Updated: Jan 14, 2020
I (Jordan) was recently on a phone call with a staff member at a potential church partner. We discussed all of the reasons as to why God had laid New York City on our hearts. We talked about the fact that Queens had 21,000 people per square mile, that over half of the population living in Queens has come from a different country, and that if a Gospel-Centered church were to exist, there would be an enormous potential for global impact. We discussed the fact that there is currently 1 SBC church for every 38,000 people. We agreed that Queens is an incredibly strategic place for a church to be planted. He then asked me a question that I should’ve seen coming:
Why should you be the one to go?
This leader’s question is a fantastic one! In this world, there is so much need all around us. Every community needs more healthy churches planted; every church has its own needs; every business and organization needs Christians to be a light in darkness. The reality is, while many opportunities are good opportunities, not every opportunity is for every person.
So for the Floros: Why this? Why now? Why us?
Let me start with a preface. There are about a hundred reasons I could list off as to why someone else would be more qualified, more interesting, and more winsome than us to plant this church. Believe me, throughout this process, the enemy has seemed to broadcast those reasons in my head. Truth be told, in and of myself, I don’t possess the capability to do this. Thank the Lord that His Work is not dependent on my ability!
With that said, back to the question: Why us? Put simply, God has called us to go.
Throughout Scripture, we see average and ordinary people be used by God to do incredible things simply because they were listening for the leading of God and were walking in obedience to Him. With their open hands and obedient hearts, God defeated giants, fed 5,000 people with a lunchable, He healed the sick, raised the dead, and spread His church. We know that when God calls us, He makes the way and He empowers us to do the work. We also know that in His sovereignty, He begins preparing us long before those plans are revealed to us.
There are five ways that God has made clear His call for us to plant a church in Queens.
God has given us a Passion
From the very first time God led us to New York City, both Melissa and I have loved the city and its people! In 2015, Melissa and I led a mission team to partner with Connection Church’s Halloween Outreach in Astoria. We knew we loved the city but the thought of moving there seemed like an impossible dream in the distance. During that trip, Melissa purchased a magnet from a gift shop to be a reminder for us to pray for the Christians in New York City. We put that magnet on our fridge in every home we’ve lived. I can say with full confidence, I have thought about and prayed for New York City every single day for the past 5 years.
We‘ve been fascinated with the city’s culture, history, rhythms, and people! We love meeting people from the city and hearing their perspective. We’ve often asked, what’s your favorite thing about NYC? It has led to some amazing conversations about what God is doing!
God has given us a new Perspective
Growing up, I lived in communities that lacked diversity. The majority of people looked like me, believed like me, and thought like me. This all changed when I went to college in the upstate of South Carolina. I became close with my teammates who had very different backgrounds. I learned so much simply by asking questions and listening.
A few years later, God called our family to Houston to serve at a campus of Houston’s First. On the surface, this seemed like it would be a predominately anglo church; instead, our church reflected Heaven in an incredible way! We worshipped amongst a body of believers who came from all corners of the globe. My small perspective of what church should look like grew dramatically by learning from my brothers and sisters from other parts of the world.
God has and is Providing
Early in my walk, I remember hearing Rick Warren say, “Where God guides, He provides!” That mantra regularly repeats itself in my head when I ask myself the question, ‘how are we actually going to do this?’ That statement has never been more true for me than during this process. Over the past few months, we have seen God provide in extraordinary ways! In many instances, someone makes a connection for us with a potential church partner. At other times, God has urged Pastors to reach out to us and prompted them to take steps toward becoming financial partners with us. While there are still many things that could lead to us to worry, we’re praying that we would reflect on how God has provided for us in the past and as a result, our faith would continue to grow!
God has equipped us with the right Proficiencies
Through talking with individuals who help evaluate and coach church planters, it’s pretty clear that generally, church planting requires some basic skills that aren’t necessary, but are definitely helpful in the process. While serving in student ministry over the past 10 years, I’ve been able to cast vision, create systems for discipleship, lead outreach, follow-up with new visitors, share the gospel, train and develop leaders, counsel with families and individuals, and so much more! In two churches where we’ve served, we came into a student ministry with a very small group of students and leaders. We’ve thrived in places where we’ve needed to build from the ground up. On top of those ministry related experiences, I’ve been able to grow creatively as a graphic designer, learning video, and social media marketing. It only makes sense that our next season of ministry would utilize the things that God has been crafting in us for years!
God has given us a Purpose
Purpose is the reason why someone exists. It transcends everything. Why was I created? Why was I saved? Why was I discipled? Why was I given the opportunities to lead? Why did I succeed? Why did I fail? Why was I given my spiritual gifts? Why was I given the passions I’ve been given?
The answer to those questions is this: We’re here (and going there) to bring glory to God by using the gifts He’s given us, in the best way we can, to share His love with as many people as we can.
We are planting a multiplying church for the neighborhood, that is grounded in God’s Word and led by the Spirit, all for the Glory of God.
28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
We couldn’t be more excited for the things God is going to do in us and through us in New York City! Please pray along with us that we are faithful to walk obediently to calling we’ve received!