Send NYC welcomes NYC City Representative


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Say hello to Emily Wood, the newly appointed NYC City Representative.  Emily arrived in metro NYC last year as part of a Send NYC and Lifeway partnership, and she is absolutely in love with her new city.

“I was created to live in a place like New York!” she says.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Emily graduated from Union University with a degree in International and Intercultural Studies. Emily has a heart to serve and reach the nations for Jesus Christ, ideal for her partnership work with Send NYC.

As a NYC City Representative, Emily will work to connect metro NYC church planters with partner churches around the country.

“It is my desire to foster and facilitate partnerships that encourage kingdom driven work in a city in need of the gospel. In order to do that I want to help church planters by assessing their ministry needs and desires,” she says. “Based on that information I will know how to partner church planters with church teams that would best fit their needs.”

We are thankful for Emily’s heart to serve in NYC and assist our church planters with logistics and partnership development. Pray for Emily as she continues to faithfully serve within the metro area.



Date Created: 9/16/2015 12:39:54 PM

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5 minutes with… Pastor Joel Berona 

Pastor Joel Berona and his wife, Maydeline, served for many years within a church planting movement on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 2012, the Lord shifted the couple’s ministry calling toward church planting in metro New York City. The couple, together with their son Angelo, started their mission in NYC in early 2015. The Berona’s are planting The Redeemer’s Church inWoodside, Queens - one of NYC’s most diverse communities.

Recently Pastor Joel gave us five minutes of his time to talk ministry, family, and serving. 

Share about how the Lord called you into ministry? 

He led me in the Bible School in 1984. It was in Bible school where my love for God and compassion for the lost was deepened, thus, I made a resolution right then and there to devote my whole life to loving the one who saved me and loving the lost that my Savior also gave his own life for. After my four years of bible studies, I was sustained by the grace of God in the pastoral ministry for 17 years in the Philippines before I came to the USA. It was here in the U.S. that God led me into the church planting ministry.

What drew you the community of Woodside, Queens? How are you enjoying the neighborhood? 

The leading of the Lord. The density in population of Filipinos. The fact that Woodside is also one of the best places in New York to reach all nations. We love this place, we feel like we are at home. We like the diversity. 

Woodside is one of the most unique and diversified places in Queens. Most of the Filipinos live here, along with other ethnic groups such as the Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Nepalese, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, etc. It is a very strategic place to start a church with a vision to reach the nations of the world. Pray that the Lord will open doors for evangelistic opportunities among the residents. 

When will The Redeemer's Church Launch?  

Our target date is January 2016. We currently have two bible studies are yielding fruit, and lives are being changed. People are being discipled for the glory of God. 

How can we specifically pray for you and your family? 

Pray for my wife's health and mine. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and will be going through chemotherapy starting in August. Please pray for God's provision as we go through our trials. Pray for my youngest son’s, Angelo, schooling this year. He will be going to a new school here in Queens this coming school year. Pray that he would easily adjust with his new school, likewise, pray for my two older sons that are currently living in Hawaii and assisting our church in Hawaii.


Date Created: 9/4/2015 10:10:05 PM

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Starting a “servolution” in Brooklyn

Danny Torres loves Brooklyn, and it shows. The Brooklyn native has served in several local churches and today, as lead pastor and planter of Swerve Church; Torres has a passion to share Christ throughout New York City’s most densely populated borough.

Through his Bushwick-based church plant, Torres is hoping to reach every culture, tribe, nationality, ethnicity, and race that occupies Brooklyn’s neighborhoods. The vision of Swerve Church is to lead people to become fully devoted followers of Christ. To this aim, Torres filled his summer with opportunities to connect with and serve his Bushwick neighbors.

In June, Torres and the Swerve team served at Bushwick City Fest, hosted at Irving Square Park. Hundreds gathered to enjoy live music, kids activities, BMX bike stunts, and complementary food. The Swerve team contributed to the event by giving away bottled waters and granola bars. Alongside these giveaways, Torres and his team kept their eyes open for opportunities to share the Gospel and were prayerful that people would surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

In July, Torres and the Swerve team organized and hosted a Bushwick Basketball Clinic. Free and open to all kids in the community, the Basketball Clinic taught local kids how to dribble, shoot, and pass the ball. Kids also heard coaching on the attributes of perseverance and good sportsmanship. The event gave the Swerve team the opportunity to introduce a large segment of the Bushwick community to the Church and invite them to future events and times of worship.

“We are so grateful to the Long Hollow Baptist Church and Generation Send teams who helped to make this clinic happen,” Torres said.

Also in July, Torres and Swerve started a new initiative all about loving on the Bushwick community. Called "Bushwick Love Week," the Swerve team asked each other, “what could you do to serve a neighbor or your community.” What came about what a week full of “loving” acts, which included: park cleanups, adopt-a-block cleanups, cleaning windows of local businesses, hanging basketball nets, hosting a BBQ for a local shelter, maintenance for a local shelter, and water and granola bar giveaways.

Based on the biblical principle to "serve one another in love," Torres was hopeful that Bushwick Love Week would start a “servolution”. The Swerve team and an army of volunteers had an incredible time serving throughout Bushwick and showing God's love in simple, practical ways.

“This would not have been possible if not for the hard work of Victory Baptist and First Baptist Great Falls,” Torres said. “Thank you so much for following God's leading in serving the people of Bushwick.”

As the summer comes to a close, Torres and his team continue to serve the community through their Brooklyn Nets Project, which has the group replacing the nets on basketball courts throughout Bushwick. Thus far, Swerve Church has placed or replaced 13 nets in four neighborhood parks, with more coming soon.

You can keep up with Swerve Church and Pastor Torres by following Swerve Church on social media: Twitter @SwerveChurch and To pray for the Torres family, and the growth of the church, visit to become a prayer partner.



Date Created: 8/16/2015 9:21:57 AM

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SEND New York City July Update

Summer is in full effect in the New York City metro area. There is much to celebrate and pray for this summer season. Send NYC church planters are hosting ministry events, welcoming mission teams, hosting preview services, and serving the city. With all that is going on, it is easy to  forget to pause and remember and thank God for all he is doing. Here are some things we are excited about:

-We have assessed 23 potential planters in 2015.

-There are 65 church plants of 5 years or younger in the metro area.

-We prayed to God for a French speaking West African church planter. God answered and his family will be moving to the city in July.

-There are over 110 SBC college students serving across the metro area this summer in church plants and existing churches.

-We are mobilizing indigenous leaders to plant churches.

-We prayed to God for a Guyanese church planter and he delivered.

Thank you for your continued support of the work in the metro NYC area. It is making a difference, as you can see from the praise report above. Please continue to pray and remember our work here.

If we can be of service, please email Send City Missionary, Steve Canter at

Praying for NYC  

In the spring and early summer we’ve welcomed nearly 60 new 451 Initiative prayer partners! This group of new prayer partners joins the hundreds already faithfully praying over a metro NYC community 4 times a week for 5 minutes a day for 1 metro NYC community. You, your community group, and/or your entire church can join us in praying for the diverse communities of our city, click here to learn more.

Send NYC has welcoming a new cohort of Generation Send student missionaries and NAMB summer interns. These young adults join us from around the country, each with a passion to serve the people of NYC and assist our church planters with community outreach projects and community-wide ministry events. Pray for these students as they spend their summer traveling and serving throughout the five boroughs. Pray they remain safe, pray they remain focused, and pray they have a great impact for Christ during their summer in NYC.

Sending Labs 

The Send Network and Dr. Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, have started hosting “Sending Lab” opportunities were Dr. Ezell personally answers the questions “what is a Sending Church” and “can my church really be a Sending Church.” Dr. Ezell will talk you and your church leadership through how your church can best live out this vital role and provide you with Send Network resources.

Between now and the end of the year join Dr. Ezell at one of three Sending Lab opportunities for Pastors and Mission Leaders:

September 10-11, 2015 

October 19-20, 2015

November 16-17, 2015

We will be hosting a Sending Lab in NYC for local churches and pastors on September 18. You can register for this lab, or any others by clicking here.

Additionally, Send NYC is hosting two Catch the Vision (CTV) tours in the coming months. A CTV tour enables your ministry team to explore NYC, engage metro NYC church planters, and gain an understanding of church planting in this great region. Join us for a powerful CTV experience on September 10-11 or November 12-13. Click here for more information.

Planter Highlights 

After completing training at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and serving in ministry since 1998, Nathan Creitz and his wife, Kim, sensed God’s call to minister to the people of NYC. The Lord led the couple, and their two children, to Ridgewood, Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the United States. In early 2013, Pastor Nathan launched City Life Church with the mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God and for the god of the city.

Pastor Nathan and City Life Church are prayerfully reaching the 100,000 people who live within a mile of the church location - about half of whom are foreign born and around 20,000 of them are from unreached people groups. Pray for City Life Church as they host summer outreach projects and welcome mission teams. You can read more about Pastor Nathan and City Life Church here 

Date Created: 7/19/2015 12:06:02 AM

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Faith and Waiting

Arkansas native Bryan Johnson grew up in his father’s church, and at age 25 he committed his life to fulltime ministry. Over time, the Lord developed within Bryan a love for the people and diverse communities of metro New York City. The young pastor landed in NYC and began his ministry; but he certainly was not expecting the turns his life and ministry would take.

Bryan’s story — one of building his city ministry, leaving the city discouraged, and then returning to the city hopeful — is a picture of faith and perseverance. Today, Bryan and his wife, Kristi, and their daughters are serving the fellowship at Mosaic Baptist Church in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The road to Brooklyn has been long and sometimes unclear, but the family is at home in Crown Heights and ready to dive headfirst into serving their neighbors.

Faith in Hardship 

In 2004, Bryan first moved to metro NYC. He served within a Christian camp ministry north of the city, and over the course of seven years God enabled him to minister to families in the South Bronx and contribute to a Bronx church plant. But, six years in to life and ministry in NYC, everything changed dramatically. Bryan abruptly found himself a divorced pastor and single father to teenage daughters.

“It was so unexpected, but God preserved us,” Bryan said of his “new” life. “In a short time I went from being an urban minister and church planter to being a divorced single dad, jobless, and homeless. But, God is faithful.”

After a period of healing and restoration, Bryan reconnected with a childhood friend – a lady named Kristi from his home church in Arkansas. During their courtship the couple connected through their mutual desires for Kingdom service and a desire to live and serve in NYC. Bryan and Kristi married and the family continued serving in NYC for a few months until it was clear the Lord leading the family back to Arkansas for a season of prayer and waiting.

“I knew in my heart we would come back, but it was tough moving 1,200 miles from where your heart and calling is,” he recalled.

Faith and Waiting 

As the family faithfully waited, Bryan contacted the North American Mission Board to inquire about their church planting vision. Doubtful that NAMB’s NYC church planting network would be accepting of a divorced pastor, Bryan was led to at least start a conversation. Bryan was connected with Steve Canter, NAMB’s NYC Send City Missionary. Canter encouraged the family to visit the city to engage church planters face-to-face as the family waited for God’s call. The family concurred and made their way to NYC and eventually Crown Heights. They met Pastor Stephen and Sonya Stallard and the Mosaic Baptist Church team during a community block party Mosaic was participating in. Instantly Pastor Stallard and Bryan developed a connection over shared ministry passions.

“It was one of those things where everyone immediately knows,” said Bryan. “Kristi and I were standing in the middle of the street and said, ‘Welcome home.’”

Crown Heights is approximately two-square miles and has nearly 200,000 residents that represent over a dozen major ethnic groups. Quickly Pastor Stallard and Bryan began to work toward getting the Johnson family relocated to the city, immersed in the Crown Heights culture, and establishing Bryan on the Mosaic Baptist Church staff.

“Stephen has valued my ministry experience as well as the difficulties in my life. He sees these as things that God can use to help grow the Kingdom,” Bryan said.

Funding the Call 

Answering God’s call to Kingdom service in Crown Heights meant securing funding to support the Johnson family in a place with one of the highest cost of living in the United States. Bryan would become a staff member of the church, but he would be personally responsible for fundraising his salary.

“When I was serving in NYC for nearly a decade before, I raised support. I hated it. I was poor at it. I dreaded it,” said Bryan.

Bryan attended NAMB’s Ministry Partner Development (MPD) training and prayed he wouldn't have to raise support. MPD training encourages and educates self-supporting ministry families in trusting God to develop their financial support through developing a team of ministry partners.

“God answered my prayer. I don't raise funds, I make partners. God doesn't need money, He wants hearts. He wants our obedience,” said Bryan. “The biggest part of partner development is the time spent with Him in prayer. The rest is simply sharing what God has done in our lives and what He is doing in NYC and inviting people to join with us.”

With a costly family move on the horizon, the Lord provided partners and funding. The family’s church in Jonesboro, AR, Central Baptist Church, has made the family a part of their mission strategy. Central Baptist Church has become a supporting church partner with the Johnson family and Mosaic, meaning they are actively participating through prayer, providing financial support for Bryan, and sending mission teams to serve with Mosaic. Additionally, the Johnson family’s support has came from, and will continue to come from, individuals – ranging anywhere from $200 to $10 monthly gifts.

“God has taken care of us in so many ways I hardly know where to start. From the selling of our house in Jonesboro, AR, to the amazing apartment He gave us in Brooklyn. He even gave us front door parking in front of our apartment for the moving truck as we unloaded, now that's a miracle! God is faithful,” said Bryan.

On the Ground 

In May the Johnson family settled into their Crown Heights apartment. Located just six blocks from Mosaic Baptist Church, the Johnson family loves the diverse, multi-cultural neighborhood they now call home. Bryan is serving at Mosaic as Director of Mobilization, and works to engage teams from around the country to come and serve with Mosaic.

“Not only are there many cultures and religions here, the economic diversity is growing quickly,” Bryan said. “Our neighborhood is up and coming with many people from all backgrounds and financial status moving in. I like to say we have "hood" and "hipster" in the same neighborhood.”

In the coming day, weeks, and months, Bryan asks for prayer for the summer mission teams that will assist Mosaic with community outreach programs. Pray for Bryan and his family, as they continue to find and develop ministry partnership. Pray for the Mosaic team as they continue to share what God is doing and invite people to join their mission through praying, giving, going, and sharing. 



Date Created: 6/9/2015 11:16:54 PM

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5 minutes with… Pastor Nathan Creitz

After completing seminary training at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and serving in ministry since 1998, Nathan Creitz and his wife, Kim, sensed God’s call to minister to the people of New York City. The Lord let the couple, and their two children, to Ridgewood, Queens, one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods the United States. In early 2013 Pastor Creitz launched City Life Church with the mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God and for the god of the city.

Recently Pastor Nathan gave of five minutes of his time to talk ministry, family, and serving.

When did the City Life Church launch? 

In March 2013 I had 70 college students from Alabama working with me. We targeted five neighborhoods in Queens and I sent them out to do servant evangelism and prayer walking. Towards the middle of the week, it seemed clear that Ridgewood, one of the five neighborhoods we were targeting, was more receptive to the kindness, prayer, and witness of these students. I contacted a Romanian church in Ridgewood that was strategically located and asked if we could use their building to host a Bible study for a new church plant. They agreed to let us meet there for free! The following week we launched our first Bible study with eight attendees. By September, we also began meeting on Sunday afternoons and averaged 25-30 people.

Where does your church gather?  

Our church still meets in the Romanian Baptist Church building. They have become strong partners as we work together to reach our community. Please pray for them as they minister primarily to Romanian speaking peoples.

Where does your family live? How are you enjoying that community? 

One month after we started the Bible study, our family moved to Middle Village — which is about a mile and a half from our church. The Lord providentially opened the door to our current house. It was listed as a two bedroom, single family home, but it has a finished basement that is almost as big as the main floor. We have our two children in their own rooms and made the basement into a master bedroom, as well as office space for my wife and I. All of this for the cost of a two bedroom apartment in Queens!

How can we specifically pray for you, your family, and your church family? 

We appreciate your prayers! Please pray for us that God may open doors in our community for the Gospel. We need boldness and genuine relationships with our neighbors. Pray for the 100,000 people who live within a mile of our church location (about half of whom are foreign born and around 20,000 of them are from unreached people groups). Please pray for our Spring and Summer outreach projects and mission teams.

Where does your church gather?  

Our church meets in a church building owned by a Romanian Baptist Church that is also part of our denomination. They have become strong partners as we work together to reach our community. Please pray for them as they minister primarily to Romanian speaking peoples.

How do you see the Lord moving among the people and families of Ridgewood?  

Just within the past couple of months we have seen several individuals who are going through extremely difficult circumstances find help and support from the church. We have prayed with them, offered counsel, and have done our best to demonstrate love in practical ways. Several people are going through our membership process and are candidates for baptism. 


Date Created: 5/14/2015 9:53:07 AM

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April SEND New York City Update

Flowers are blooming and trees are budding across New York City and her boroughs! 
Holy Week in NYC provided many influential and powerful ministry opportunities for our church planters. Easter weekend Send NYC celebrated the launch of three church plants in metro NYC! The Lord’s hand was on Iglesia ABC in the Bronx, Iglesia Crossroads on Long Island, and Mosaic City Church in Queens. Years of prayer, planning, and work went into the launch of these fellowships. Please pray for these churches and their ministry teams as they grow. 
If we can be of service, please email Send City Missionary, Steve Canter at 

Praying for NYC 

Hundreds of our 4-5-1 Initiative prayer partners are faithfully praying over a metro NYC community 4 times a week for 5 minutes a day for 1 metro NYC community.

Mott Haven, a community of roughly 50,000 people in the Bronx, is fighting to overcome physical and social ills. Violent crime, domestic abuse, teen births, and failing schools are just some of the difficulties Mott Haven residents face. Thankfully, Graffiti II, a Mott Haven church plant of Graffiti Church NYC, is offering the community after school programming and a safe place for spiritual growth. Easter weekend Graffiti II hosted its annual Easter Egg Hunt and welcomed over 4,000 community residents.

Consider praying for Mott Haven, or another neighborhood, by joining the 4-5-1 Initiative and signing up here.

Experiencing the City 

A “Catch the Vision Tour” (CTV) is a short, but powerful experience. You and your church staff can travel to NYC for a two or three-day experience. These are your primary opportunities to meet church planters and ministry leaders “on the ground” in metro NYC. CTV tours enable ministry teams from around the country to explore NYC in-person to gain an understanding of the who-what-when-where-how of church planting in the U.S.’s most densely populated urban environment.

  • May 28-29
  • September 10-11
  • November 12-13

Click here for move information on our upcoming CTV experiences. To inquire about CTV events and logistics, contact Steve Canter at 718-902-7174 or Come catch the vision for how your church can join God’s activity in the city!

Planter Highlights  

Slava Kovalenko and his wife, Olga, are a Russian-speaking ministry team from Kiev, Ukraine. Slava served the Church in Kiev for many years until hearing God’s call to the U.S. The Kovalenkos relocated to NYC in 2000 for Slava to attend seminary. Upon earning his Master of Divinity in 2003, Slava was called as an associate pastor to Grace Baptist Church in Brooklyn.

The couple lives in Nyack, New York, but love serving and working with the Russian-speaking population spread throughout metro NYC. In Manhattan, the couple has established an Upper West Side hub to reach Russian-speaking people throughout the boroughs of the Big Apple. Additionally, they are working toward launching the Russian Baptist Church, also on the Upper West Side. 

Read more about Slava’s ministry work here



Date Created: 4/20/2015 10:26:15 PM

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