18 for 2018 [looking forward]

On a road trip when I was home for Christmas I happened upon this podcast called Happier. I liked the concept of the word happier…like you do not have to be the happiest but moving towards happier is a healthy way to look at our lives. So I listened to a couple episodes and they caught my attention with this challenge to create a “to do” list of 18 things for 2018 that would make you happier. You know it’s like setting resolutions but instead of a list of things you feel like you have to do this would be a list of things you’d want to do. So I sat down and created my list and thought I’d share it with you! Here goes…

6 new things
6 random acts of kindness
5 year NYC anniversary (done)
Long Day (this is a day of fun on summer solace I created last year)
2018 miles (run, walk, or bike)
#SistaVacay10
2015-2016 photo book (I’m a bit behind)
A Christy/Jesus retreat
Take a writing seminar (Should I write a book??)
Take a cooking class (Scheduled for April)
Finish my LIC restaurant list (I want to eat at every restaurant in my neighborhood, I have about 15 more to go)
Disneyworld (with Misty’s family next month)
Frozen on Broadway
Win 2 diet bets/fitness competition (one almost finished)
Do 18 random generous things (2 down 16 to go)
One distant friend call a month
Treat yo’self once a month
Read Bonhoeffer biography (This one may talk all year!)

I tried to make the list a little ministry and a little personal. I cannot wait to see how they all turn out. The ones I have accomplished already have been a blessing. Here’s to making 2018 a little happier!

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17 for 2017 [a review]

Let’s wrap up 2017 with one of my favorite things: a LIST! I love making list because, well honestly, they are easy to read! As I was listening to a podcast the other day, I was challenged to choose 18 things to do in 2018 to bring a little more happiness to my life. That got me to thinking back on this year and I wanted to share with you my top 17 moments of the year 2017.

These are in no particular order and may exclude some important moments but its the list I can think of on December 31, 2017.

  1. Seeing my friends Tara and Leslie baptized and listening to them share about their faith and how our New City Church family has become home to them.
  2. Traveling to Greece and Egypt with some great friends to celebrate the wonderful Christy Hill’s 40th birthday.
  3. Thanksgiving this year was such a blessing. I loved serving with New City folks at a local homeless residence and then spending the rest of the day with my fantastic friends eating some delicious food.
  4. Spending quality time with old friends in Owensboro, KY.
  5. Training other missionaries in partnership development.
  6. Seeing the Great Pyramids in Egypt.
  7. Michael and Shannon Hill moving to NYC. This family has been a great addition to my life and our ministry. And their two adorable girls are a big part of that!
  8. Flying over Greenland and seeing some of the most amazing white scenery I’ve ever seen.
  9. Walking through a difficult journey with a friend. I know this doesn’t sound like a great moment, but we are made for relationships and in the tears and heartache for this friend, I’m becoming a better me and God is using our friendship for His purposes.
  10. Will and Molly visiting NYC (there were some other cool visitors but these were my favorite).
  11. 1st Annual NYC Long Day. Although a lot of it was rained out I love starting traditions and look forward to making this a part of my summer each year.
  12. Celebrating 10 years of friendship with my Nashville friends.
  13. Closing out 5 years in NYC!
  14. VIP tickets to a Yankees game!
  15. Ringing in the new year in Times Square, something I had been trying to do since 2000.
  16. Coaching missionaries serving in NYC.
  17. And last and probably most impactful…being constantly surrounded by amazing people that push me to be the best version of me and love me even when I fail at it!

Watch for next month’s blog post where I share my 18 for 2018!

A picture is worth a 1000 words…

Ok so maybe not a 1000 words because you don’t read blogs for a thousand words but apparently this is just what you say when you think a picture summarizes an experience more than your actual words can! So here’s a bunch of pictures to update you my life and ministry!

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In September Send NYC hosted a vision tour. Here Josh Edney, a team member, from the Bridge Church talks with the participants about the work God is doing through their church and the potential they have to move into this building in Flatbush.

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Recently, I started working with Steve Kersh at the national office to lead other missionaries in Ministry Partnership Development training and coaching. This is from a seminar we did earlier this month through BLVD at NAMB. I’m excited to help other leaders grow in their knowledge and understanding of partnership development.

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Long Island City continues to grow and expand. This is looking down Jackson Ave where it meets 50th Ave.  The Citi Bank Building is getting a lot of company in the sky.

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Recently we had 26 people sign up to serve through one of our New City Church ministry teams! This was a great Sunday to mobilize our church family to be on mission with us!

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View from One World Observatory! You can see LIC to the far upper right.

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Grateful for times when friends and ministry partners get to visit me! This is my friend Brandi who I had the privilege of sharing life with when I lived in Nashville.

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The Hills’ newest addition is adding some fun variety to my life. Here she is rocking it during worship yesterday. 

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In September I was blessed to share at a women’s conference through NY WMU. It was great to share what God is doing through my ministry with women who love and support missions.

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Ellis with his friend Macy. He continues to give me opportunities to meet people and have conversations. It helps that he is the world’s friendliest dog. He even hung out at the carnival with us and helped lead the costume parade.

Continue to pray for the work of New City and other church plants in New York! God is doing great work and I’m very thankful to play a small part in it.

Buzzfeed is my life.

Not like “its my life… I can’t live without it” but more like “its my life…literally I could have written this article”. Most of the buzzfeed staff live in cities like NYC so much of what they write about is relatable so when I saw this post today, I couldn’t help but think you guys might enjoy reading it and then seeing how this list has played out in my life.

So click the article and read:

19 Bizarre Things about NYC Apartments most Americans will never get

Now here are 9 ways I can totally relate:

  1. I have paid a brokers fee to rent an apartment…something I only thought was possible when you buy real estate.
  2. I’ve lived in a three bedroom 1 bathroom apartment with 4 girls.
  3. Tiny bedroom been there.
  4.  No closet, yep! I pulled out some pinterest skills to create hanging space.
  5. I have had all the laundry options: no laundry at all, laundry in the building, and laundry in unit… I prefer no laundry at all b.c its actually easier (and surprisingly affordable) to pay someone else to do it.
  6. #12 pretty much my exact kitchen in my first place, I had a sofa table I used for counter space.
  7. I’ve used a lot of duct table and screws to get my AC units into windows.
  8. #18 I literally spent a whole winter with my windows opened all the time! And the noises radiators make are creepy!
  9. Thankfully the NYC apartment search for me has been over for a while and there is nothing nightmarish about where I live now! But to all my homies still living in the chaos I haven’t forgotten you or where I came from!

**this article failed to mention bugs, crazy neighbors, weed, and times where you find fecal matter on your door step/street and I am sure the list could go on and on.

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I once lived in mission team housing had to put this sign up to protect my life and property

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And I used the bunk bed to create a tv stand

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One half of my first real apartment

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the other half of that apartment

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And most of the time the post office is real stellar.

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And I had a mission team walk stuff 3 blocks to a new apartment b.c it wouldnt all fit in a van.

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but when you have views like this who’s complaining!

 

being the best team player [8 tips] 

Each of us serve on a team of people doing something, whether its a ministry team, a work team, or our family. This is probably not the first team you have served on and it certainly won’t be the last. Last year I was asked to teach on team work and I put together a list of 7 things that make working with a team better! I updated it recently and added the 8th element (after reading an incredible book on team) and thought I would share these tips with you guys!

  1. Every team member is valuable: Each person on your team has unique gifts, ideas, and talents! Respect each other, acknowledge those values and live in them! Assume the best of your team members not the worst. We all come at our team with different baggage, when we assume the best in each other we are letting them dictate our perspective of them rather than our past experiences.
  2. Motivate each other: As we spend a lot of our week with our team, we must be a motivation for each other in our work. Some days you need the motivation and some days you will be the motivation but good teams motivate each other to do the work.
  3. Encourage each other: One of my favorite things about working with a team is being encouraged and being encouraging. God created us to be in relationship and a large part of working together is pushing each other to be better, to overcome weakness, and to grow.
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate: In all of my experience and research I have learned this is the most important part of relationships with others. A couple tips for good communications is to over communicate-if you think you have said it enough say it one more time; be clear and concise when you speak; and listen-a huge part of communicating is listening to what others are saying to you; and lastly studies show that informal meetings and light conversation is one of the most healthy ways to build team unity.
  5. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow: One person doesn’t always take the lead. Even if you aren’t a “leader” there are times you will be leading your team. When you lead, lead well and when you follow follow well.
  6. Wherever you are from, whatever your gifts or abilities you belong: Each of you come from different families, groups of friends, life experiences. Learning these things about each other will help you be a more effective team.
  7. Be People Smart: Being people smart seems like a no brainer but its more difficult than it seems. It takes a level of selflessness that is hard to find sometimes. It’s knowing how to read people, how to react to people and genuinely caring about how people feel and respond.
  8. Speak to one another with grace and kindness: Ok well this one is a no brainer.  You will be a much better (and more liked) team member if you learn to interact with others with grace and kindness. This doesn’t mean avoiding conflict or disagreements but it does mean talking those things out with the right attitude.

Hopefully this list was a motivation for you in an area that needs improvement as well as an encouragement for you in an area you already excel in!

What are some other characteristics of a good team player you’ve observed? Share them in the comments below.

3 factors

When you think New York City what are the first thoughts that enter your mind? Take a moment to think about it… I’ll wait…

I bet you thought about bright lights, Broadway, public transportation, Times Square, the Empire State Building, crime, people (lots of people), food, and fashion. Did you think about diversity? Did you think about change? Did you think about small town feels? With over 22 million people living in the metro area, anything you think about probably fits the bill. The complexity and power of this city has been impacting culture around the world for hundreds of years. Imagine the reality and potential implications of church planting here given these three factors:

1. Diversity has long been a story of this great city. Currently 38% of its population is foreign born and over half of our Send NYC church plants operate in a primary language other than English. The diversity of our new churches reflects well the diversity of our complex city and we thank God for bringing us planters from around the world.

2. NYC is perpetually in a state of flux. The ebb and flow of people, industry, and lifestyle keep people on their toes. What’s in one month is out the next. Church plants are constantly adapting to the changes in the city and their context.

3. One of the biggest surprises about New York is its small-town feel. With 360 unique neighborhoods spanning the 5 boroughs of the city, many places have that charm of small town life. Business owners know the locals, parks are meeting places for friends and family, and a walk down the street elicits a warm hello to neighbors you see on a regular basis.  Of the 360 unique neighborhoods in NYC only about 90 have an SBC church in them.  There is a big gap between where evangelical churches currently exist and where we need church plants. Each neighborhood has a unique identity and church plants of every variety are needed to reach the vast diversity of life in NYC.

Send NYC church plants are working hard among these three factors to see a movement of God! While ministry results here are sometimes hard to quantify, individual life change is not. Church planters are seeing people come to know Christ and they are seeing life change happen. We rejoice in the Lord where we see people being baptized,  changing the way they live, and growing in an understanding of discipleship! While the work isn’t done and there is still a long way to go, God is at work in this city!

A Quick Update

I try really hard to keep you guys updated on my ministry but some months are harder than others. This month has been particular hard. I generally struggle with this the most when ministry is really busy or I’m facing some sort of life crisis and this month has been a little bit of both so its been hard to think how to best update you.

So I’m going to give you a fast update with a list.

  • I had a great time a couple weeks ago with a team from APSU BCM in TN. I was so thankful to have them share in our ministry at NCC as well as other plants around the city. I love working with college students and their campus director is a personal friend of mine, so it was a lot of fun.
  • Life at New City is an absolute blast, relationships are continuing to build and life change is happening in many ways.
  • We have enjoyed the addition of the Hill family over the last few months, not only at our church but in our friendships as well. Shannon and I have become great friends and I love exploring the city with her and introducing her to some of my favorite places while trying new ones as well.
  • At the end of April I helped lead a training for missionaries serving through NAMB’s MSC program. This is the fundraising/partnership development process that NAMB missionaries go through and I’m excited to continue to help missionaries raise support for their ministries.
  • My sister and niece Molly came to visit last weekend and it was a fantastic time! Seeing NY through a kids eyes is hilarious and exhausting all at the same time. Molly went home and told her teacher she got her nails done at a salon in NYC. The teacher clarified with Misty that she in fact did. Molly had a blast and I loved every minute of it.
  • Last week I was in TN. I originally planned to be home for the weekend for my nephews high school graduation but made the trip a bit longer to see my friend and former intern, Sabrina Thompson, as she is dealing with some health stuff. It was good to be there with her and pray for her and her surgeon before she had surgery.
  • My nephews graduation was a lot of fun, its weird to think he no longer has to go to high school. We had a great celebration with family!
  • We are just weeks away from our GenSend students arriving as well as our New City interns. It will be a jammed packed summer of interns and ministry. I am really looking forward to it and have spent a good deal of the month prepping for GenSend team. I will be leading that group this summer but still interact with the New City team.
  • Lastly, Wednesday I leave for vacation. I look forward to a time of rest, relaxation and exploring another part of our globe and seeing another culture. I value vacation and time away and I am thankful for the sell of my condo last fall to make this trip possible!

A couple things you can be praying for! Pray for my friend Sabrina as she continues to deal with this unexpected health issue. Pray for my nephew as he embarks on adulthood and that he would let God lead him. Pray for my vacation that it will be a restful, refreshing time! And lastly pray for the summer mission teams and interns that will be serving across the city this summer!