Photo by David Christenson (www.christensonphoto.com)
God is faithful! Our sons and daughters are going to see prayers answered. Christ’s righteousness is going to rain down on their generation, and the Lord will allow them to see his greatest works ever. If we pray earnestly and unceasingly, here is what God says he will do:
“I will look on you with favor… I will multiply the number of people… they will be fruitful and become numerous… I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean… I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you… Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the Lord have rebuilt what was destroyed and replanted what was desolate. I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it… So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people” (Ezekiel 36:9-11,25-26,36,38).
On Monday, March 12, 2012, the CLB Eastern Region Missions Committee (Regional Pastor Warren Geraghty, Brad Hoganson, Dan Christenson, and Jeff Olsen) spent the day exploring Union City, New Jersey, as one potential site for a new CLB church plant. Union City is situated on the Hudson River, at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, with the magnificent skyline of New York City looming above. This one-square-mile city is one of the most densely populated areas in the entire country. Large numbers of young professionals and their families are settling in Union City and commuting into Manhattan for their jobs. There is also a large Cuban and Hispanic population in the area. New church plants have already started in neighboring cities such as Hoboken, NJ.
Pastor Tim Keller’s Redeemer Church of Manhattan is helping plant scores of churches throughout the New York City area. Redeemer’s Assistant Pastor, Matthew Buccheri, was a recent presenter at Lutheran Brethren Seminary’s J-Term in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Pastor Buccheri led all of the CLB Eastern Region pastors in February and March in brainstorming and vision-casting for a new movement of church planting in the Eastern Region, particularly in the New York Metropolitan area.
Whereas past generations wanted to move out of the city, today’s younger generation is moving back into urban regions. My daughter Liz is a young business professional. She is engaged to marry a teacher and coach from Freshman Academy in Union City. They plan to reside in Union City, where her fiancé has taught or met most of the 3,000 high school students in the city. The Lord has seemingly opened up a great sphere of ministry for them.
For some time, we have believed that God is calling the CLB to a new movement of church planting. Maybe in Union City, NJ. Pastor Buccheri informs us that Redeemer Church would resource and work with the CLB to help plant churches in the greater New York City area.
God is faithful! I trust our sons and daughters are going to see prayers answered. They will see the Lord working to bring “flocks of his people” into previously ruined and needy cities. Pray that the Lord of the harvest would call and send out his workers, and that we would sense his open doors.
Rev. Dan Christenson is associate pastor at Mount Bethel Lutheran Brethren Church, Mount Bethel, PA.