In 2016, our church community had an opportunity to take a breath and make some self-assessments. By then, Apostles Church was 11 years old, had multiplied into 3 autonomous churches, had helped plant a handful of churches in the New York area, and had partnered with a number of church plants in the region. But those 11 years had not been easy. The trials left many of the leaders in our three churches in spiritually diminished situations. So our church community, Apostles Uptown, made some commitments towards practices of renewal and resilience, especially among our leaders. In 2017-18, our entire church community began what was called the Cedar Project, based off Psalm 92, using the imagery of the cedar tree, planted in the courts of the Lord, flourishing and bearing fruit even into old age. We didn’t simply want resilient leaders, but a resilient church culture.
Over the last 6-7 years, we’ve seen evidences of God’s work in our community. Especially among our leaders (elders, deacons, and staff), God has sustained our team with unity, energy, and Spirit-led longings towards renewal and revival. We’ve seen an increased commitment to the Body of Christ and a non-anxious presence, despite COVID and political turmoil dynamics pressuring us towards safety schemes and anxiety.
"GOD HAS SUSTAINED OUR TEAM WITH UNITY, ENERGY,
AND SPIRIT-LED LONGINGS TOWARD RENEWAL AND REVIVAL."
In the last few years, our pastors and staff and have had an increased opportunity to care for pastors and ministry leaders here in New York and the Northeast - from Connecticut, to New York State, to Washington DC. In many ways, our team has been able to provide care for ministry leaders going through seasons of grief, marriage struggles, church fractures, or burnout. It’s important to emphasize that much of this work is not simply coming from the lead pastor, but also from staff and lay elders. This work has rarely been coordinated and the right hand rarely knows the work of the left. Only recently have we begun to recognize what God has been doing and give thanks.