Rev Stephen McNie is settling into the pulpit at Muckamore Presbyterian Church in Antrim following his installation last month.
Stephen, (35), arrived there from Ballyalbany & Glennan Presbyterian Churches in the Monaghan Presbytery where he had ministered since 2014.
Joining Stephen in his new ‘charge’ are his wife, Sarah, a native of Monaghan and their delightful little daughter, Beth who will be two years old in October.
For most of his life, Stephen was raised in Ballymoney with his parents and older brother.
His father, Ian, was in the Presbyterian ministry, having served in Trinity Presbyterian, where the future minister experienced a warm and living testimony of the gospel through Sunday School, Youth Fellowship, midweeks, and Holiday Bible Clubs.
Certainly, Stephen is quick to acknowledge the blessings that came from being raised in a ‘Christ-centred home.
He said: “My parents displayed a living-faith in Jesus Christ, which shaped not only their ministry but their own lives, friendships, and outlook on life. It was clear that Jesus was welcome to direct their entire lives, and it was at the age of seven that I came to see my need of a Saviour.
“It was following a service of worship in Ballymoney that a visiting preacher explained the way of salvation and I knew that God’s Spirit was speaking to me, so that afternoon I sought the Lord, asking Him to take away my sin and to come into my life.”
“From a young age, I knew that Jesus did not die to make us good, but to make us His own by taking our sin, and as the years went on, I came to a fuller understanding how, in faith, we receive Christ’s perfection due to His perfect life and atoning death”, continued Stephen.
Originally, Stephen aspired to become a schoolteacher after finishing university. but the Lord had other plans.
Looking back, Stephen recalls: “I sensed God’s call into ministry from the age of 14, yet I suppressed that call as I did not want to become a minister! Having been raised in the home of a minister and I got to see what that life was like from behind closed doors, I thought to myself, “Who would want to be a minister?” Obviously, the encouragements and blessings far outweigh the challenges, yet as a young man watching my father, at times I chose to witness the latter.”
“However, as time went on, it was through the reading and teaching of God’s Word, the encouragement of mature Christ-followers and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, I answered God’s call at the beginning of my final year of my undergraduate degree. It was at that time I began to enter into the application process of ministry training – fully believing that the door would be closed to me due to my age.
“During that time, the Lord was confirming that sense of call, which was realised when I was accepted to enter into the Presbyterian College in 2009.”
Stephen served as Assistant Minister at Killead & Loanends Presbyterian Churches before moving to Monaghan.
His first impressions of Muckamore have been entirely favourable:
“It is clear to me that anyone who walks through our doors will experience a genuine welcome and would be made to feel ‘at home’ instantly. From my first interactions, it is clear that the leadership (the elders) are united in purpose, and this excites me for the future in working & serving alongside them.”
A keen musician, vinyl record collector and paddle-boarder, Stephen is excited about the future in his new home.
Muckamore’s new Minister concluded by saying:
“Ultimately, I would seek that as a church we would be able to build real and lasting relationships. Relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save that which is lost. Relationship with God’s Word, the Bible, so that people can understand and apply God’s word into their everyday lives. Relationship with God’s Family, so that people will experience compassionate care and love through our words and actions. Relationship with God’s Majesty, so that when we gather for worship, people will experience the power and presence of God. Relationship with God’s Mission, as we want to train and equip Christ-followers for leadership within our fellowship and to send people out into the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. As a church, they strive to be Christ-centred, Bible-based and Spirit dependent who are committed to a whole-life and disciple-making Christianity.”
Find out more about the life of Muckamore Presbyterian Church on their website.