After four vision trips to New York City, my wife, Sheryl, and I have discovered that we can impact the whole world by serving in this world-class city.
The bustling mega city is the fourth largest urban center in the world. Some 22 million people call the region their home. All the nations of the world live in the neighborhoods of greater New York City.
Approximately 60 percent of all residents were born somewhere else or are the children of recent immigrants. On any given Sunday, nearly 40 languages can be heard in the churches.
The Metropolitan New York Baptist Association is a collection of some 250 churches within a 75 mile radius of Times Square. These churches are located in parts of three states (N.Y., N.J. and Conn.) and 26 counties. They reflect the diversity of the region.
People ask us, “Why do you keep going back to New York City on these vision trips? Don’t you have that vision thing down yet?”
The answer is simple. We want to recruit others to go to where ministry is urgently needed. With less than four percent of metro New York’s people attending an evangelical church, many new churches are needed. Our N.C. Baptist churches can help extend the work of these new church plants.
Church plants in this city need help in three key areas: intercessors, individuals and income. They need those churches who will pray earnestly, participate eagerly and pay expectantly, trusting God to multiply their efforts – for the fame of His Name.
Every time we go, Sheryl and I learn more about the amazing work of God in dark places there. For example, in a recent trip, we heard of an Eastern European woman coming to Christ through the creative coffee shop outreach by new church. This woman, transformed by Christ from another world religion, “Skyped” her family back in Europe and led some of them to Christ.
Another couple, recently separated and not going to any church, began attending a church plant and were soon reconciled and radically changed by the power of the gospel.
They renewed their marriage vows and began to reach out to their many un-churched friends, inviting them to come along with them to this new church in their neighborhood.
We want to encourage other N.C. Baptist churches to send volunteer teams to this urban metropolis and impact the world. Our God is a global God and He wants us to be global Christians. Work in New York City can and will help reach many of the nations of the earth.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Bill Greenwood recently retired after pastoring Baptist churches in North Carolina for 30 years. He can be reached at [email protected]. For more information on the partnership between the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association, please contact Steve Hardy at [email protected].)