Tag Archives: Astoria

We’re Launching A New Church in Midtown Manhattan

Hope Midtown Launches October 2014

I’m really excited to announce that Hope Church NYC will be planting our third church in Midtown Manhattan in October 2014.

It’s hard to believe that in September 2012, we launched this church not knowing what to expect, especially with the challenges of starting anything new in a city like New York.

We hoped to become a movement of diverse, small/medium sized neighborhood churches where God could move throughout faith communities, and 20 months later, we’ve been able to start two growing churches (Hope Church Astoria & Hope Church Roosevelt Island) in remarkably diverse contexts.

Of course, we’ve had our challenges too, but in many ways those challenges have allowed us to press deeper into trusting that God is doing the work, while we’re along for the ride.

For the past year and a half we’ve had a group of folks journeying together in Manhattan, and this crew is now preparing to help us launch this church in the Fall.

I will be leading this new venture along with James Chi (you’ll hear more about James soon) and a host of awesome people that comprise our Midtown Community.

In addition, Craig Okpala will be overseeing the worship experience in Midtown while still being significantly engaged in Astoria.

I will also remain significantly engaged in Astoria (I’ll still be attending and preaching at Hope Astoria regularly, for the most part) as Hope Midtown will gather in the evening.

One of the clearest ways this has all been possible has been because of the standout leadership of people like Kristian Hernandez (Hope Astoria & Preaching Team Lead – Kris will be a regular preacher in Midtown), Dan & Amanda Sadlier (Hope Roosevelt Island), and our Transitional Leadership Team (Darryl Romano, Christine Okpala, & Tony Thottukadavil), and a stellar staff team at our churches.

They, along with so many of our leaders, volunteers, and attenders – have been a joy to serve alongside.

And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my wife Tina is as supportive of this as she’s ever been.

I’m excited about all that God is doing in NYC, and I’m so glad to be along for the ride.

Hope Midtown has begun meeting weekly on Friday Nights in Manhattan as we prepare to launch in October, 2014.  If you’d like to find out more or if you’d like to get involved, you can email me at drew@hopechurchnyc.org.    


Some Pastors/Leaders You Should Get to Know

There are tons of great pastors/leaders that you should know, and I really appreciated this blog by Donald Miller about why pastors are important.

I wanted to introduce you to three relatively new Pastors/Leaders at Hope (they’ve been around since the summer), three of whom have made a significant impact in our community already.

Many of you have already met these folks, but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce them on my blog.

1. Kristian Hernandez – Kristian is a good friend whom I’ve known since 2006, and he’s one of the warmest, funniest, preach-like-nobody’s-business pastors I know.  We were so blessed to have the great folks at Resurrection Churchbless Kristian and his family to join our church plant, and he’s done an amazing job preaching, pastoring, and leading in our community.

Find out more about Kristian here:

2.  Dan & Amanda Sadlier – Simply put, the Sadliers are awesome.  I love this family.

Dan is leading Hope Roosevelt Island, a new church on Roosevelt Island that I’m absolutely giddy about, and he’s added so much in terms of leadership, strategic missional thinking, wisdom, and fabulous teaching/preaching.

Amanda is leading our Hope Tots/Kids Environments, and she’s done a phenomenal job with them.  Amanda is a catalytic leader who Joseph Longarino described by saying, “she could be president.”  She’s really a stellar leader as well.

On top of it all, the Sadliers have five great kids.  Meet them all below.

New York City is blessed to have pastors/leaders like these folks!

Personal Reflections After One Year @ Hope

If you haven’t heard by now, Hope turned One a few weeks ago (September 22), and it’s been a milestone for us as a church.

I’ve shared some personal reflections (and lessons) I’ve learned as a church planter before here, here, & here, but I thought I’d add to the list now that we’ve made it through one year.

1.  “Leadership is the art of disappointing people at a rate they can stand.” – John Ortberg

I’ve been in vocational ministry for just about 12 years now, and never before has my leadership (particularly its flaws) been under as intense a microscope as it has been during church planting.

Seriously, the folks at Hope have been super gracious, and I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people (some more than others, unfortunately) – hopefully it continues to be at a rate that people can stand.

2.  “In Ministry You’re Going to Disappoint Someone, Try Not to Make it Your Family” – Lynn Hybels

Ah yes, ministry is full of disappointing people, and it’s hardest when the ones we disappoint are our spouses and kids.

I’ve been very mindful of this during this season, and I’ve tried my best not to disappoint Tina and David too much.

We regularly practice Sabbath, and we take frequent trips outside the city as well.*  This has really helped us maintain a sane pace in this church planting endeavor.

Obviously, I fail more than I’d like to admit, but it’s good to keep this statement as a compass for us moving forward in church planting and vocational ministry in general.

Feel free to ask Tina how it’s going, and if you ask David, he’ll probably tell you that he wants to watch Nemo.

While you’re at it, register for this conference to help lead from a healthy marriage and inner life.

*The caveat here is that regular Sabbaths and vacations have only been possible because 1) We have an awesome team.  Seriously, these folks can easily lead and shepherd without me, and it’s been unbelievable working with a dream team.  2) We have the been blessed with resources to go away.  I’m not going to pretend that resources don’t matter when it comes to vacations/development/pulpit-supply for pastors, and I’m a big advocate for pastors being funded. 

We can talk more about this but I realize there are many out there who have neither a team nor resources yet, and that’s where networks and denominations like ours can be so helpful.  

3.  I’m More Mindful of the Question “Should We Do This?” rather than “Can We Do This?” 

I think for any entrepreneurial endeavor, it’s easy to dream about endless possibilities without taking into account reality.

In the entrepreneurial endeavor of church planting, I think it’s easy to dream about endless possibilities without the very fuel that runs it all – the Spirit.

This is where prayer is so important… specifically, the following prayer:

“Your Will Be Done, Your Kingdom Come.”

4.  In Any Missional Church, a Balance of Risk and Safety is Needed. 

If there’s too much risk, then people get burned out, community and quality suffers, etc.

If there’s too much safety then there’s little movement and vitality, and an insulated culture is created.

I believe Jesus modeled this for us, too, but that’s worth another blog post.

Hopefully we continually find ourselves between these two extremes.

5.  As Somewhat of a Careful Planner, I’m Consistently Surprised By How Things Turn Out Differently Than I Envisioned, and Yet Sorta Similar.

This definitely reminds me Who’s in Control.   

5.  I Was Made For This.

I can’t believe I get to do this.  It’s such an honor to exercise faith in this way!

I recall all my fears about church planting, and I realize I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

As a result, I am so unbelievably thankful to everyone who’s supported us on this journey.  It’s been such a thrilling ride, and despite going through some of the hardest times of my life, it’s been so reassuring seeing how God has orchestrated it all.

Hope Church NYC Launches This Sunday, September 23rd

It’s hard to believe that September 23rd is finally here.  After months of wrestling with God about what our next steps were, Tina and I came to the conclusion that God was calling us to stay in NYC and plant a church in Astoria, NY.

Less than one year later, Hope Church NYC officially launches.  I am so humbled and grateful as this church planting project is born.


As we head into this Sunday, I wanted to recognize some folks whom God has graciously allowed to have a hand in planting Hope.

1)  Tina and Our Son David – This has been an unbelievable season for our family, and one that has taken precedence over what’s happened at Hope.  David has been such a gift, and Tina has been the best mom and wife I could have ever asked for.

My wife and son have been a gift from God.

With all the stresses of a newborn and a new church, Tina has been a steady and faithful rock throughout the process, even putting up with my shenanigans with good-spirited aplomb.

And David has been a true champ.  I love these two!

2) Launch Team –  What makes a church is the people, and Hope is full of some incredible people.  I can’t thank these folks enough for their commitment, their volunteering, and most of all, their presence!

There have been some funny, “that’s church planting” moments for sure, but I’m so grateful for the willingness to go with the flow as we’ve had so many stops/starts & twists/turns.

This community has also shown me so much grace through my own mistakes – many of which have been painful but necessary to see.

Launch team and new regular attenders – thanks so much for being part of what’s happening at Hope!

PS Special shout-out to our other pastoral staffers – Craig Okpala and Joe Longarino.  Studs.

3) The Evangelical Covenant Church – It’s been such a joy to be part of a larger movement, and the Evangelical Covenant Church has been super supportive and encouraging throughout.  Jason Condon, the Director of Church Planting for the East Coast Conference of the ECC, has been so helpful and insightful in this process, and learning alongside other church planters in NYC, NJ, and New England has challenged and encouraged me in so many ways.

We’re so lucky to be part of this family of churches!

4) Family and Friends who have Supported Hope – So many friends and family have supported this church plant with their prayers and their financial support, and it’s been so humbling to hear stories of people fasting and praying on our behalf, while others have given sacrificially so that we could launch.

Seriously humbled by all these folks who are literally all around the world. Thank you so much for your friendship, mentorship, and generosity.

And a very special thanks to the Hyun and Park families.  Tina and I are so, so grateful for you and your support.

5) New Life Fellowship – I’m so grateful for all the friendships I’ve made at New Life over the years, and the incredible people I’ve learned so much from. Obviously Pete and Geri Scazzero have had a significant part in that journey, and I’m so, so grateful for all they have deposited in me over the years.

I wouldn’t be the person I am today without New Life, and Hope wouldn’t be the kind of church that it is without New Life.

6) Other churches in NYC – There have been so many pastors who have voiced their support of what we’re doing, and to know we stand side-by-side with so many churches is an amazing feeling.

There’s something stirring in NYC…

Advice for Church Planters

Today I was asked by some seminary students what advice I’d give to church planters.

After thinking about that question some more, I’ve listed five adages below that help keep me centered through the task of planting Hope Church NYC.

I imagine some people can relate to these, whether you’re a church planter or not.

*Each adage has a Bible verse italicized which I think captures the essence of each saying, I think. 

1.  Pray.  Now. (Psalm 27)

The two words go together for me.  I have to remember that above all else, God is the author and perfecter of my faith.  Prayer is the most obvious byproduct of remembering this truth.

As a church planter, it’s convenient for me to forget about God because there’s so much to do and there’s an insufferable feeling that it’s all on my shoulders.

Well, it’s not.  God’s ultimately in control.

The word “Now” is added because prayer is often the easiest thing to push to the back of my to-do list.

Perhaps there are some more urgent things to do as a church planter – but nothing more important.

Hence I need to pray.  Now.  Not Later.

2.  One Day at a Time (Matthew 6:34)

I alluded to this in a previous post, but this saying is extremely helpful for me.

I so want Hope to instantaneously be what I envision.

Too bad life doesn’t work that way.

Tina laughs at me when I ask her when she thinks we should add another service.

We’ve barely started laying the groundwork for the first, she reminds me.

How was the Great Wall Built?  One brick at a time.

3.  “Go, Sit in Your Cell, and Your Cell will Teach You Everything– A Saying by A Desert Father (Phil 4:11-13)

I’ve read/heard this phrase a few times over the years, and it comes from the Desert Fathers.

The saying could mean a lot of things, including the need for silence, solitude, and “think” space.

The way I take the phrase is to focus on what God’s given me to do, instead of peering out over the horizon at what everyone else is doing.

I’ve noticed that when I fall into the comparison trap, I lose sight of what God’s called me and our church to do.

I can get so concerned with other church plants or the latest trends in church world that I lose sight of our church and our community.

There are so many God moments that I might miss out on because I’m so enamored with what’s happening over there.

Meanwhile, all that’s happening right in front of me is quite sacred and beautiful.

4.  “What is This Life if, Full of Care, We Have No Time to Stand and Stare” – WH Davies (Exodus 20:8)

With all the stresses and tasks of church planting, it’s easy to feel miserable.  That is, if I don’t take the time to “stand and stare”.

For me, this means Sabbath-keeping and other disciplines that give me space to experience joy and pleasure.

This saying has been especially helpful since we have a newborn.  Although we look forward to getting out of these first twelve weeks with David (our son), Tina and I have been consciously enjoying this stage of our son’s life.

He’s such an adorable little guy, and it’d be so easy for me to miss out on precious moments with our son because I’m so caught up in the tasks I need to complete.

Sometimes as church planters we can sacrifice the wrong things for the sake of mission, as if it’s an honor to be a miserable church planter.

I’d much rather be a joyful church planter (who gets miserable sometimes).

5. Love God, Love People (Matthew 22:36-40) – ‘Nuff said.

Is there any advice you’ve found helpful as a church planter or entrepreneur?

Having a Newborn & Planting a Church

These past few months have been such exhilarating times for Tina and me.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

Two of the biggest things happening to us are 1) We had our first child, David Jinhwan Hyun, and 2) We’re planting Hope Church NYC in Astoria, NY.

I thought I’d share some reflections on how both having a baby and planting a church are similar.

Our little boy is a joy. It's been helpful for us to approach things one day at a time.

1)  My constant mantra is, “one day at a time” – On the surface, having a baby is an overwhelming task.  So is planting a church.

I find that some of my worst moments come when I worry too far down the line, like trying to figure out where David’s going to go to high school, or what Hope‘s going to look like 25 years from now.

But both having a baby and planting a church are much more manageable when I remember that I can only be faithful to today, while still planning for the future.

As a result of reminding myself to take things “one day at a time”, life has become considerably more joyful.

I tend to err toward impatience too, and that’s not a good thing with newborns or church plants.  There are so many times that I want our newborn to stop crying right now, or to have volunteer systems in place within our church plant by 3 pm today (and that’s for ministries that don’t even exist yet).

But the reality is, quieting a newborn and starting a church takes time.

Life takes time.

It’s much more manageable one day at a time.

Sidenote: This is not to say that vision casting and planning for the future is not helpful.  Scripture talks about both – having an eye toward the future and still focusing on today.  I tend to not focus on today, which is why “one day at a time” is helpful for me.

2) Life is not about me – This is something that I come back to regularly, but this has been a good season to remember that life is not about me.

Right now, the baby takes up a lot of our energies, and deservedly so.  David’s a perpetual reminder that life is not about me.

With the church, I’m consciously aware that so much of what happens at Hope is God’s work.  God forbid I take too much credit.

I need to reassure myself constantly that this is about primarily doing a work for God and others, not a work for myself.

3) It’s so good to have support – It’s hard for me to ask for help.  Tina knows this.  People close to me know this.

But I’ve been overwhelmed by the unsolicited support of family and friends while we’ve had a baby.  People who have cooked meals, offered to babysit, written notes, given gifts, etc.  Wow.  We feel so loved and supported.

Many of these folks are part of Hope’s launch team.

Speaking of which, I LOVE our launch team at Hope.  I’m so grateful for this group that God has brought together, and I’m well aware that planting a church is well beyond a one-person show.

We’re moving into a season when we’ll be asking for people to volunteer more heavily in different areas, and I’ve been blown away by the willingness of our folks.

A church is a group of people gathered and scattered, supporting one another and supporting a cause.  It’s been really fun to experience this.

If you’re someone who needs help, please ask for it!  For many people (like me), I realize we don’t feel supported because we don’t ask for it.

We're planting a church. Grace is a great approach.

4) The real work happens behind the scenes – Um, this might be news to some of you, but Tina’s carrying the heaviest burden with our son right now.

As much as I change diapers and cook (or heat up – hehe) food and pray lengthy prayers, Tina is feeding our son around the clock.  And she also gave birth to him.  Wow.

People congratulate me, but I’m quick to recognize that Tina is the real hero in all of this (shout-out to all you moms out there).

In terms of church planting too, I think what’s cool is that the growth of our community really depends on our community.  Sure, I may be a point person or a face, but our church really depends on our people.

I’m lucky enough to be one of the leaders in this community.

5) Grace, Grace, Grace – I need more of it, and I need to give more of it.

Any significant event or task – including having a newborn and planting a church – induces stress.

The best thing I can do is pray, reflect on Scripture, share life with a community, and hear words of grace for myself and then in turn give grace to others.

Grace is a great antidote to anxiety/stress, I’ve found.

Final Reflection from Q Practices with Eugene Peterson

If you’d like to read my thoughts after Day One of Q Practices with Eugene Peterson, you can read here.

Day Two was today, and we covered Peterson’s views on Embodiment, Scripture, Community, and the Church.

Here are some reflections:

Jan Peterson was keepin' it real.

1) Hearing from Jan Peterson, Eugene’s wife, was a highlight
– I’m a firm believer that spouses keep it real, and I was excited when Jan was invited on stage to answer questions.  I was most moved when she talked about whether or not Eugene’s life with God was real…

Her response?

Absolutely.  She strongly reiterated how the person we hear on the pages of Eugene’s writings are really him.  She then talked about how she really respected how firm he was in not getting enticed by the trappings of fame and notoriety.

So cool.

And then Eugene shared some heartwarming stories about Jan and her hospitality, and it was all really quite wonderful.

I’m convinced that a long obedience in the same direction is not limited to one’s life with God, but also to one’s love and commitment to one’s spouse and family (and if single, one’s close family and friends).

The Peterson’s marriage was one of the best sermons of the day.

2) Pastors are to be local and relational – Peterson stressed this greatly, and even challenged the notion that Pastors are chiefly communicators.  Pastors are conversationalists, he said, people whose vocation is intricately tied to people.

This is such a great reminder for me as a church planter.

One of the reasons Tina and I chose Astoria for Hope is because we could be “local”.

It was so great to learn from Eugene Peterson for two days.

3) One of the things I most admire about Eugene Peterson is his clear sense of what he’s called to do… and not to do.  

Here are a couple of things he said which stood out to me.

First, he said, “I really haven’t done much.”

Second, he said, “I’m really not that busy.  Jan and I actually have quite a bit of leisure in our lives.”

I think there was a collective gasp (or maybe it was just me) when he said both these statements.

When I read Peterson’s bio and the list of books he’s written, I’m really stunned at his capacity.

But realistically, although it’s true that Peterson has some unique gifts, he’s human too.

And because he’s human, Eugene knows what he’s called to do, and therefore he also knows what NOT to do.

Throughout the day, I was struck by what he’s chosen not to do, including:

1) Jan spoke of speaking engagements Eugene has said no to (as well as celebrities).

2) Eugene spoke of giving up TV 30 or so years ago.

3) Eugene does not use social media.

4) When it came down to whether or not the church should expand after reaching capacity, Eugene knew he wasn’t the leader to take the church to the next level.  Sure enough, the next leader expanded the church missionally.

Part of Peterson’s “long obedience in the same direction” is a willingness to say “no” to many “good” opportunities.

In this way, Peterson has been able to have a laser-like focus in what he commits himself to.

He also mentioned that he simply does things that he loves, and so immersing himself in Scripture, writing, and pastoring, are all “loves” of his.  These loves have helped define what he has committed his life (and time) to.

4) I’m so excited about Hope.  I love our launch team, I love what we’re building, and I’m so excited about what God’s going to do!

5) There were a couple of “well-known” Christian leaders in the audience as learners. 

I didn’t get a chance to talk extensively to these folks (hence I won’t blog who they were), but I was greatly encouraged that there were a few nationally known American Christian leaders in the audience there to learn.

It was so cool and encouraging to see these folks learning, too.  It’s nice to know that we’re all on the journey and there’s always something new to learn.

6) I was so fortunate to be there, especially in Peterson’s advanced age. Being able to learn from Peterson in a small setting is a gift I do not take for granted.

Thank you so much, Q.  Thank you for caring about how to better serve and resource pastors and church planters like me – it’s much appreciated!