Friday, February 22, 2008

Through Open Doors

What God has been doing through us
The CORE Church of Troy will soon celebrate two years of ministry in the inner-city of Troy, New York. We have seen great things from the hand of God during this time. We have grown from a group of seven to about 30-35 in our Sunday morning gatherings. We have started two small groups; one on Tuesday evenings that is in its infancy, and one on Monday evenings that will be resuming as of March 3rd. We have also seen great success with our CORE/kids ministry and will be adding a music component to this minstry as our worship leader, Donna Walsh, and I begin working with the kids to develop a children's choir.

The work on our church building is ongoing and progressing nicely. We have addressed some electrical and plumbing issues, as well as our outdoor ministry space tax issue with the city of Troy. This former vacant lot is being taxed by the city.We were told by the city's tax assessor what we would need to do to qualify this lot for tax-exempt status. We have addressed this issue and should see it removed from the tax rolls for the next tax year. We can then put that money to better use as we continue to serve and grow in the city Troy.

New doors God is opening to us
We are also seeing new doors opening, as we seek to make Christ known in the city of Troy, N.Y.

In my previous post I mentioned our newest development as we are in the process of starting a coffee house/cafe, which will be located in the downtown business district of Troy. Troy is the home of three colleges; Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Russell Sage College and Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC). This results in thousands of college students taking up temporary residence in Troy while striving to achieve thier academic goals. Many of these students congregate in Troy's downtown neighborhood at various times throughout the week. Downtown also sees many business people, state, county and city employees, as well as the inner-city, street dwellers.

God has been expanding my vision as a church planter, as well as my burden and passion for the city of Troy. Troy is the place where I was born and raised, and the place God has called me back to. As my family and I have obeyed and come to Troy, God has literally been giving us things; a debt free, structurally sound church building and parsonage, as well as a vacant lot that we have and will continue to use for outdoor community events such as Reach The Streets 2008, coming up this summer. There have been times when I've stopped and asked God if we're supposed to be here, which is simply my human nature kicking in. Each and every time God has met us with more abundant blessings.

The vision God has given me I have shared with our growing congregation. As such, we are seeing God reproduce leaders, which will lead to reproducing locations for worship gatherings in other neighborhoods in the city of Troy. In addition to North Central Troy (our home base for ministry) We are praying for North Troy (Lansingburgh) where I currently live with my family and Albia (East Troy), where my dad was born and raised, and where I spent a few of my premarital adult years living and working.

The CORE vision took us into Troy's most distressed, inner-city neighborhood known as North Central, where we have and continue to reach out to and serve the children and families who live in this neighborhood. The CORE vision has grown from the intersection of 6th Ave & 101st St. to points north, south, and east of North Central. I would include west, but that would place us in the Hudson River. However, as I cross any one of a half dozen bridges that span the Hudson River and connect Troy to the smaller cities of Watervliet, Green Island, Cohoes and Waterford, I am aware of the need for missionary/church planters in these cities as well.

God may expand my vision to include these territories, but for now I will be content to go where the Holy Spirit leads and walk through the doors He opens, and lead the way through those open doors as we seek to make Jesus Christ known in the heart of the city.

If you are inclined by the Holy Spirit to pray for the CORE Church of Troy, this gives you plenty of substance to add to your prayers on our behalf. We will be eternally grateful to you.