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