We (Dervock Presbyterian Church) believe that God reveals Himself as a God who exists in eternal relationship (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and who desires a relationship with human beings who are made in His own image. The bible reveals God’s concern for the well being of all of creation from the very beginning. He saw that what He had made was ‘very good’ and He instructed Adam and Eve to take care of what had been made.
We believe that through the Fall, the relationships for which we were created have been broken. Humanity no longer exists in relationship with God. Human relationships are subject to conflict and pain. Humanities relationship with creation is the subject of God’s punishment.
We recognise in Scripture the story of God’s saving plan for a fallen world. We see how God weaves a message of hope and comfort for the whole world into the lives of His people in the Old Testament. We also see how God is bringing about His purpose in history as His people wait for His promises to be fulfilled.
In the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ we see the fulfilment of God’s plan. We learn from Jesus that our mission is to be marked by prayer, humility, respect for others and obedience to God as He instructs us through His word. As it did for Jesus, so for us, mission involves envisaging, equipping and engaging.
Jesus’ death and resurrection give us the assurance that ultimate salvation, hope and victory are found in Christ alone. He alone has the authority to send His church into the entire world to make disciples. It is on the authority of our risen Lord that we engage in mission today.
As we engage in mission we wait for the day when creation itself will be restored and relationships will be fully and finally renewed. As we wait we continue to be assured of our salvation through the love, peace, joy and hope that the Holy Spirit pours into our lives. It is the same love, joy, peace and hope that we want others to experience as we share Christ with them in word and deed.
Who are we?
Dervock Presbyterian (or Carncullagh as it is known locally) congregation is rightly proud of her heritage and history, as one of the oldest reformed congregations in Ireland and as the mother church of the presbytery of Route. Dervock could be described as the cradle for North Antrim Presbyterianism with her history dating back to 1646. Dervock Presbyterian is a rural congregation with a core of approximately 135 families situated 1/ 4 of a mile outside of the village of Dervock and 1.5 miles from the hamlet of Derrykeighan. However, we recognise that we have faithful congregants who travel from Ballymoney, Bushmills, Stranocum, Coleraine, Broughshane and other local areas to be part of our congregation.
What do we seek to be?
Dervock Presbyterian seeks to be a W.E.L.L. church by following Acts 2:42-47
‘They devoted themselves to the aspostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’
W- Worship- Looking up
Our worship is primarily saturated with the Bible, as it is God’s perfect and completed Word to us. Each Lord’s Day we meet together to worship God according to His Word. We read His Word, we sing from His Word, we pray from His Word, we listen to His Word being preached, we observe the sacraments we are commanded to from His Word, and in response to His Word we give our tithes and offerings. God tells us in His Word how He is to be worshipped and that is what we do when we meet at 12 noon each week. We want to be a community who come to God in God’s way and not in our own way.
E- Evangelism- Looking out
A.W. Pink once commented ‘If a church does not evangelise it will fossilize’. The church has an awesome message. The Good News of Jesus Christ should be on the lips of every Christian person. That is why we, as a church, support missionary organisations and that is why we encourage people to be involved in Outreach teams. We preach the Word of God to empower every Christian believer to go into their workplaces, families and social circles to tell people the Gospel message that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. That is why we have special missional focused services and organisations such as our Annual Holiday Bible Club.
Dervock Presbyterian Church seeks to look out into our village and surrounding area and to tell everyone we come across the Gospel message. To not tell others this Good News would be selfish.
L- Loving- Looking in
Church is a Covenant family. We should love each other and love spending time with one another. Our forefathers loved to sing Psalm 122 ‘I joyed when to the House of God, go up they said to me’. They loved to be in the place of worship together. As believers we meet together each Lord’s Day and at other activities during the week, because we love to have fellowship with one another. This means that we cast off all forms of animosity or hatred towards one another and we seek to be a united front for the gospel. No-one in our community should feel unloved or alone while Dervock Presbyterian exists. We would love to see you worshipping with us and enjoying the close fellowship which we enjoy together.
L- Learning- Looking down
We come to church to learn more about the unsearchable richness of Christ, that His Grace has no height, width or depth, and that His salvation is full and free to all who trust in His Grace alone by faith alone, in Christ alone. That is why we systematically preach and teach through the bible. 2nd Timothy 3:16 reminds us ‘all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness’. Through the preached Word of God, we pray that those outside of Christ will accept His offer of salvation and those who love Him will be built up in their most Holy faith. Each of us has a personal decision to make every week- do we put what we have heard into practice, or not! Through this, our prayer is that the Lord would add to our number daily those who are being saved and being glorified through our worship.
Our Current Ministries
We’ve identified that Mission is at the heart of the Gospel meaning it should be in the heart of every believer and in the heart of the church. In order to fully explore how Dervock Presbyterian Church can be more missional, it is important to look at all of the activities that go on in our church, and assess if they are missional, or how they can be improved and made more missional.
As a session we would expect our minister to be a committed Christian submitting to the Westminster Confession of Faith and conforming with the rules of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. As a session we firmly believe that the minister’s primary roles are in faithfully preaching the Gospel, carrying out the sacraments and pastoring the congregation. With a smaller congregation such as ours we believe the minister should be at most congregational activities as well as helping with the demands of administration. We believe that Sunday worship should try to be inclusive of all age groups within the congregation and that visitation in a pastoral role is of vital importance to the well being of the congregation as a whole. The minister should also take an active role within the community , taking part in community events as appropriate and be active within Presbytery, taking part in various committees and commissions as required.
All active members of the Kirk Session are regular at worship and the activities, organisations and ministries connected to our congregation. Due to the relationships some elders have built up with the families they visit they are often the first port of call for many in the congregation when they need pastoral support. The Kirk Session are currently happy with the families they have been allotted and new families who join the congregation are allocated an elder as soon as possible. All the elders try to visit their families on a regular basis paying particular attention to those under our pastoral care who are sick, in hospital, housebound, elderly or in any kind of trouble or distress. We try to encourage people to be regular in attendance and love to hear of good news and happy occasions enjoyed by our members.
Our Congregational Committee is made up of members of the Kirk Session and other elected members of our congregation. The committee have responsibility for the practical maintenance of the fixtures and fittings around our church premises. Every area, avenue and aspect of our church should be about the extension of God’s Kingdom. This includes our churches’ property and finances. Key personnel and sub-committees look after the practical aspects of our missional church effort, trying to involve as many different people as possible.
The Events Committee– formed to encourage more social and fellowship events within he congregation.
The Finance Committee– deals with the finer details of expenditure and funding.
Manse Grounds Committee– looks after the grounds, buildings and the manse.
Graveyards and Church Grounds Committee– deals with the setting of graves and maintaining graveyard grounds.
Wednesday Afternoon Fellowship Committee – deals with the programme for the Wednesday Afternoon Felowship.
All these committees have committed people doing great work, keeping the wheels of the church running smoothly.
Each week/month an announcement bulletin is produced to give information regarding services, preachers, organisations and special meetings including community events. For special events flyers are published and hand delivered to all houses in the village and further afield. All the local churches are informed including the Parish and Reformed church in Dervock. The church also has a web page and makes use of the community newsletter to advertise local community events. We also have a new audio visual system installed producing DVDs for the housebound or visitors.
Worship within the church would be regarded as normal and follows a traditional but flexible format. We have a good Sunday School which supports two Ugandan children but many children leave afterwards and go home without staying for church which is something we would like to address. There is Children’s church every Sunday where under 8’s are catered for during the sermon. The new AV system has enhanced worship. Occasionally members of the church take part in the service. We have a traditional church choir with many very faithful members who lead the worship each Lord’s Day. They also sing special pieces in four part harmony for Easter, Harvest and Carols by Candlelight. Our worship on Sundays consists of traditional and modern hymns and praise songs where we try to encourage participation by our young musicians.
There have been a number of Outreach initiatives aimed at the community as well as members of our own congregation. Over the last number of years there has been a Holiday Bible Club with 30-40 children from the village and church attending. A mini bus was hired to bring the children to the church hall.
As part of our Missional Outreach two of our members are actively involved in mission. Lynda McAuley is currently serving as a full time C.E.F. worker in County Mayo while Andrew McCaw is serving in Holywood as part of his training to be a Youth Worker.
An Ambassador’s football week is held in conjunction with the Reformed Church at the village football pitches. This has proved popular with up to sixty kids from the community attending.
A Christianity Explored course has been held in the new community hall, again a joint venture with the Reformed Church.
In the past our missionary outreach has been enhanced by missionary speakers coming to tell us about their organisations on a Sunday evening over a cup of tea and coffee. Attendance has been encouraging and we hope to restart this again when we have a new minister.
We also reach out to our community through the ‘Tuesday Tots’ and the ‘Wednesday Afternoon Fellowship’. These are relatively new ministries to us in Dervock and both have proved popular and successful.
Our ‘Wednesday Midweek’ meets for praise, bible study and prayer each week and has 15-20 regular attendees. The midweek is a way of empowering Christian people to look more clearly at God’s Word in order that we would live out our faith each day with our families, friends and neighbours.
Our ‘Presbyterian Women’ meet each month and follow a devotional programme organised by the committee. They are to the forefront when any catering is needed for church events, help to organise the dressing of the church for Harvest with the produce going to the local Food Bank. Flowers are also organised for each Sunday and displayed during worship. The P.W. continue to look at ways they can engage in mission, globally and locally.
If we want to continue to be a viable congregation of mission centred people it will be important that during the coming years more members of the congregation play their part. All of our organisations and plans may be frustrated if we just rely on a small number of overworked people.
God has given each one of us gifts and it is important that the right people are doing the right work. Perhaps you can help the session to implement all the plans and work for good and for God which could be achieved if we work together.
For the future of our church we need more people and young families to be involved in the weekly running of our organisations. We need people to understand that church is important not just for now but for eternity and for people to take the vows they have taken before God seriously. Our mission in the future is to have a programme of Spirit-led and Spirit filled activities to challenge and uplift both those inside and outside the church so that together we are enthused and strengthened in our faith so that many will come to saving faith in Jesus.