A couple of months ago, a visitor to the church asked who we are, at this point in our development as a church. This is my response, in part:
1) Gospel-centered. We think the good news about Jesus is worth centering your life on. His death for us has changed everything, and we are constantly putting that truth before people as much as possible, through our worship and the ways we serve the neighborhood and city. The gospel is not just how you become a Christian but also how you grow as a Christian.
2) We're a deep church. I've been very influenced by Deep Church by Jim Belcher. He critiques churches that just exist to make people feel good or entertain people. A lot of churches can be pretty shallow, providing pat answers to difficult questions or unwilling to walk with people through the ups and downs of life. Many church communities in NYC can be superficial, overly concerned with how people act, dress, look or where they work. We believe the gospel brings together diverse people and calls us to form deep, healthy relationships; a family in the city, where many of us are far from home.
3) We're an underdog church. My wife and I picked up our lives in Seattle, sold our home, most of our belongings and moved out here in 2010 with no money and no plan. Other churches take a lot of people from other churches or a group of people move to NYC en masse. Other churches are worldwide "brands" that everyone has heard of. We obviously had none of that. We simply trusted in God and we loved New Yorkers. We felt a deep connection to this place and wanted to serve and love the people here: the poor, the rich, the lonely, the brilliant, the Ivy Leaguers and the Bowery bums. It has been quite an adventure! All that to say, we're not a cool or hip church. We have a big mix of people. There will be a lot of young people, and I think you'll connect easily with a nice group of friends and a close knit community. But there's also a huge variety. We've got the Ivy League educated white collar class but also homeless folks. We've got lifelong New Yorkers in the 60s and 70s and also NYU and Cooper Students. And our nursery has three little babies with another on the way. Some folks grew up in church like you and I but many are new Christians or people checking out Jesus for the first time. I teach a course on the basics of the faith every Wednesday night. We don't have a grandiose plan to be on TV or dominate NYC. We want to do simple things with great love. We want to be part of redeeming our neighborhoods one person at a time.