A Trio of Church Plants
We’re first introduced to the Church in Philippi in Acts 16. Paul and Silas were traveling to Macedonia after Paul’s (now well-known) vision, and to get there, they had to travel through Philippi. We’re told in this chapter that Philippi was a leading city in the district, and the group of missionaries stayed for several days.
What happens in Philippi is nothing short of incredible. A slave girl is freed from demonic oppression, God performs a prison break for Paul and Silas, a suicidal jailer is converted along with his entire household, and a prominent business woman, Lydia, gets saved and starts a meeting in her home. The result is the first church plant in Europe. The next time we read about Philippi, twelve years have passed. Paul writes an Epistle to them, and at this point, they have become an established church.
One thing we learn from the story of the Philippian church is that God cares about church-planting. The reason Paul and his team ended up in Philippi was because they were following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Add to that the amazing miracles we see in Acts 16, and this chapter gives us a glimpse of God’s heart and the lengths to which he will go in order to see new branches of His family established all across the world.
Today, we are seeing many more stories like this happening in the vast metropolis of New York City and northern New Jersey. As a result, Confluence now has three locations triangulating around the most influential city in the world.
Four years ago, Seth and Rhi Hoffman moved to New York in order to embed themselves in the city and learn the unique culture of Brooklyn. Just over a year ago, they gathered a core team and started a Sunday meeting. Fast forward and Christ Central is now gathering 30-40 adults and children every Sunday. Our vision is to “Help people find their place in God’s big story.”
Jason James is planting in Harlem (New Hope, Harlem) and writes, “We are planting a multi-cultural church in Harlem that is for the glory of God and the joy of the city. Our vision is to see God use our small church to bring revival to our neighborhood. Our vision is for people in the community to see the emptiness of their current idols, experience the hope of Jesus Christ, and the hope of a life lived for his glory. This will require nothing less than a supernatural work of God. And so, we depend upon him with childlike expectation to do this great work through us.”
And lastly, Omar Villacres and his team are planting in Union, NJ, where they have a vision to see the supremacy of Jesus and the message of the Cross established and advanced in hearts, homes, and cities. Omar writes, “Right now, we are gathering a team and moving into the area with the goal of having an established group by the fall that will help lead our new church plant, The Cross Fellowship.”
Church-planting is not easy and is not always straightforward, but just as God went to great lengths to see a church in Philippi established, we believe he is beginning to move amongst us as a family of churches in order to see a movement established across New Jersey and NYC.
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi twelve years after he first visited, and by that time, historians believe they had established a strong work and more importantly, were impacting the city and the culture. We believe God is building His church here in NJ and NYC, and we’re starting to dream about what Christ Central, New Hope NYC, and The Cross Fellowship might look like in twelve years’ time!
Dream with us. Pray for us. Join us.