Our first nine years at New Life (1987-1996) were a painful, difficult, and often unsuccessful attempt, to bridge racial, cultural, economic, and gender barriers. We did not “break through” our massive differences until God’s answer to our cry through what we call today Emotionally Healthy Spirituality (EHS). EHS transformed our approach and language around reconciliation, giving us a more fully orbed theology, a new language, new tools, and a beneath the surface spirituality that deeply transformed us. EHS enabled us to build an authentic community with African Americans, West Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Whites, Peruvians, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Poles, Jews, Palestinians, and Russians (to name a few). The result has been the miracle that New Life is today — a vibrant community of 1500+ people from over 73 nations that serves as a sign and wonder to the power of the gospel. The principles for how this has happened are outlined. Read more.
As I talk about in this 3-5 minute video, I have been deeply involved with immigrants – many without legal status here in the USA – for almost thirty years. Our borough of Queens, NYC with 2.4 million people, is over 70% percent foreign born. New Life Fellowship Church is located in the center of that borough, a kind of ground zero for USA immigration with peoples from over 120 nations living together in a very tight space. The following is my back story on the debate:
Where we live impacts us. I have been the pastor of a multiracial, international church in New Life in Queens, NY for the more than twenty five and a half years. It is the soil out of which I see the world and the larger church. Thus, I offer the following trends, or concerns, that I believe we need to carry to God in prayer: Evangelicalism will continue to lose young people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s who are genuinely searching for an authentic transformative experience with God. The issue of same-sex marriage and partnerships will increasingly dominate our youth ministries. We will be very slow to equip our youth leaders and ministries with a well-thought, nuanced, theological response. There will continue to be little interest for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox believers to learn from one another. Marriage discipleship will remain non-existent or superficial in our churches. The high divorce rate, along. Read more.
A pastor friend of mine from Vancouver recently asked my long-time mentor, Leighton Ford, the following question: “I’d love for you to email me 200 words or so on how Christians can live out their faith every day.” Leighton, in response, sent him a paragraph from a recent e-mail he received from Geri! It reads: “I’m here in Queens amidst the long lines and gridlock traffic of the Christmas (and somewhat Christ-less) season. I am re-reading your book The Attentive Life. For me, it is the gift that keeps on giving. I feel motivated to “not be conformed to this world” but try to follow a different drummer, that of our invisible/visible God … to know Him in all the ways He reveals Himself — if I’m not too busy or distracted, or preoccupied, or anxious, or indifferent to the Real behind the real.” For a related message I recently preached on a “Spirituality. Read more.