Who We Are
The most holistic word to describe the Christian life is “exilic”. The word ex-il-ic [eg-zil-ik] means the condition or period of living away from one’s home. Ever since Adam and Eve were exiled east of Eden, humanity has been on a quest to find meaning and a true home.
We see this theme of exile from Genesis to Revelation. Abraham was a wanderer. Moses and the Israelites were exiles in Egypt. The major and minor prophets - Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Esther - were exiled to Egypt or Babylon. Jesus himself was an exile in Egypt and on Earth itself. And the New Testament authors refer to Christians as aliens, strangers, sojourners, and exiles.
Additionally, Puritans such as John Bunyan have described the Christian life as a “Pilgrim’s Progress.” From Christ's first coming to his second coming, the Christian life is one of exile.
Of course, this does not mean that we are so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good. Neither does it mean that we are so earthly minded that we forget about our heavenly home. What it means is that we are dual citizens of both heaven and earth. Therefore, we do everything that we can to seek the peace and prosperity of New York City, while at the same time remembering that our true home is in the city yet to come.
Why We're Here
Connected by 14 bridges and four tunnels, the island of Manhattan is one of five boroughs of New York City. Manhattan is the densest area in the country with over 70,000 residents per square mile and over four million pedestrians on an average business day.
Manhattan is the home of Broadway, Wall Street, Madison Square Garden, and the Fashion District, making it one of the most influential and affluential areas in the world. It is the reason Manhattan attracts some of the brightest people from around the globe while self-producing the sharpest minds in our country with schools such as Columbia University, New York University, Cooper Union, and the Juilliard School.
Yet, for all its worldly accolade, Manhattan is considered one of the least churched regions in the country. According to a Barna Report, New York City is one the least biblically minded cities in America. It has one of the lowest share of self-identified Christians and the highest share of other faiths (New Barna Report Examines Diversity of Faith in Various U.S. Cities, October 11, 2010). It is the largest and densest city in America and yet has a limited Christian presence.
Tim Keller says, “New churches best reach the unchurched—period.” While it is foolish to plant a church in Manhattan with a triumphalistic spirit, it is important to remember that new churches are the most effective way of reaching this area.
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