The September 11 attacks happened less than two months after Kelley and I moved to New York City to launch The Journey. In an odd way, I thank God that He brought us here before that infamous day.
There is a sense in the city, even seven years later, that if you didn’t experience September 11, 2001 as a New Yorker, you can’t relate to the horror of being here during the attacks… and you had better not try. If we had come in after the fact and attempted to do ministry – to help people wrap their minds around their questions and grief – we wouldn’t have had the same ability to empathize. We wouldn’t have had the same voice.
The Journey launched weekly services six months after September 11, 2001, on a schedule that was not our own, but totally God’s. Since that day, I have been privileged to pastor in New York City. It’s a city unlike any other.
The Journey currently meets under the shadow of the Empire State building, seen here on September 11, 2001 with the smoking towers in view just behind. This is the city we love. Its people are strong and courageous. They are intelligent, thoughtful and resilient. God is doing an amazing work here and we are humbled to be part of it.
Spend some time thinking about your city. What is its story? What events, both good and bad, have helped to shape and define it in the last couple of decades? To do ministry effectively, you must understand the voice of your city – and learn to speak the same language.
On this anniversary of, arguably, our nation’s worst tragedy, also take a few minutes to remember and reflect on how you felt on September 11, 2001. Say a prayer for the families who still deal with the resulting loss each and every day and for our country as we continue to move into the future with the lessons of September 11 always fresh in our hearts.
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