Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Off to a great start!

I was born and raised here in Troy and tried to go somewhere else to plant a church but God had another plan that I had to surrender to. I'm seeing a huge work before us. In this city of 50,000 there are many unchurched and many college students with RPI and Russell Sage being here in a Troy. This is, as you know, an old, warn out, industrial age city. Like Albany and surrounding cities, Troy is seeing its own come back, slowly, but it's on the rebound. This is a great time to be back here in this city and to be a part of God's plan for the people who live here.

Our starting point is North Central. That is Troy's darkest, most economically and physically depressed neighborhood. When we said yes to God at the invitation to come to this neighborhood (the last on most church planting maps) God literally started giving us things. First it was our current church building, which was a Baptist church for many years and had closed its doors at the end of 2005. Then it was a 3 bedroom parsonage that we learned came with the church, which immediately solved my wife's biggest concern about where we (me, my wife and two sons) would live. Then there was our vacant lot,now known as the CORE Church Ministry Park; a third of an acre located on the street corner across the street from our church buiding. There had been a large church building there for nearly 150 years that started to fall apart. The city condemned the building and the small church group that was meeting there had to vacate the building and tear it down. They were thinking of rebuilding but that plan never went forward. After two years the city cancelled its tax exempt status and added it to their tax rolls. That church, Amazing Grace Assembly of God, thought we could use the lot for parking and outdoor ministry, so they voted to give it to us (technically we bought it for $1.00).

We started with a core group of seven two years ago and are growing slowly yet steadily. God has developed within me this vision for an indigenous neighborhood church that intentionally reaches out to the poor and disenfranchised who live in the neighborhood. Others who have caught the vision have joined us. Many children are coming to our Sunday gatherings and children's outreach events.

We are about to celebrate our 2nd anniversary as the CORE Church of Troy. God is moving and we are blessed to be in the middle of His plan for the Collar City.