God has given so much to Epiphany Lutheran Church! A little over a year ago when we started on this adventure in New York City we truly didn’t know what to expect. All we knew was that God had called my family and a few friends nearby to start a new Lutheran Brethren Church. The prospect of starting a church from scratch in one of the most secular/post-Christian cities in the United States seemed overwhelming (sometimes it still does). Questions like “How would we gather more people? How would we raise the money to fund this mission? How would we find a place for worship?” filled our minds as we gathered to pray over this effort. Nevertheless, it was exciting to think about God working through us and among us.
We knew, as Solomon said, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). So then, what has God given to “build his house” in New York City over the last year?
God has given us numerous opportunities to engage our community in Gospel conversations. Literally hundreds have been met and relationships have been built.
God has given us community. Oh it is gloriously messy, but God is forming a church here with a bunch of unlikely people. Whether it be at our small groups or at our outreach for skeptics (QA, a bi-weekly question and answer time with me at a local restaurant), God has seen fit to gather people from every walk of life under our roof for Bible study and conversation.
God has given us opportunities to serve our neighborhood. Specifically through a ministry we’re calling “Feed ABC,” God has gathered people from our community and from other CLB churches in the Eastern Region to feed the poor, pray with the poor, and share the gospel with the poor.
God has given us wonderful partnerships. I have received amazing training for urban ministry over the last year from Redeemer City to City. More recently I’ve received personalized mentoring from Tim Keller on a monthly basis. Redeemer Presbyterian’s downtown congregation has partnered with Epiphany, giving us opportunities to speak at their church and invite Redeemer attendees to join our mission. On top of this wonderful church partnership, para-church ministries like InterVarsity have asked me to join them for a monthly outreach to NYU graduate students.
God has given us a building to hold worship services in. A historic Lutheran church in the heart of Stuyvesant Town has opened their doors to us! We’ve already begun holding preview services!
God has given us abundantly more than we could have ever asked or hoped for. And he has done it through the gifts of people like you praying for us and supporting us financially. There are many challenges ahead and we need as many of you as possible sending in your support, but we go out on mission with open hands, eager to receive what God wants to give us next.
Rev. Erick Sorensen is the church planting pastor at Epiphany Lutheran Church in New York City, New York.
To support Epiphany Lutheran Church visit: www.epiphanylutherannyc.com