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!

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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

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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.

Monday

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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)

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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.

Tuesday

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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

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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.

Thursday

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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.

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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!

Friday

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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.

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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!

Saturday

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

Sometimes Ministry is… [Volume 2]

A couple years ago I wrote volume one of this post (although I didn’t call it volume 1), today I thought I’d give you guys an update on ministry through a list of things that ministry is, some of these are typical ministry tasks others are typical life things I use to be intentional in my ministry! Here goes:

Sometimes ministry is…

  1. Getting a dog: if you read my newsletter or follow me on social media, you know I got a dog a few months ago. Sir Ellis Hamilton is his formal name but we call him Ellis. Ellis has been a great addition to my life and ministry. He’s a great companion and on top of that a great ministry tool for meeting neighbors and hanging out at the park!
  2. Letting your 9 year old neighbor play with your dog: when I moved into my apartment I met D and A. D is a single mom raising 9 year old A right across the hall from me. One of our first conversation was late one night when she knocked on my door desperate for prayer. Over the last year and half we have interacted on several occasions and they have come to church a couple times. They were both super excited when I got Ellis and offered to help out. Once a week they take the dog out and A plays with him at my apartment for as long as she wants. Sometimes I’m there with her, sometimes I’m not but I use this as a great opportunity to invest in their lives.
  3. Coaching: Recently, we have started a formalized coaching ministry through Send NYC. We have trained church planting pastors and church planting team members to coach other missionaries serving in similar roles. I am coaching Michael and Shannon who recently joined the New City team as team members. Michael and Shannon are going to lead the way on our multiplication efforts in Queens. They have served most recently in college ministry but spent a couple years in a mega city in Asia. They are bringing great things to our team and church planting efforts in NYC.
  4. Preparing for the summer: Over the past several months, I have been working with NAMB and another local church planter, Ed Pacheco, to prepare for GenSend NYC this summer. I will be serving alongside Ed as GenSend coaches. We have been recruiting students from across the nation to serve through this 6 week internship with church plants. I’m excited to be a part of this internship as these students will help move the ball forward in church planting! I’m also excited to see how God will use this summer to help shape the lives of the students who will be with us.
  5. Mobilizing Missionaries: A great deal of my ministry with Send NYC is mobilizing and coaching new Church Planting Team Members. Being a part of other missionaries’ support teams is such a joy for me. I also serve on our Church Planting Assessment Team, leading a team of planters and leaders to assess new church planting pastors to serve through NAMB. Our assessment team leads three assessments a year meeting with potential planters assessing them on areas of leadership, communication, emotional and spiritual health and church planting readiness. They also meet with a  family dynamics counselor and experienced church planter and planters wives have a one on one interview with another planters wife. The retreat is a well rounded event that helps to identify God’s calling in a planters life and the planters readiness to step into this important role.
  6. Shepherding and leading others: Recently at New City I took on the task of leading our volunteers. I schedule them, train them and my prayer is that through our relationship they are growing in their relationship with Christ and in their areas of leadership. I love how God has equipped each of us to lead in different ways and I love helping our volunteers discover those gifts.
  7. Being kind and loving others: If I’m real honest most of my ministry to the lost around me and the people in our young church plant is finding ways to show them love and kindness. Most of the world around us isn’t used to strangers, even Christians, showing them kindness. So when I’m at a lost in what to do, I just show kindness. 

    While this list isn’t exhaustive, I hope it creates a picture for you of what ministry looks like in my life right now.

Reflections on 2016

As I’ve talked to friends and read post online wrapping up 2016, it’s hard to believe the vast differences of opinion floating around about the success or failure of this past year. For some it was the worst year of their life for others it was the best. From the death of loved ones to new babies each year brings about joys and challenges. On top of personal issues, this year we have faced national challenges, seen international terrorism affect the lives of thousands and experienced the tragic loss of pop icons all of which bring more emotional response thanks to the social media era we live in. My opinion of 2016 was that it had some really sucky moments… I shed tears with friends as they lost loved ones, I prayed hard for our nation during one of the strangest election seasons, and ministry transitions and disappointments popped in and out of the year; but there were also some really fabulous moments… I shared laughter with old and new friends on two fabulous vacations, I explored areas of the world that God created differently from where I live, I got to see people’s lives transformed in Jesus’ name and I built new relationships that are turning into great friendships. At the beginning of 2016, I posted a blog called “Tips for the best 2016”. Below I have responded to the 8 tips with ways I lived each of these out in 2016!

  1. I’m going to be authentically me. The best example of this from 2016 was the 10 minutes I spent with a photojournalist who then took that 10 minute conversation and turned it into a post seen round the world as thousands of people read about my call to church planting and seeing people’s lives transformed for Christ. I was surprised how authentic I was in that conversation!
  2. I’m going to set goals…goals for each area of my life. Well I sat goals, and some of them I reached and some of them I didn’t reach… but I feel good with the success and failures, realizing they both lead to positive growth!
  3. I’m going to work hard. In early December I hosted two mission teams to pull off two coat distributions in the Ravenswood/Queensbridge area. This was the first year we had two groups and divided our distribution sites, as I finished that weekend I realized I had worked really hard and God had accomplished a lot through these efforts.
  4. I’m going to rest hard. The more I get to know myself and love myself the way God intended the easier it gets to rest in the Lord and enjoy His blessings. As strange as this sounds my trip to London was one of the most restful times of the year. My lifelong friend, Melody was teaching there and invited me over for a visit. It was so refreshing being with this friend, it was refreshing to stroll around another city, learn more about culture and see the beauty of a place I have never been.
  5. I’m going to love well. This year we have had several new church planting team members join church plants in NYC, there are two specifically that I feel like I loved well through their time of transition, helping them think through budgets, housing, questions/doubts, having tough conversations from time to time and being a friend for them to cry with things got hard. This has been one of my favorite parts of the year!
  6. I’m going to live optimistically. Early in the summer, I faced what I thought was a very difficult challenge in what is normally one of my favorite parts of ministry. Typically, I would have wallowed in it for weeks and let it strip me of the confidence I needed but this time, I faced the situation, had the difficult conversation and moved forward with the right attitude and it didn’t effect every area of my life for weeks.
  7. I’m going to think like Jesus. While leading my New City small group this year, I lived this out! I walked through Scriptures and topics with my group trying to speak not from me but from Him.
  8. I’m going to be grateful. This fall I had a local friend on my heart and mind to approach about joining my support team. This is always a hard ask because I know what I am doing is important but insecurities and doubt creep in pretty often and I’d never asked a local friend (i.e. a NYer) to join my team. Before I got the chance to ask she started sending donations and let me know she wanted to make that a regular thing. I was blown away by this and was so grateful that God was working on both of our hearts on this matter!

Praise the Lord for 2016! In hard times and good, God worked in mighty ways not only in my own life but in others as well! What are some blessings and struggles you saw God move you through this year?

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:
http://nashvillebrunchupdate2016.eventbrite.com 

Knoxville area Dessert Fellowship
Seymour First Baptist Church, August 31st 6:45pm
Click here for more information and to RSVP:
http://knoxvilleareaupdate2016.eventbrite.com

Cookeville area Brunch
Stevens Street Baptist Church, September 10th 10:00am
Click here for more information and to RSVP:
https://cookevilleannualupdate2016.eventbrite.com

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!

Tips for the best 2016

Its hard to believe its 2016 already, it seems like just yesterday I was in 3rd grade writing 1989 on the top of papers. I’ve never really dreaded the passing of another year but as the numbers after 20 keep increasing, I’m starting to feel like life is flying by. To be honest there have been years in my life that have flown by without much accomplishment or even movement. These years are all a part of the bigger plan but I really want each year to be full of accomplishment, pride, and movement! So here’s what Im going to do to make it a great year, no matter the outcome!

  1. I’m going to be authentically me. I’m going to enjoy who God created me to be and not try to be anything else, I’m going to be happy, excited, sad, angry, frustrated and all the other emotions I sometimes try to avoid.
  2. I’m going to set goals…goals for each area of my life. Spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, and health goals. I’m going to work hard to achieve those goals to build a stronger, healthier me.
  3. I’m going to work hard. I always feel so blessed by the ministry God puts into my path and I always feel the responsibility to work hard to achieve what He has given me! This year will be no different. The ministry may ebb and flow but I will press on to finish the work He has called me to (Acts 20:24)
  4. I’m going to rest hard. This might be the hardest goal for many of us to achieve but I believe it honors God when we give our bodies the rest we need! Rest for me includes watching movies, reading, traveling, hanging out at the park, and goofing off with friends. This will happen often in 2016.
  5. I’m going to love well (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Life is too short not to!
  6. I’m going to live optimistically. It’s easy to let every hardship or frustration bring us down but I’m going to work hard to not do that this year. I’m going to look at every situation as an opportunity and find meaning in it.
  7. I’m going to think like Jesus (Phil. 2:5). This one is going to be hard but if I think like Jesus, I can act more like Jesus and that is my goal to be more like Christ and less like me. I’m going to be humble, active, strong, obedient, loving, etc.
  8. I’m going to be grateful. The last few years have taught me so much about gratitude and I’m going to embrace every opportunity to be grateful.

I hope this list will encourage you to live 2016 intentionally!  What are some ways you will make 2016 a great year?

Big News!!

It’s been a jammed back couple of months with summer ministries, support development, family time and preparing for an exciting fall. Many of our prayers are being answered and God is at work in many ways. Many of you have prayed that God would provide our church the right space at the right time and the right price!

I’m pleased to announce: New City Church has a permanent space. Read details below!

The Right Place
Over the last 3 years God has been faithful in helping our church establish a strong presence in the riverfront area of Long Island City. This area is defined by about 20 square blocks. Our prayer has been that God would provide a space within that area for us to use on a weekly basis. This past month we have been able to secure the use of the Hunters Point School campus for our Sunday services.

This campus is in the heart of that 20 block area and is directly across the street from our 17 acres of waterfront park. It is the newest school in our neighborhood and we will have access to a brand new auditorium that will allow us to provide seating for up to 350 people. We will also be able to use others rooms in the school for children’s activities on Sundays. We are also in negotiations with a new preschool facility next door to the school to be able to use their facility on Sundays to provide programming for our birth – 4 year olds.

God has truly provided us with an incredible meeting space.

The Right Time
God has been so faithful to provide more space at the right time. When we first began to meet as a church, we gathered in the living room of Patrick’s apartment. When we out grew that space, God opened the door for us to use the community room in this complex. For the last 15 months that room has been a perfect fit for us. As the door closed on that space God was opening the door to our new space which we will have use of the first Sunday in October.

The unique thing about the first Sunday in October is that it falls on the same weekend as our annual community carnival. Last year we had close to 1,000 people come out to the carnival and we are expecting an even bigger crowd this year. How amazing is it that on that weekend we also get to tell people about our new meeting location that is directly across from where the carnival will be taking place! We are praying that God will draw many people from the carnival to join us for church on that Sunday!

The Right Price
During our search for a permanent meeting space we have looked at places that could have cost us up to $8,500/month. Each of these spaces would have given us a maximum seating capacity of around 150 people. The majority of these spaces would have also required some extensive build out that could have cost us around $100,000. Last week we got our final price on the school and it will cost us only around $2,000/month to have access to it every Sunday. With the additional cost of renting the preschool facility next to it we are looking at a total monthly rental cost of $2,500. This will give us seating capacity for over 350 adults, an area for older kids and access to a state of the art preschool facility.

There are some upfront costs for items like a sound system, projectors, pipe and drape, signage and children’s equipment that we will need to purchase. We have no doubt that God will provide for each of these needs as well.

Prayer Requests:

Pray for our church as we move into our new home. Pray that God guides us as we direct our ministries and our teams into this space and that God will grow our church not just numerically but spiritually.
Pray for our LIC Fall Carnival that is October 3rd. Pray for our mission partners that will be a part of that event and pray for our community members who will come be a part.
Pray for my housing. I’m in the final phase of approval for my affordable housing apartment and it has been a rollercoaster to say the least.