Tuesday of this week I had the privilege of taking the train to Baltimore for a partners meeting with The Gallery Church Baltimore. It is hard to believe that a church that is still in church plant mode itself could be instrumental in planting another church, but that is exactly what The Gallery Church of Manhattan has done. Church Planter Ellis Prince and his wife Ginger along with their kids moved to NYC for about six months for training and have now been in Baltimore about 9 months planting The Gallery Church Baltimore. Ellis is a man’s man yet with visible compassion for the people of Baltimore. God has already begun to establish the work of their hands in a variety of wonderful ways. It was thrilling to sit in TGCB’s partner meeting Tuesday hearing testimonies and updates at what God was already doing. It is amazing what God does, when a group of people commits to living for the glory of God, the advancement of the gospel, and the good of a city while persevering through whatever comes their way. It takes missionary resolve. God has granted Ellis and his team just that as he shared at their partner meeting,
“We have had vehicles broken into, bikes and scooters stolen, home windows smashed, children rushed to the hospital because a junkie left a needle in a play area, people shot outside our homes, drugs sold from our steps, work environments from the gates of hell, and marriages challenged…our team has weathered and is weathering these types of storms.”
Maybe you are considering planting your life in a strategic urban center like Baltimore or New York. Pray that God will give you missionary resolve like Ellis and his team in Baltimore have. Should we expect better treatment than our master?
My second day was much, much better. As I gained my energy back and felt better as the morning progressed I began to try to get the apartment in some kind of (wont freak Susan out when she sees it) order. Corey Boyd who will be moving up this way with his wife sometime in the next several months told me it was going to be extremely tight as he helped me pack the truck. He was adding the square footage of our boxes compared to our apartment and well…it was scary. So my work was cut out for me. Aaron Coe our lead Pastor, came over to help me out. We made great progress. Susan, Jack, and Hannah arrived around 3:30 on Friday. I greeted the girls each with a flower from a bouquet that I bought 2 blocks from the apartment. Hannah had just driven into New York City for the very first time…I think she liked it. Susan was exhausted and was ready to get out of transportation mode. Jack was chillin and when I saw him all the woes of the first day immediately dissolved. It was so good to see them. I prepped them to think “small” right before we entered the door of the apartment so they’d be pleasantly surprised, and they actually were. We didn’t do a whole lot that afternoon, but that evening we met a group at Ruby Foos restaurant for Aaron Coe’s birthday. It was great to be out on the town, and it included sushi, so how can that be bad. Jack on the other hand was not extremely thrilled to be out. He had just flown for the first time, two flights (connection in charlotte) and walking out into a Manhattan intersection for Jack is like being immersed in his four favorite books, yet its all real and moving. Just a bit overwhelming, just a bit exhausting. We took a cab to the restaurant. You are not required by law to wear a seat belt in a cab nor is there any law in having kids strapped into a car seat. Interesting isn’t it. Jack’s mommy was less than thrilled…but are you really going to lug a hunkin car seat around every time you get into a cab? We had a great dinner but headed in early because Jack had hit his limit. Day two was awesome…I was with Susan and Jack in our new city.
On day three Susan began to work like an ant to get things situated in the apartment. I had pretty much gotten all the big stuff where it needed to go, and now she just needed to sort things how she wanted them. The Church had a mission team in that was helping put on a Fall Festival by the school we meet in on Sunday morning. Paul and Meredith Ramey (the Gallery’s new worship leader and wife) flew in late Friday night. Aaron and Paul came by and help me load my boxes of books in “the forerunner”. “The forerunner” is the lone car among the Gallery’s team that was donated. We each can use it as we may need it. (grocery shopping in NJ, etc…) Many of my books will go in the church office space. That helped clear the apartment out pretty good. Then Carmen (Aaron’s wife) and Meredith came by and invited Jack to go to the park with them…so Jack and Hannah went to the park with Carmen her son Ezra (who is about 6 months older than Jack), Meredith, and Hannah headed to the park while Susan and I continued to make sense of the mess of boxes. That evening was a good evening as we all ate at the Coe’s place about 8 blocks from our place. Aaron said a few words before we prayed and my heart exulted greatly in God as we prayed. It was one of those sweet confirming and strengthening moments as our minds and hearts could only imagine what is ahead.