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!