Why Start a Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn?

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. I can find whatever type of food I want, reach anywhere in the city by train or bus, and proposed to my wife here. Starting a church in Bay Ridge, a place that has been so good to me, is exciting.

Between high school and college I moved to Ohio for a year. I went from city living to having a 1,000 acre corn field in my backyard. Once, I tried to walk home from church because it was a 15 minute drive. I’ll never forget my lesson from the suburbs that day. A 15 minute drive in NYC meant a 30 – 40 minute walk. A 15 minute drive in the suburbs didn’t. Me and my friend, who was also from Brooklyn, realized an hour and a half into our walk that we were only halfway to our house. Dress shoes, no sidewalks, and the middle of the summer made a recipe for really pissed off New Yorkers. Thankfully a friend saw us on the side of the road and picked us up. Suburb life isn’t for me. I was made for the city.

I like walking to the store at all hours of the night. I love picking up my son to the window to look at firetrucks, ambulances, garbage trucks, and gas tankers every 20 minutes so he can go ‘Wowwww.’ I learned in my year at Ohio that I loved New York more than I ever realized and God was calling me back there. Not just to live my life, but to live my mission. New York would never just be home again, it would be my mission field.

Fast forward ten years and maybe you can get a small glimpse into why I am so excited. Bay Ridge is in need of more churches that are gospel centered. Churches that will reach out to the influx of Middle Eastern refugees that have taken up residence there. Churches that will bridge the gap between the long term residents and the new ones coming in. And churches that will be a safe haven no matter what ethnicity, bank account, age, or past you have.

Bay Ridge has 80,000+ inhabitants and the average church age is 50+. Don’t get me wrong. I love 50+ year old people. I pray lots of them are a part of the church. But, this shows the religious community here has not had an impact on the last few generations.

I hear God asking me and my family to be a part of a movement in Bay Ridge. One that reaches the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the new comers, and the old timers. I’m glad to answer that call, and I’m glad to ask others to join me in that answer.

If you are more curious about Bay Ridge, check out this article the NYT just wrote on the neighborhood: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/10/realestate/living-in-bay-ridge-brooklyn.html?_r=0

Author Justin Mattera

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Angela Lopez Adorno says:

    Many blessings Justin

  • Darlene Cocivera says:

    I am so excited for you Justin!!!!! I cannot wait to visit your church. I love to hear you preach!!!! Many blessings Justin!!!

  • Lori Hernandez says:

    Whoop Whoop!!! Yes!!! Bring themail all back home to papa…Let them know thereally is more then the streets and their father bought them with a price!!!! Exciting

  • Lori Hernandez says:

    You should have an “edit comment button”, lol..

    Correction : Bring them all back home to papa.

  • Joyce Mattera says:

    As Justin’s parents and as pastors we are so proud and excited about this new endeavor for the work of God. New church plants tend to lend themselves toward vigorous outreach to those that don’t know Christ as they seek to grow, not from transfer of people from other churches, but from new people coming to Christ. We are encouraged by Justin’s burden to reach out to new people groups and bring them to Christ. As a multigenerational church well into its third decade now, we are encouraged to see the blessings of a new work set out to bring further expansion to the kingdom of God. And It’s an extra bonus to have Justin remain right “next door” as we get to enjoy the blessing of strong and close relationships as we build the kingdom of God side by side.

  • Melody Rodriguez says:

    I pray blessing and favor in this endeavor to expand the Father’s Kingdom. May the Spirit of the Lord draw many to himself as he uses you as His vessel in this new church. God keep you and your family as you seek first His kingdom and His rightousness. In Jesus’ name!

  • Elaine Ortiz says:

    Our prayerful support as always Pastor Justin and Heather Mattera.


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  • Drew says:

    I’m so glad you have a heart and vision for Bay Ridge. I lived in Flushing for a while and took a trip to Bay Ridge one time to see the Arab influence for myself. I pray you see many Muslims pass from darkness to light! And people from every background.

    I would say this though….you want to reach millennials…commit now to never compromise doctrinal purity for the spirit of the age in the church. Keep Jesus Christ the focus and not man and preach HIS word! Don’t seek the visions and prophecies of men. I’m watching so many precious young people getting sucked into dangerous doctrinal movements…promising them they can be the greatest generation the earth has ever seen, while leading them away from the word of God. Be relevant by accurately handling the word of truth, preach the glorious gospel, and stand firm upon the Rock of our salvation!

    May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His sufferings!

    Grace to you, my precious brothers and sisters in Bay Ridge.

  • Jayson Suledo says:

    Isn’t this church technically in Sunset Park? why promote Bay Ridge more so than the location that the church is actually in? Is this church not interested in reaching sunsetpark? It’s a more than a mile from that church to owls head… Seems like it’s based on demographics than anything else

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