together to do the work of church planting.

May each of us have a heart to serve the Lord together as God calls and equips. Let us never forget the words of the Lord Jesus Christ…         Matthew 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This is God’s church and it must be done His way.                                             Respectfully Submitted – Dan Eberly


Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

Family Photos

Co-Laborers Together
Daniel & Katherine Eberly

Dripsey Cork, Ireland

E-mail: eberlydc@juno.com

Sending Church

First Baptist Church of Southard
Pastor William Gaul
31 Hilltop Rd
Howell, NJ 07731


Support Information

Word for the World Baptist Ministries
PO Box 849 Rossville, GA 30741
(706) 866-8826