Wednesday, April 21, 2004


This is the question that haunts me these days. Is our mission to reach those who work in lower Manhattan like the stock brokers, lawyers, businesspeople? If so, how do we do that? Would we need to have communal worship services on a day other than Sunday because most of the lower Manhattan businesspeople don’t live downtown. They live in Brooklyn, New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, etc. They definitely don’t want to come back to the city on Sunday morning for worship services knowing that Monday is just around the corner. So is it them we are trying to reach and how outside the box are we willing to think? Are we willing to do a full-fledged (communion, etc) service on Monday night, Wednesday night, Thursday afternoon, etc?

Or is our mission to those who live downtown? Many of those who live downtown don’t necessarily work downtown. The area is growing and the most recent demographics tell us that lower Manhattan is made up of young, upwardly mobile, white, single, well-educated people. Are we trying to reach them?

The question, “what is our mission?” is born out of the need to have a mission, first of all, but also born out of my family’s desire to find a place to live that is comfortable and is conducive to our spiritual gift of hospitality.

A little background: Laura and I discovered our gift of hospitality while in Princeton. We loved having people over for dinner and did it often. We thrived on those days as I would vigorously clean the house while Laura prepared our meal. When I got done cleaning, I would gladly help out in the kitchen. People came to our house loving the relaxed environment that we worked hard (ironically) to create. We flourished in hosting “game nights” packing our small apartment full of guests. We continued this tradition in Ft. Worth as we experienced our gift of hospitality come to life. However, all that has come to a screeching halt here in NYC.

Our small, 500 square foot apartment is not at all conducive to hosting people. But when you have a gift, you have a gift and so Laura and I have learned how to host at the most 2 people in our small apartment. It is quite a fine dance we do on those nights we have two people over but it works and Laura and I are learning the moves of the dance. But to not be able to host a small group Bible study or to have more than 2 people over kills us! Our gift is not being used, ugh!

So, we went and looked at this apartment we got word of in Brooklyn (it’s actually in Boerum Hill) knowing that living out in Brooklyn goes against everything we have learned about planting a church. “You must live in the neighborhood where the church will be planted and embrace your surroundings,” goes the philosophy. The problem is this: the apartment we saw in Boerum Hill is fantastic! It’s huge at 930 square feet. The kitchen is fabulous and it actually has a place for a dining room table and has it’s own living room area. WOW! And the cost…well, let’s just say it is a steal at $1900 a month. To get a space like this downtown, lower Manhattan would cost at the least $3000 *or more* a month. We can’t afford that at all.

So what do we do? It would be of great help if the mission were defined. If we are trying to minister to/with the people who work downtown, Boerum Hill is not such a bad idea but if we are trying to minister to/with the people who live downtown then we need to live there…but we can’t afford to. UGH! What are we to do? What exactly is our mission? God? Anyone?

Dear Lord, please help us. Give us wisdom and discernment that is of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.