In the 1970s the RPCI was challenged to think of starting new centres of witness. Three members of the Dromara congregation, with a vision for Lisburn, requested the Eastern Presbytery to consider a Covenanting witness in the town. The Presbytery responded positively and the witness was established when a Bible study was held in the home of elder Robert Buchanan.
A Committee of Presbytery was appointed in February 1979 to investigate the possibility of developing a Covenanting witness in Lisburn. It reported on 29th March that twenty-three members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, who lived in the Lisburn area, would support this work. Others, outside the denomination, also showed an interest.
The work commenced with a series of well-attended, evening meetings from 2nd-16th September 1979, conducted by Professor Adam Loughridge and Rev. Drew Gregg. The theme for the week was: ‘The Kingship of Christ’.
Events moved quickly. Sabbath morning and evening Worship services, a Sabbath School and a midweek Bible study began soon after.
Under the care and direction of a Committee of Presbytery, a Call was made out to Rev Robert McCollum, minister of Ballylaggan RPC to be the Organising Pastor. He accepted the Call and was Commissioned to the work on 23rd January 1982.
The congregation was organised on 13th October 1982. (with 25 adults and 10 children). In March 1983, Robert Buchanan and John Somerville were installed as the first elders. Additional elders were later appointed: Thomas Dobson, Mervyn Green (1988), David Currie, Marcus McCollum and William Simpson (1997), Joe Watson (2011), Gregg Somerville (2017).
In June 1985 the congregation called Professor McCollum’s to be their minister, his role as organising pastor having been fulfilled.
For the first three years the Lisburn Covenanters met in a rented hall in the centre of Lisburn, but by 1983, having paid £24,000 for the manse and having a surplus of £10,500 in their building fund, they purchased a disused Church of Ireland building for £35,000. The work of renovation, extension and furnishing, was completed in time for the official opening on 20th April 1985. The Lisburn Reformed Presbyterian meeting house is situated on the Nettlehill Road on the northern side of the town. A new hall was added to the rear of the meeting house in 2006. The church car park was developed and tarmaced in 2010.
In 2011 a ministry began among people who were caught up with various addictions and other needs. This is a weekly ministry and goes under the name of the ‘Upper Room’. Blessing has been experienced from this ministry and in recent years 2 people have been converted, baptised and brought into the membership of the congregation. Others have been helped. In many ways this work continues to bear fruit.
In 2013 Prof Robert McCollum and Rev Andrew Kerr (Knockbracken) were appointed by Presbytery to follow up requests from Cookstown to begin a Reformed Presbyterian work in the town A weekly Bible Study was established in March 2013. Evening services commenced in November 2013. Regular morning and evening worship services began in January 2014. The Lisburn session was appointed as Interim Session. Prof McCollum preached one Sabbath in the month and pulpit supplies were arranged for the other weeks. Paul Wright, a licentiate of the Eastern Presbytery, was appointed organising pastor in January 2015 with Lisburn Session continuing to provide oversight.
The Lisburn congregation is located in an area which is growing rapidly, with many new housing estates being developed. This provides numerous opportunities for outreach.
In 2018 the membership of the congregation consists of 64 communicant members and 15 covenant children. There is an average attendance at morning worship of 73 and 51 at evening worship.
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory; for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1