Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors, Preaching, Sermon Illustrations, Uncategorized

The Missional St. Patrick

A few months ago, I wrote a paper on the life and ministry of St. Patrick. I find him to be an inspiration and a model of missional church in 21st century America.

It is useful to learn about St. Patrick’s life and ministry for sermon illustrations or as a model for your church’s mission efforts. Patrick is one of the most innovative and perpetually relevant models for church planting and monastic communities.

The bibliography includes a great little book by George Hunter III entitled The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West… Again.

Download my paper St Patrick.


Patrick’s calling came to him through roundabout and potentially devastating circumstances. When Patrick was 16 years of age, Irish marauders invaded his village in Britain, and Patrick was abducted and taken to Ireland to serve as a slave.[1] Separated from his family, he tended sheep alone underneath the stars, surrounded by the Irish countryside for several years. According to Patrick, at this time of his life, he did not know God and was rebellious.[2]

Patrick was born into a family of church leaders around A.D. 389, as his father was a deacon, and his grandfather served as a priest in the Celtic Church in a time that most priests were married.[3] Britain had been a Roman province for over 300 years, and Christianity had been spread to British Isles primarily through Roman soldiers and missions efforts.[4]

The time spent in the Irish countryside deeply affected Patrick. He experienced what he later referred to as God’s revelation of Himself though nature, and Patrick was converted during his enslavement.[5] Amazingly, in his Confession, Patrick regards his captivity as God’s chastening of him and praises God for God’s grace.[6]

[1] Philip Freeman, St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), 18.

[2] Hopkin, Alannah. The Living Legend of St. Patrick. (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1989) 163.

[3] Tucker, Ruth A. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1983) 38.

[4] (Tucker 1983, 38)

[5] (Hopkin 1989, 163)

[6] (Hopkin 1989, 163)

Also see “Introducing the Missional Church Review”.


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