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Josh McGuire, Serve Church @joshmcguire60
Michael Kostelnik, Charis Church @charis4lc
Rocky Taylor, LifePoint Church @LifePoint_Ohio
Tom Wright, Mosaic @twrightihs
Joe Jaworski, Village Chapel @joejaws1
Jason Hickerson, Gateway Downtown @jasonhickerson
Zach Weihrauch, Gateway Heights @zweihrauch
Dan Ghramm, Gateway West @danghramm
Alex Ennes, Gateway Rocky River @alexennes
Dan Anthony, Rock Point Church @rockpointglobal
Jeff Bodziony, Forward Church @ForwardCLEl
In 2012, the Lord used two events to grasp the attention of
Raleigh Sadler. Over the course of one month Sadler’s job was eliminated, thus he
was faced with losing the benefits and security that comes with full-time
employment, and he said goodbye to a best friend taken by cancer.
“During this time, God opened my eyes
to the fact that I have an expiration date,” Sadler said. “I began to think
about my passion to serve the weak and vulnerable in a major urban area. After
much prayer and with no guarantee of success, I sold everything and moved to
NYC to serve as a NAMB MSC (Mission Service Corps) missionary.”
Sadler, who always said he’d never end
up in New York City, found himself serving the city’s weak and vulnerable
though two ministry positions: Director of Justice Ministries at Metropolitan
New York Baptist Association (MNYBA) and Pastor of College and Justice at
Much of Sadler’s ministry is advocating
for those living in the anguish of human trafficking. Sadler recognizes that
watching a documentary or reading statistics about human trafficking can be a
heart-wrenching, moving experience, but nothing breaks your heart like
realizing that those close to you, friends even, have been impacted by sex
“In NYC, I have several friends that
have been prostituted,” Sadler said. “Hearing their stories is heartbreaking.
However, I am reminded that God is at work and will use the Church to help
bring an end to this injustice.”
Sadler, age 35, is driven by a passion
to see the local church love God and love their neighbors holistically.
“God has not called us to proclaim the
Gospel alone, but to demonstrate it as well. As Christians, we talk about being
‘the hands and feet’ of Christ. However, we will never be the hands and feet of
Christ unless we are his eye and ears,’ Sadler said. “We must be looking for
those who are weak and vulnerable in our community before we will ever care for
them. With that said, justice ministry happens when we carry out the ‘Great
Commission’ through the ‘Great Commandment’.”
To enable Christians to look for and then serve the
vulnerable, Sadler started the Let My People Go (LMPG) movement. He explained
that the LMPG movement was created to call the local church to recognize that
God desires to set people free.
“For example, as Moses went to Pharaoh,
he was not merely asking for Israel's physical emancipation alone,” Sadler
said. “He called for their freedom to worship God freely on the mountain. The
physical redemption of God's people as well as the spiritual redemption are
Sadler’s vision for LMPG is to know
that evangelical churches around the country strategically find, reach out to,
and care for the weak and vulnerable within their communities.
Sadler leads LMPG Immersion Experiences,
which are unique short-term mission trips for college students that desire to
minister to a segment of metro-NYC’s most at-risk population.
Sadler said of the Immersion Experiences,
“The goal is to expose students from all over the country to brokenness in NYC.
Typically when the students arrive, they spend the mornings learning about
different elements of social injustice. Then they are sent out to pray over and
survey brothels in Manhattan. Throughout the week, they also work with two
vulnerable populations: the homeless and at-risk teens. As they go home they
are not mourning the end of a trip, they are celebrating the realization of the
mission to which they are called.”
As Sadler continues his ministry, pray
for his personal wisdom, clarity, and for a continued dependence on the Gospel.
As for his ministry, Sadler requests prayers for his ability to build
relationships with financial partners.
For additional information on the LMPG
Immersion Experiences and to follow Sadler’s ministry efforts, see www.RaleighSadler.com, and follow him on
Twitter: @raleighsadler and Facebook: www.facebook.com/raleighsadler.
Date Created: 7/19/2014 1:28:25 PM
With 125,000 living in a three-square-mile area, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, needs a Gospel witness. Jon Carr, church planter and lead pastor of Metro City Church, is hoping to be such a witness in Sunset Park. Together with his wife Bonnie and their daughters, Kayla and Emily, Carr is preparing for a fall launch of weekly services. Carr recently took a moment to share about his community and Metro City Church.
How did the Lord place NYC on your heart: My initial experience with NYC was a mission trip. Through a long and gradual process, the Lord gave us a great burden for the people of New York and led us to this great city.
How are you reaching Sunset Park: We had a community BBQ a few weeks ago, we also set up a prayer stand in the community. We work in a local senior center and help clean up our streets and parks. In the future we will host various family events.
When will Metro City Church launch: We have worship services at 4 p.m. on the last Sunday of the month during the summer and will launch weekly services the last Sunday in September.
Snapshot of your church body: We are a multi-ethnic church reaching mainly second and third generation immigrant families. We have families with children as well as young professionals and students.
What has been your church’s largest struggle: About a year after moving to NYC, we went through a period of great trials. We struggled to find a location for the church, we were publicly attacked, and were emotionally and spiritually exhausted.
The Lord was faithful throughout our trials and used them for our good and His glory. He led us to our current community and provided a team, a meeting location, and is granting us favor in our neighborhood.
How can people be praying for your church: Pray that the Lord will continue to give us favor in our community and as we reach new people they will learn to continually learn to follow Jesus. We have a worship team to lead through the summer months, but will need a permanent team starting in September.
Who are your sending churches: North Metro Baptist Church (GA), Cornerstone Church at Bay Ridge (NY), Sandy Plains Baptist Church (GA), Gilliam Springs Baptist Church (AL)
Date Created: 7/7/2014 11:01:19 AM
Just a ferry ride from Manhattan,
Staten Island is a retreat from the busy New York City streets for nearly
500,000 residents. Full of parks and beaches, the borough is steeped in history
and boasts a strong community. For Pastor Nick Mustakas, Staten Island is a rich
mission field. Mustakas and his church plant, The Journey Church Staten Island,
are passionate about reaching the 86 percent of Islanders that do not have a
relationship with Christ.
Mustakas has spent nearly all of his
life on the Island. With his wife Julie, he is now raising his son, Noah, on
the Island. New York City’s third-largest borough, Mustakas says Staten Island
is packed with culture and home to people that place a major emphasis on
relationships and family.
“Soon after deciding to follow Jesus in
2007, I felt the call to ministry and over the past few years God laid it on my
heart to go back to the people I know to share His love and how they can find
freedom in him,” he said.
Mustakas led the formal launch of Journey
Staten Island on Feb. 9, 2014. Prior to launching, Mustakas and his launch team
led the congregation during monthly services and community outreaches.
“Our launch team have become like
family – we literally do life together,” Mustakas said. “They help Julie and I
as we raise our new son and as we start this church.”
After their winter launch, Mustakas and
his launch team thoughtfully worked to maintain momentum going into spring.
Every first-time guest to Journey is presented with a handwritten note from
Mustakas, a book on Christianity, as well as a $5 gas card. In the days
following their visit, first time guests also receive an email that thanks them
for attending and includes information about church events.
To further build relationships,
Mustakas also reaches out to second-time guests with a personal letter
containing a $5 Starbucks gift card and follow-up email.
Mustakas is thrilled to see his church
family starting to impact Staten Island for Christ. As of late-May, 49 people
had made decisions to follow Jesus Christ. With great celebration, on July 20,
the church will host a time of baptism on the beach for all of Journey’s new
“Every week we get to experience life
change,” he said. “People bring family and friends and we see them accept Jesus
and see God move in them. It’s so cool to see!”
As Mustakas continues to reach
Islanders, pray for his spiritual growth and strength as he balances his
responsibilities as pastor, husband, and father. As for Journey, pray that the
church becomes widely known as a place where the people of Staten Island have
an opportunity to learn about Jesus and grow in their walk with Him.
For more information on Journey Staten Island,
follow them on Twitter @JourneySI.
Date Created: 6/25/2014 8:30:28 PM
Over the span of six years God laid a
burden on the heart of Steven Stallard to plant Mosaic Baptist Church, a multi-ethnic
church that will reach the nations. Stallard and his wife, Sonya, felt the Lord
was drawing them to Brooklyn, the most populous of New York City's five
The couple, with their daughter Malia,
landed in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a two-square-mile neighborhood of around
200,000 people. With the support of five partner churches and NAMB, Stallard
has begun the work planting Mosaic.
“It is an ethnically diverse
neighborhood with a distinct Caribbean feel. It has a unique history of racial
tension,” Stallard said of his neighborhood.
The family started a small group Bible
study in their apartment, a group that is preparing to multiply into a
second venue. Stallard and the Mosaic’s members are
conducting community outreach events around Crown Heights and are prayerfully
looking forward to a formal launch of weekly services on Sept. 7, 2014.
Though still young, Mosaic is already reaching
the nations. Stallard says Mosaic is, “ethnically diverse—with
eight different countries represented so far; the church is 75% non-white, as
well as generationally diverse.”
Stallard and the church are working to help
on-the-go New Yorkers slow down their rhythms of life to commit to Christ and
His Church. As the church approached their formal launch, join them in praying
for their momentum and influence in Crown Heights.
For updates on Mosaic, follow the church on Twitter: @mosaicbrooklyn.
Date Created: 6/15/2014 7:42:07 PM
been a blessed season for Cross Church NYC, an Upper East Side church plant
under the leadership of Pastors Drew Griffin and Andrew George. Cross Church
NYC (CCNYC), prayerfully launching in 2015, has welcomed four mission teams this
spring which have accomplished much in the church’s target neighborhood of
The teams, one
from partner-church First Baptist Church of Inola, Oklahoma, and three from Hunter
Street Baptist Church of Birmingham, Alabama, were able to serve a Yorkville
institution, the Museum of Motherhood (MOM). Teams assisted by cleaning and
restoring several exhibits and preparing the MOM for relocation. While working
with the MOM, the teams were able to engage several individuals in gospel
of the museum said, “this is why people throughout history have always
wanted to live by Christians, because they were the ones who would serve others
and love other unconditionally.”
As part of
CCNYC’s desire to “Serve Others” and “Share Community,” Pastors Griffin and
George also engaged the mission teams in ministering to the Yorkville homeless through
their “Don’t Walk By” initiative. The teams were able to feed and interact with
several homeless individuals.
the mission teams spent considerable time prayer walking throughout Yorkville,
praying specifically for potential CCNYC meeting sites, outreach areas that can
be engaged this summer, and for the families and leaders of Yorkville.
Griffin and George are working towards beginning their second and third small
groups and preparing for additional mission teams. Griffin and George request
prayer support that they would make much of Jesus,
continue to build community in Yorkville, and make the gospel known in the
Date Created: 6/10/2014 9:44:06 PM
By Emily Griffin
When he talks you don’t hear a Texas
twang, just tales of a love for sharing the gospel with the people of Long
Native Texan Sterling Edwards is the
lead pastor of Crossroads Church of Long Island, which he launched in Farmingdale
in 2006, and followed with a second location in East Islip in 2012.
Edwards’ road to Long Island started after
the tragedies of September 11, 2001. The membership of First Baptist Church of
Katy, Texas, began praying about how they could reach those so closely affected
by 9/11. The church began setting aside funds for a metro-NYC church plant and also
started a conversation with Edwards about sharing the gospel in the nation’s
most influential region.
After months of prayer, interviews, and
assessments, Edwards entered into a partnership with FBC Katy, NAMB, and
additional financial partners to afford the his family the opportunity to move
to Long Island – the 118 mile island branching into the Atlantic Ocean from New
“We knew nobody – we didn’t have a launch
team, we didn’t have a building – but in the process the Lord has broken our
hearts for the people of Long Island,” said Edwards.
As the Edwards acclimated to Long
Island they found the personality and culture of Long Island to be uniquely its
own. Islanders tend to be highly educated, highly cynical, and highly skeptical
– a church planting challenge to say the least.
“They take nothing at face value,” said
Edwards. “Thusly, the relationship that we (Crossroads Church) build with them
is pivotal. You can’t just hype up and event and expect people to come, you
have to first build a relationship, then a friendship, and go from there.”
With a population of nearly 3 million
people, the two counties that comprise Long Island (excluding the New York City
boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens) are in desperate need of gospel presence. Statistics
on Long Island’s evangelical presence are bleak:
“There are currently a total of 8-10 English
speaking Southern Baptist Churches on Long Island. Yet, Long Island possesses a
population of nearly 3 million people,” said Edwards. “If you were to combine
the total memberships of all of the Southern Baptist Churches on Long Island,
it would come to less than 300 people.”
A largely affluent culture, Edwards
shared that the tangible and economic needs of most Long Islanders are met, but
they do not recognize that they have spiritual needs and most lack the comfort,
hope, and forgiveness that comes through a relationship with Christ.
As a pastor, Edwards often sees first
hand the cynicism and skepticism of his fellow Islanders, but, he says that his
fellow Islanders are some of the nicest, kindest people one could ever meet.
“My family and I genuinely love the
people, we genuinely love living on Long Island. We could not image living
anywhere else — but that has been a process, it was not how we felt when we
first came here.”
Edwards’ love of Long Island and her
people inspired him to share what he had learned through the launch of
Crossroads Church. In 2011, Edwards and Luis Rivera,
co-pastor of Crossroads, founded Reconcile 519, an
organization that works with NAMB to serve as a church planting multiplication
center on Long Island.
Reconcile 519 is looking to establish
20-25 churches on Long Island in the next 20 years in Long Island’s Suffolk and
“It is just about reaching people, and
figuring out how we are going to connect and share the name of Jesus with
people,” said Edwards. “It is about individuals and being purposeful.”
Since the launch on Reconcile 519,
the organization has welcomed hundreds of volunteers onto Long Island to reach the
community for Christ.
To make the Reconcile 519 vision a
reality, additional pastoral leadership is needed. Church planting on Long
Island is challenging both in term of cost and the emotional toll it takes on
“We need leadership even more than
money,” said Edwards. “We need to see pastors develop – we’d like to raise up
leaders in existing churches and plant out of existing churches. We are to a
point were the leadership is essential and we are making it a part of our discipleship
Edwards explained that pastor and
ministry leaders are trying to give everything they have to advancing the gospel – and naturally they tire and yearn to see more growth, movement, and
“We know God is doing a great work on
Long Island, we need to see renewal and refreshment – we need to stay focused,”
Currently, Edwards and Reconcile 519
are working to plant a church on the campus of Stony Brook University and
assisting church plants in Shirley, New York, and Kings Park, New York.
For more information on Crossroads
Church of Long Island or Reconcile 519 see www.crossroadsli.org
Date Created: 6/4/2014 1:54:37 PM
By April Smith
Six months ago the Lord led me to Brooklyn, New York, but little
did I know how much Brooklyn would tug at my heart. I had been to New York as a
high school student, but at the time I was convinced I would never live here or
even come back.
However, God ended up having a different plan because He
brought me back for a second visit and now a third time to serve as an intern
at Cornerstone Church at Bay Ridge.
Each time I have been here has been significant. Especially in the
season I am in now, God has been teaching me so much. I have only had my feet
wet for six months, but I’ve discovered that living here isn’t as bad as I would
When I thought of New York I was overwhelmed with thinking about
how a small town girl like me would manage living here for a year, but God has
reminded me that nothing is impossible.
I have also learned to “never say never” to God. He knows what I
need, and I didn’t know how much I needed New York! No, it’s not the rolling
hills of Kentucky, which is where I am from, but Brooklyn has a beauty of its
I love looking around and never knowing what I will experience! I love
seeing all the different shops and I love the smells from the bakeries—which
makes up for the “other” smells in the subway.
there are other joys to encounter while riding on the subway—like meeting new
people or seeing random people sing. Brooklyn is a colorful place—there is
just so much to experience.
Serving at Cornerstone Church has allowed me to experience new
friendships such as my developing relationship with my pastor’s neighbor, who
is Arabic. I’m still getting to know her, but she already shares her awesome Baba
ganoush with me—something I don’t get back home!
If you plan to visit Brooklyn or New York, you must be
willing to be open and put away your stereotypes of New York in order to really
appreciate it. I could write all day about my experiences but to be honest you
just have to come.
If God were to call you here I would tell you "obey, obey,
Date Created: 5/5/2014 3:01:08 PM
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