Tag Archives: churches

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.    


A Powerful Song I’d Love for You to Hear

This came as a short announcement on facebook, but it was so exciting for me to see the release of the song Here’s My Life, written and performed by Craig Okpala, pastor at Hope Church NYC (and produced by the the ever-talented Paul Kim).

We’ve been singing this song as a congregation for the past few weeks, and it so aptly captures the heart cry of so many of our people.

Many were surprised when they heard it was an original song written by Craig.

Craig also shares the story of this song in the sermon below.  Powerful.

Thank you, friend, for creating music that touches the heart. May it bless many!

Hope Roosevelt Island’s First Preview Service is This Sunday, November 24th

When we first started Hope Church NYC a little over a year ago, our dream was to begin a movement of churches where honest, diverse communities of people would discover Christ.

Hope Roosevelt Island hosts its First Preview Service this Sunday, November 24th

Hope Roosevelt Island hosts its First Preview Service this Sunday, November 24th

This Sunday, November 24th, Hope Roosevelt Island (our 2nd church) hosts its first preview service followed by a Thanksgiving Community Dinner.

It’s hard to believe this is all happening!

Dan & Amanda Sadlier have done an amazing job leading this community, and there are so many unsung heroes who are part of this launch (Jim Bates and so many others).

I’m really excited about this Sunday!

If you’re free to join us, we’d love your support in helping serve some food.

More so, we’d love for you to invite any Roosevelt Islanders you know who are not connected to a church.

And above all, we’d appreciate your prayers so that Hope Roosevelt Island can be a true blessing to Roosevelt Island.

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!

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…

Why Plant a Church in Astoria?

We just finished our last vision gathering in which we shared about our dreams for Hope.  One of the questions I addressed was “Why plant a church in Astoria?”

We were actually approached by a few people to plant a church in Manhattan (including a couple of denominations) before we settled on Astoria.  If you ask Tina, I was thisclose to choosing Manhattan, but Astoria kept tugging at our hearts.  Here are some reasons why:

1.  Astoria is One of the Least Churched Areas of Queens, NY – I posted this on twitter (courtesy of David Ellis, pastor of Astoria Community Church), but if you were to increase the attendance of every Christian church in Queens by 1,000 people, you’d still be left with 1.5 million unchurched people in the borough of Queens.  That’s more than the entire population of the city of Philadelphia.

Queens is three times (3 x’s) as unchurched as Manhattan, and yet, 40% of the Christian churches in Manhattan have been planted in the last 10 years, showing just how big a draw Manhattan has been for new churches.  Meanwhile, church planting in Brooklyn and Queens have lagged behind (although these boroughs are much more populous).

As unchurched as Queens is, consider all the Korean churches in Flushing, the Spanish churches in Corona, and all the other areas of churched populations throughout this Borough.  Astoria does not have many churches, unfortunately.

I’ve listed around 15 English speaking in the area (there might be more), and the average size is roughly ~65 people.

David Ellis, who planted Astoria Community Church ten years ago, told me, “this area desperately needs more churches!”

2.  We Live Close By – Tina and I hang out in Astoria and LIC all the time.  As we walk/drive through neighborhoods, it’s been common for us to pray for the different areas and people we meet.

3.  Astoria is Remarkably Diverse – For an area that used to be almost entirely Italian and Greek, the region is very diverse.  Moreover it’s very diverse socio-economically too.


– In the Zip Code 11106, where our Sunday Gatherings will likely be housed, there is a population of 43,000 and a poverty rate of 18.7% (poverty being defined as a household income below ~$26,000).

– In nearby Long Island City directly south of Astoria (sometimes the two are confused), there is a population of 26,000 while having a poverty rate of 27%.  These are some of the
At the same time, Astoria is home to many immigrants, professionals, and artists, especially with its proximity to Manhattan.

4.  There is Some Good Food in Astoria – My favorite bagel place in the entire city is Brooklyn Bagel in Astoria.  My favorite Red Velvet Cupcake is from Martha’s Bakery.  My favorite diners in NYC are Bel Aire and Sanfords, both 24 hour spots that Tina and I have gone to at odd hours. One of my favorite burgers is Petey’s Burger.  Two of our favorite Greek places are BZ Grill and Kyclades.  I would add that our favorite taco and tamale place was in Astoria (Talcingo), but it closed down, unfortunately.

Anyone who lives in or close to Astoria knows what I’m talking about when it comes to food.

And we all know food is one of the most spiritual things in this life.