Tag Archives: hope church

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!

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.

Selling My Possessions to Follow Him?

I was talking to someone the other day about what we’re up to, and I was sharing how Tina’s pregnant, we’re starting a church, we have no income (yet), we have no physical meeting space for the church, and no budget as a church.

The person said to me, “Sometimes I wish I could do what you’re doing.”

I thought, “Are you serious?! We’re having a baby and I have no stable income!”

But then she said, “It’s like you’ve sold all your possessions to follow Jesus.”

—-

Honestly, we haven’t sold everything.  In fact, we didn’t sell much.  I simply left a pretty stable job, and we still own a lot of stuff.

We have an apartment, food to eat, clothes to wear, a car, and our Macs.  You know, all the “essential” first world stuff.  We also have loads of kids stuff from generous people that has given new meaning to “making room for a baby” during Christmas.

We have dear family and friends who will buy us meals at times, and will also let us crash at their homes if we ever dry up our savings.

But in some ways, I get why the young woman said “it’s like you’ve sold your possessions.”

I think this is how I understand what she said: “it’s like you’ve taken a leap into liminal space – the unknown, insecure, unpredictable feeling of losing the sense of control and security.  And you’ve done this because Jesus told you to.”

Jesus told me to.

Wow, I’ve really become one of those Christians.

—-

I once heard from someone that it’s good to have the experience of literally selling all your possessions every 10-15 years, simply as a spiritual lesson.

Can you imagine if we actually, literally, did that?

Ah yes, in some cases it would be unwise and would do more harm than good.

But in some cases it’d be awfully wise.

I think one reason it’s so hard for me to fathom selling everything from time to time is because my attachments really are that deep.

—-

One of the reasons I love reading the book of Acts is because it’s so full of radical faith.  Disciples of Jesus are straight gangsta when it comes to the gospel and living it out.

Somehow, modern faith gets so sanitized to the point that Christianity means finding the way toward more security, more control, more comfort.

And maybe that’s why the invitation toward being a disciple includes some measure of selling or leaving or or dying to follow Him, as if experiencing the sensation of loss and dependence is essential to the Jesus Way.

I’ve shared before how the feelings of loss or falling come in almost every stage of life, so we constantly have opportunities to trust God more deeply in the normalness of life.

But what if we actively chose to leap into the unknown from time to time too, a way of “selling our possessions” as a discipline of trusting more deeply?

—-

I realize why church planting has been so invigorating for me.  The hard work of planting is all the unseen praying and trusting that God will provide and that God will show up.

Sure, there’s some calculated risk in what we’re doing (thank God for coaching and denominational support), but there’s the real chance that what we’re trying to do might not work.

And that’s why my spiritual life has been so invigorated.  I’m forced into a deeper level of trust than I’ve had in some time.

Starting a church and starting a family can do that to people.

And at the end of the day, I have no idea what’s going to happen over the next few months.  But for some odd reason, I have a strong intuition that God’s gonna be in it nonetheless.

He always is.