We are encouraged and excited by church stories like this one Mike Moore, pastor of City Church Albany in New York, recently shared with us. Mike and his family moved from Texas to New York eight years ago; a few years later God called them to plant a church.
They started out meeting in a nightclub on Sunday nights with $500 in the bank. After what Mike calls “the nomadic years” — years of meeting in bars, a city outreach center, an old Episcopal Church, a hotel and a movie theater — they had a full launch and shifted to Sunday morning services. The church grew from 80 to 136.
Then it dropped to 60, 50, 40…
“We felt like we were spinning our wheels. It was almost as if we were waiting for the next great idea to turn the ship.”
On top of practical issues with facilities, they had an internal issue: no clear vision, mission or action steps as an organization. That’s when he invited our team to partner with their church.
“After working with The Unstuck Group, we started to clearly define our vision, mission and core values as an organization,” Mike shares.
For a while they started gaining traction; attendance was growing, and they felt like their leaders were with them. But eventually, an influential volunteer started pushing back and they felt the effects of an exodus of people. Mike and the team remained faithful to the vision they believed God had given them.
“Today, I look back at what God has done and I am just amazed and seriously humbled at how much the church has taken off just this year alone.
“We are in the most unchurched city in America, according to Barna Research Group and the US Census. Despite the hard soil that he has called us to till, God is growing His church, and we have a tremendous opportunity to be apart of the redemption of Albany.
“Since last year (Q4 2015), City Church Albany has grown by 90% in regular attendance. Our Community Groups have grown in attendance, while also adding more groups. We have seen close to two dozen salvations this year, with many being baptized. Our attendance is up almost 150% over last year, and our giving has increased 210% over last year, as well. And, God blessed us with a building on one of the busiest blocks of Albany.”
“Numbers do not tell the whole story, but they are a great indicator as to what God is growing and how church health is doing. We are coming up on year five since launching the church, and we are the healthiest we have ever been.”
Photo credit: Joseph Barrientos via unsplash.com