Monday, January 20, 2014

An Introduction to Our Family

I believe that the Lord has called me to plant a church in the Bronx, one of the five boroughs of New York City. For the past three years God has been leading me toward this as I have been working as an assistant to Pastor Jim Bickel at Bethel Baptist Fellowship in Brooklyn, NYC. My burden for New York City began in 2005 when I first came to the city with Shalom Ministries and Dr. Craig Hartman. That summer the Lord placed upon my heart not only a deep burden for Jewish people but also for urban ministry. During that eight week internship I lived at Bethel Baptist Fellowship and first became acquainted with Pastor Bickel and his ministry in Brooklyn. Little did I know at that time that one day we would day be working together.

Since graduating from Ambassador Baptist College in 2007 the Lord has blessed me with my wife Andrea, and four young children. In June of 2010, my family and I moved to Brooklyn to get some hands-on training for church planting with Pastor Jim Bickel. As an assistant at Bethel Baptist Fellowship the Lord has taught us much about ministering in the city and has brought us into a closer walk with Him as we have learned to depend more and more upon His grace. One of the reasons which I believe the Lord placed us at Bethel Baptist Fellowship is that Pastor Bickel, a church planter himself, has been given the special calling of training young men to start churches in New York City. One of the parts of the city which Pastor Bickel has been especially burdened for is the northern part of the city known as the Bronx. I believe that the Lord is answering his prayers by sending us to that area and is giving us a heart for the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx.

In New York harbor there are two islands of great historical significance and symbolism. One of those islands is known as Liberty Island. On this island stands Lady Liberty with her message of freedom and deliverance from tyranny. The other island is Ellis Island where millions of immigrants came to be registered after their long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. They came in search of a new life and opportunity in the new world. Today, sadly, most of the inhabitants of New York City are still in search of liberty and a new life. Only through hearing the gospel and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ can any soul experience freedom from the bondage of sin. The new life which the immigrants thought they would find was only a mockery of the new life which Christ offers. Jesus is the only one who can proclaim liberty to these captives.

One of our goals is to get to the mission field as quickly and as prepared as possible. Our desire is to be a self- supporting local church within five years of starting our ministry in the Bronx. In order to accomplish this our family will have to be totally devoted to the ministry and the work which God has called us to. With about eight hundred languages spoken in New York City, a church-planting missionary has the opportunity of reaching every country of the world in one spot. Though New York City is often viewed as a place of great difficulty for the gospel I am sure that God views it as a place of great opportunity.