JUNE 2014 NEWS
The Next Chapter for New York United by Ron Gladden | Directional Leader
I wish that I could describe the energy and joy of the congregation along with their minister of music on keyboard. You rarely find people who shower you with genuine love like they do. Their commitment to Jesus and the gospel commission is snatched right out of the Book of Acts.
Who are they? They are the people of New York United Sabbath-day Adventist Church in New York City. Despite problems with race discrimination, around 1936, New York United continued to hold on to their beliefs but became incorporated as a self-supporting ministry.
In 1955, they obtained a brand new building on West 110th Street – directly adjacent to Central Park. The church remained self supporting for almost 50 years. Pastors came and went. Attendance ebbed and flowed.
INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
Fast forward to 2002, when the church hired Pastor George Whiteman to lead them. With his appointment came deep respect for the past coupled with a strong vision for the future. People began to dream again. They had hope. In 2007, NYU linked up with Mission Catalyst to begin a mutually beneficial relationship based on love for people far from God and a determination to get the message out to thousands. They relaunched with a renewed vision to reach the unchurched in their community.
Until recently, Pastor George was an officer with NYPD. While he was proud being a part of this honored profession, he longed to be able to give full time and attention to the church. NYU hadn’t been able to pay a full salary to the lead pastor, much less a team of pastors, so full-time ministry had remained a dream for Pastor George. But, recently, something happened that is changing everything.
Perhaps you noticed it as you were reading; the solution is in their story. In 1955, they secured property on Central Park at the right time.
MORE THAN THEY EVER DREAMED
A few months ago, NYU sold their building to developers, which was a tough decision, arrived at after much thought and prayer. It’s opening up more doors than they ever dreamed. They’ve secured a building in Harlem that will serve as a worship facility and a youth and family center once renovations are completed.
Pastor George is now able to lead the church full time, along with a team that is dedicated to doing God’s work. And they are brainstorming ways to make an impact far beyond their own walls.
If you’ve hung around Mission Catalyst very long, you know that we embrace the maxim that everything rises and falls on leadership. What a difference this will make for NYU!
“It’s so normal to question God,” says Pastor George, standing up on his soapbox and starting to preach. “All of us tend to ask why we have to go through difficult times, and our church asked those questions during some of the darkest days. But now we see that God had a plan. If we had not invested in that Central Park property, we wouldn’t have half the blessing that we have today. It took a number of years to unfold, but God was with us all the way, and look at how He has blessed!”
God is alive, and He knows what He’s doing. If you’re ever in New York City on the weekend, I hope that you’ll worship with New York United. Please join us in prayer for Pastor George, his wife Alemtsai, their team of leaders, and the many people in Manhattan and Harlem who need Jesus. And pray that God will continue to impress others to be audacious for the kingdom.
Your coworker in Christ,