The church began formally on February 16th 1988 with 8 charter members. Of course this was the result of much preceding work by Gods’ Holy Spirit on a number of individuals and families.
In the mid 1970’s home bible studies were established by 2 Baptist families from Northern Ireland who were involved in secular work in the area; firstly the Nesbitts, and later the Allens, opened their homes and their hearts to the people of the Dundalk area. From this an informal Fellowship grew up. Eventually both Northern families moved away and the remaining group was entirely indigenous to the area.
Over a period of 5 years the group was influenced by many of the then current trends in Christianity- including the Charismatic movement. This led to a parting of the ways and the non Charismatic folks formed what in 1988 became Dundalk Baptist Church. The church was indebted at this time to the Newry Baptist Church and its then Pastor, David McMillan. David and the church in Newry helped with teaching and encouragement as we went through this process.
In 1990 the church purchased what is now its home. The “Railway Hall” in Ardee Terrace, Dundalk, as it is locally known came on the market for the sum of IR£ 85,000.00. Although the church had barely IR£1,500.00 to hand we felt it was the place God wanted for us. So, in faith we entered negotiations with the vendors. When we needed to pay the 10% deposit we had exactly IR£8,500.00 to hand! God was keeping us closely dependent on Him! We eventually moved into the building in September 1991 and have been meeting there since then. Our numbers have gradually grown to 30 members.
We have been blessed with developing contacts with other Baptist Churches both in our own Association in Ireland and also overseas. The church was blessed with the ministry of Bro. Clark Lowery from Mississippi from 1991 to 1994. Clark Sheila, Sarah and Zach worked with the church after we moved into our building . Coming from a mature background their experience was invaluable to the church and the pastor in particular. Killicomaine Evangelical Church and Pastor Norman Barr have always been real friends and a blessing from the Lord – as have the folk at Stonepark Baptist, their Pastor Harry Dowds and the men who have come to preach. The church has also benefited from the wider ministry of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London through its literature and the Summer Schools of Theology in particular. Many other individuals and churches too numerous to mention have been used by God to be a blessing to us.
In 1992 we first met Jeff & Jean Whitfield from Texas who worked with us on a 2 year assignment. Jeff began the Counselling ministry of the Church – Dundalk Christian Counselling Centre. Jeff, Jean Peter and Grace are now located in Dundalk and from the Church here Jeff exercises his ministry to the Missionaries of the SBC in Western Europe. We have been greatly blessed by the encouragement of their home Church -Travis Avenue in Forth Worth Texas and their pastor Michael Dean in particular.
3 years ago the church formally adopted, as its basis of Faith, the Baptist Confession of 1689. This has given a grounding of stability and also a range of deep fellowship with other churches that hold to the Confession both here and abroad. The church has been visited and ministered to by 2 brothers from the Unites States who are pastors of sister Confessional Churches- Dr Mike Renihan from Worcester Massachusetts, and Pastor Fred Pugh from Cleveland Ohio.
As we face the future we look to what God wants to do with us. We can see some of the patterns but not all the picture! Recently God has opened up opportunity in the Muirhevnamore area and Clontygora Court in particular. We have been enabled to have a monthly Gospel Outreach Meeting there as well as distributing literature. He has also grown a work among children and young people- including winning the gradual respect of the parents. Slowly we trust that He will open up hearts there and in many other areas of this Community where He has privileged us to be allowed to serve Him.