After serving traditional and nontraditional churches for four years in the city of Kilkenny, Ireland, in the areas of worship, pastoral ministry, and children/youth outreach, James and Rachel felt led in 2004, with a small group of people, to plant a church in the rural town of Portlaoise. With a population of nearly 20,000, the town had a few evangelical churches, and no real Irish or International spirit-filled church.
In 2009, on the tails of an intense building project for Portlaoise Family Worship Centre (now called Life Church), James and Rachel, tired but with a sense of completion began to wonder what God had for them next. The church in Portlaoise had established foundations with solid leadership, and with moving into its own building, the icing seemed to be on the cake for these pioneers. For over a year they wrestled with God as to whether they should hand over the church and move on to other fields or continue on as Senior Leaders. In the quiet stillness of God’s presence, over and over, they could not escape the fact that their work in Ireland and Europe still remained incomplete.
Laying down their ideas of how their dreams should be fulfilled, they pursued their relationship with God with fresh determination, longing to minister from a place of “rest” as opposed to “striving.”
In 2011, they took what felt like a giant step. They resigned from the missions organization that had sent them out and started Grassroots Church Planting Ministries, with the vision to support, impart, and multiply new church plants, primarily in unreached and difficult places in Europe.
Since 2011, James and Rachel, along with their three children, have made several trips to minister in both Poland and Norway.
In September 2012, they launched a second church plant in the town of Carlow, Ireland, and oversaw it as a campus of Life Church Portlaoise.
In September 2013, Grassroots Church Planting Ministries, entered into a relational accountability with DOVE International. In 2016, after much deliberation and prayer, James and Rachel felt it was time to hand over Portlaoise and Carlow to local leadership, in the pursuit of something new. They continue to support and encourage those works, understanding that they needed to transition into developing Grassroots, particularly in three main areas:
- Training Leaders
- Church Planting
- Creating a Church Planting Movement of Churches sharing in Values, Vision, Resources, and Accountability to see the Kingdom of God increase in a way that is reaching the lost and discipling followers of Jesus.
Grassroots Church Planting Ministries is a registered non-profit organization within the United States and is made up of a Board with experience in Pastoral Ministry, Administration, and Foreign Missions.