These are the Biblical ideals we are aiming for, transforming into, and practicing as a church. It’s what we measure ourselves against and believe Jesus called his people to be.
Parties, dinners, hangouts, and time together, with strangers and friends, was a hallmark of Jesus’ ministry. The early church kept the tradition going, and we see it as an essential part of the church today. The art of being in community is a lost art in our city where most people opt to lock themselves away every night after work to drown in Netflix and social media. Scripture calls for something more, centered around Christ, that builds deep friendships and is always welcoming to the "other". Our hope is to build a community that always has a place welcome for all who seek it, every night of the week. Jesus is often found in our conversations, food, and time together.
Discipleship is not a program that you go through; it’s a lifestyle of learning and obeying Jesus and the scriptures. That is the type of culture we want to foster and develop in our church — One that elevates the scriptures above our self, will, and desires to conform into the image of Jesus through obedience of what He commanded us to do. Our love for scripture informs how we preach and teach. It spawns lots of Bible Studies, ZION Academy classes, and endless conversation about God. The journey is oftentimes not linear and will look different for everyone. We embrace that and are building a culture of discipleship in our church rather than a program that is a one size fits all myth.
One thing we have said from day one and we hope is always said about us, is we want to look back at everything that has happened with our church and be able to confidently say, "Only God could have done that." We know that will only be the case if we are a church rooted in prayer. Prayer is a mark of humility and an indicator that we do not have the strength to do this on our own and are in need of a Sovereign Savior to guide and lead us in all we do. Prayer marked Jesus’ ministry and the ministry of the disciples after him. It is less about rattling off the things we want God to do for us and our vision for life and more about conforming to his will and desires for us. We want it to mark our lives and church the same.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Explore some key milestones for ZION.
Then Jesus came to them and said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
What it means to us to have a church in New York City.
Starting a Church in Bay Ridge
I love Bay Ridge. I grew up here. Lived most of my life here. It’s a neighborhood that has gone through significant change over the decades, but has never lost it’s charm. Owl’s Head Park, the 68th St. Pier, and the Shore Road Promenade are my favorite places to go.
What’s Different About Our Church?
I never liked small groups. I don’t think I ever have. I’ve tried to attend a few but they never work. I’ve tried to lead them, but the same thing. I just don’t like them. Most of my friends who are pastors don’t attend or lead small groups either. I needed to figure out why.
A Church for All Generations
Three years ago I was asked to lead my home church where I grew up. I was a 24 year old stepping into a senior role at a 30 year old church. My parents started the church when they were young and just had their first kid, my older brother Jason.
We Won’t be Perfect
This has been the hardest post to write. I knew what I wanted to say, but not how to say it. And I still don’t think I said it quite right. I’m scared. Maybe anxious is a better word. Some days I find myself in tears, overwhelmed by the support of others…