It’s come to my attention that I need to do a full update here about my church planting work. So here goes. From the very beginning of New City, our team talked about being a church that multiples. We created a couple of long term, big picture strategies that captured my heart as we planned to plant churches along the 7 train line into Queens. Fast forward a few years later in 2017, God led Michael and Shannon Hill to join our team with the hopes of seeing this strategy played out. I went to Patrick last summer and mentioned that I had been praying about being a part of this strategy for some time and with his blessing I joined Michael and Shannon to start preparations for New City’s first church plant.

The area we have identified as the best place for a launching point for this strategy is the Queensboro Plaza area of Long Island City. This area is a phenomenal picture of Queens’ ethnic diversity as well as its propensity for urban growth. The rapid change happening across this area is seeing more and more high-rise apartments being built. Right off the Queensboro Plaza 7 train station you have three distinct communities merging together into one. Just to the west you have the nations largest housing project with 10K+ low income New Yorkers just trying to survive day by day. Just to the north you have a blue collar area where families have lived for years and years. And just south of the bridge you see 5000+ new luxury high-rise apartment units attracting more and more former Manhattanites to Queens.  Each of these areas has a magnificent view of one of my favorite bridges, The Queensboro/59th St Bridge.

Over the past 18 months we have begun serving and loving on this area as we have researched and experienced life in this community. You know what we have found? People here need Jesus. They need hope, compassion, community, and new life in Christ. They need a church that loves them and will provide a bridge to not only the gospel but also to other lives in the community. So we have named our new church plant The Bridge Community Church. We pray God will use this faith community to bridge these three areas together into a family. We want to be a place where rich and poor, young and old, newbies and locals can all come together to care for each other and share life together.

So with high hopes and God sized expectations we are putting our feet to the pavement in Queensboro Plaza to plant a church.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:

  • Many, many hours of prayer walking the area
  • Hosted 2 summers of interns doing research and serving the community
  • Hosted many teams that have done park outreaches, street cleaning, surveys and prayer walks
  • Spent hours in the Queensbridge Housing Projects loving on people and hearing their stories
  • Formed a core team of 11 people that have begun meeting together for Bible Study and prayer
  • Began meeting as a leadership team to plan, pray, and begin the work
  • and many, many other small things that make up the plans to start a church.
Here’s whats coming up:
  • Later this month we will host a community carnival, much like the one New City has hosted for years.
  • We will host our first preview service this month with preview services planned over the next few months.
  • After our carnival we will be begin inviting others in the area to a small group, this will be an evangelistic opportunity for others to begin exploring Scripture and Christian community with us.
  • We will host a coat distribution in December and following that will have another preview service.
  • We will continue to pray over the neighborhood and share the hope of Christ in word and deed.
  • We plan to launch spring 2019.
  • and we plan to do many, many more things that make up a new church!
So I know I missed some things but this I hope gives you a good picture of what God has been up to in my ministry and the things that are to come. In the prayer section I will include some specific requests for you guys to lift up for us!

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!

Photo journal of a week

Ever wondered what the Number 1 question I am asked about my ministry, well here it is… “What does a typical week look like for you?”. So I want to answer this question this month for you with pictures because reading about it would probably be very boring.



Sunday’s are for New City. I arrive at church around 9:30 to help with setup. Once we get everything setup we welcome volunteers and then guests and regular attenders. I love greeting and helping our people connect with each other. We are normally done around 1pm and then head to lunch with friends. I generally spend the rest of my Sunday relaxing, because Sundays are busy days!

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A large part of my “job” at New City now is organizing, recruiting, scheduling and shepherding our volunteers. This has really helped create a “volunteer family” at our church plant and is helping us to create some emphasis around owning your faith and serving in it.



Making its way onto Monday, is the most boring photo of my week. I spend a lot of my “office hours” from home, coffee shops, or the New City office. A good portion of my week I work on plans for events, volunteers, internships, mission teams, team members, emails, phone calls, etc. These “tasks” of ministry make things happen and while not glamorous are absolutely essential. (also essential: coffee)


Monday nights I attend a Bible Study Fellowship group in Manhattan. While this is not my group, it looks a lot like this (minus those boys). BSF is an interdenominational Bible study group so I enjoy getting to know women from other areas of Christianity and from different cultural backgrounds. I also love the in-depth study of a book of the Bible. We are currently wrapping up a study on John.



In between “tasks”, meetings, social events, etc I take Ellis to the park to hang out. We have met lots of new friends this way and are using these connections to have gospel conversations and invite people to church. This is Ellis and our friends Erin (human) and Macy (dog).

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Most Tuesday nights I play volleyball with a group of people in the school where our church meets, it’s a great opportunity to build relationships in our community and I get some good exercise. In the warmer months we play at the sand court in our park.



Wednesday mornings I usually meet with the Send NYC team, which is Steve Canter pictured here and Sterling Edwards not pictured but sitting to the left of the girl standing in the photo. This was a meeting we had a few weeks back with a former IMB missionary to the deaf who is starting a deaf ministry at Sterlings replant church, Park Slope Community Church.

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I’m the only one that knew I was taking this picture so I hope these students don’t kill me for this. Another important ministry I am apart of through Send NYC is our GenSend internship. This summer I will help lead and coach a team of 16 college students that will be serving in three of our Brooklyn church plants. I love this part of my ministry.


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Once a month I write an email newsletter update. Here is a sample of the first part! If you don’t get my newsletter, feel free to fill out the “About You” section of this blog and I will add you to the newsletter. I also write three other newsletters through out the month, one for our Send NYC partners, one for our Church Planting Team Members and one for our New City volunteers.


On Thursday nights I met with Chelsi (pictured reading the Word) and Tara for a discipleship circle. We are reading 2 Corinthians together now. This is one of my favorite times of the week!



These are our lady Church Planting Team Members serving across the city (there are some guy team members as well but I didn’t have a pretty picture of them). Twice a week I coach two our new team members and at various times throughout the week I am interacting with others or planning trainings/gatherings with them and having conversations with potential missionaries about serving in NYC.


Sometimes I take time out of my ministry work to pick up a side babysitting job. I like to hang out with babies and I also like the extra spending money!



This is from last Saturday and represents brunch on Saturdays as well as our small group that meets on Wednesday nights. Brunch is a big deal in NY so when we need a small group fellowship time, we take on brunch.


Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon is my sabbath (I like to sabbath with my Jewish friends). Ok not really but I believe that a Sabbath is important for all Christians and this is the time that works best for me. So I try to protect this time for fellowship, time alone with God, and rest. This is from last Saturday when I was beating Natalie at a dance game… well I was losing but I thought I would share this slightly embarrassing photo anyway!


Maybe a better picture of Sabbath… hanging out in this awesome view!


Lastly, Saturdays are for fun nights out with friends and trying different restaurants around the city. This was a Hawaiian place Jocelyn and I tried last week and that is a Brûlée Pineapple that was delicious.

a word on discipleship.

“I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may provide what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

These two verses may have been the second verses I ever memorized (almost universally I think we all learn John 3:16 first). I meditated on these verses a lot as a kid and as a teen and to be honest they probably keep me out of a lot of trouble… I mean not all the trouble, but a lot of it anyway. I reference them often and most recently have used them to form a heart and intentionality of discipleship.

Discipleship has always been one of my greatest joys and probably most used gifts, from leading 2nd graders to grow in Christ through missions education to hard conversations with college students about their relationship with the Lord, this is an area I feel God has used many times in my ministry. Over the last few years, its been put on the back-burner a bit as growing a church has a lot to do with ministry formation and evangelism. There have been times my soul has ached for it and there have been small moments of it here and there but not to the level I desired.

Recently, though I have entered into a discipleship relationship with 2 ladies from our church plant and I’ve seen this love for discipleship renewed! I’m seeing our lives transformed by our studying of the word and I’m seeing our minds renewed by intentional, vulnerable conversation. This discipling is about growing in our relationship with Christ and calling us out of our places of darkness and calling us into abundant life. I’ve seen the other girls grow in their relationship and understanding of the gospel over the last month and I’ve seen my desire to serve others and love the Lord deepen.

We meet together on Tuesday nights for dinner and conversation after having spent the week before reading through the same passage of Scripture and memorizing a verse from each set of passages. Our conversation just flows from fellowship to bible study! But its not through this fellowship, accountability, or bible study that our lives are transformed it’s through the saving grace of Christ and through our intentional desire to see the Word lived out in our lives! Pray with me for my Discipleship group. Pray for Tara and Chelsi who I meet with and pray for others in our church who are seeing life transformation through their intentional Discipleship groups.


A story of…

It’s that time of the year again where I make my annual trip home to hang out with my partners and church families there. I’m always so grateful for the encouragement and partnership that this trip brings. I would really like to see as many of you as possible this year and share with you an amazing update of life and ministry here. God has laid on my heart a story to share… a story of New York, church planting, missionaries, and of life change! As I think back on this year, I cannot help but be overwhelmed and excited about what God has done! Surprising and wonderful things! Come hear all about it as well as plans and hopes for next year at one of these three events.

Nashville area Brunch
Covenant Baptist Church, August 27th 10:00am
Click here for more information and to RSVP:

Knoxville area Dessert Fellowship
Seymour First Baptist Church, August 31st 6:45pm
Click here for more information and to RSVP:

Cookeville area Brunch
Stevens Street Baptist Church, September 10th 10:00am
Click here for more information and to RSVP:

I will also be at a couple churches on Sunday mornings, ASPU BCM, and hanging around Nashville, Knoxville, and Cookeville for a few days, keep up with me on Facebook or through text and let’s make sure to see each other! Please feel free to invite other friends, family, or lovers of New York to join you!

A Virtual Kind of Post

One of my favorite things about working with mission partners are our weekly prayer walks around LIC. It means so much to me to know that people have for years been praying for our community, our church, and even us. The power of prayer is one of the most significant blessings we have as believers. This week we have 4 partner churches serving with us in what we called Serve 7 week. This week they will pray for and serve 4 neighborhoods along the 7 train line, loving on these neighborhoods and praying that God would launch new works in these areas soon. As part of their projects, they are praying the below prayer points over Jackson Heights, Woodside, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside. These requests are both personal and generic…they are a combination of things we have prayed over LIC for many years as well as general requests related to church planting. Each group stops at a school, church, and a park-three places that represent important parts of church planting and NYC culture.

I’d like to invite you to go on a virtual prayer walk. I’ve chosen here two neighborhoods for you to focus on, one is Sunnyside, Queens where we are serving this week and one is Kips Bay, Manhattan which is a neighborhood our interns have spent a lot of time in this summer. Both are areas New City Church and the Send NYC team would like to see new churches started. Pray for these neighborhoods and then feel free to use this as a guide to pray for other great NYC neighborhoods (or I guess you could pray for other cities/towns but I’m a little partial).  I’ve listed one school, church, and park in each of these neighborhoods and the cross streets for you. You can use google maps to look up these locations and/or explore around the area! Ok, enough talking about! Pray away!

Stop 1: School

Kips Bay (The River School PS 281 Manhattan)
Sunnyside (Aviation High School 36th St and Queens Blvd Queens)

  • Finding meeting space for a new church is often challenging. This challenge is intensified in NYC because of the limits put on public spaces and because of high prices. Please pray for new church plants in this area to find the right space, at the right time, at the right price.
  • Our heart is to partner and plant with churches all along the 7 train line. The 7 train stretches from Western Manhattan to Flushing, Queens. Pray for church planting opportunities to the 5 million+ people that live along this train line.
  • New churches need relationships with community and civic organizations to love on a neighborhood. Pray for natural connections to neighborhood schools, police, and civic organizations.

Stop 2: Park

Kips Bay (Bellevue South Park East 26th St & Mt Carmel Pl Manhattan) 
Sunnyside (Lance Corporal Thomas P Noonan Playground 47th Ave & Greenpoint Ave Queens)

  • Church plants in NYC have to spend time in the marketplaces and social spaces of a neighborhood. This is key to building relationships with people who need Christ. Pray for conversations to happen in parks that will lead people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Church planting is about connecting lost people to Christ. A Person of Peace is simply someone that God has prepared ahead of time to hear the message of the gospel. A person of peace is an entry into a community. As they accept the Gospel they open the door for other people in the community to hear the gospel. Pray for a person of peace for this neighborhood.
  • Successful church planting always addresses the community’s spiritual, physical and emotional needs. Pray for church planters in this community to gain awareness of community needs.
  • The gospel is central to church planting and seeing people come to know Christ as their personal Savior is key! Please pray for the lost in this neighborhood to come to know the Lord.

Stop 3: Church

Kips Bay (Marble Collegiate Church 29th St and 5th Ave Manhattan)
Sunnyside (Sunnyside Reformed Church 48th St and Skillman Ave Queens)

  • This church represents the promise of God that He will draw people into relationship with Him. This is happening across the world through church planting. Pray for the church planting movement in NYC to be successful and for churches to be a place of love, acceptance, and healing.
  • Pray God will call out church planting pastors and church planting team members to serve in this neighborhood. Pray for spiritually and emotionally healthy leaders. Pray God will provide for them financially in a way that enables them to live successfully in NYC.
  • New Yorkers are in need of friends and real relationships. The city can often be a lonely place. Pray for the people that live in this area that don’t know Christ that they would have a divine intersection with a new church and the gospel.