The last few months I’ve been receiving emails asking to recommend a good church in NYC. So not only do I have one church to recommend, but I have two incredible churches to recommend!!! I know many people have been turned off from going to church, especially if you’ve had a bad experience like mine where you met some hypocrites or ran into unwelcoming situations. Or maybe you grew up in a super religious home and had to go to a church where you felt bored, not connected, you couldn’t relate to what was going on, you sang old hymns you couldn’t really understand and everything was about following rules and if you broke them you lived with guilt. Or maybe you think all churches are about confessing your sins to a priest, getting dressed up, counting rosary beads, and listening to a sermon that has no life in it. The truth is while those things along with some others I didn’t mention are true for some churches, it isn’t true for all. I stopped going to church at some point in my early 20′s because I got my feelings really hurt by some hypocrites and I was fed up and decided no more church for me. The problem with that thinking is it’s unrealistic for the fallen world we live in. There is no area in life where you will be able to avoid hypocrites or people that will judge you or hurt you. There are hurt and broken people everywhere, at your job, in school, in your family, in your friendship circle, the lady who gave you an attitude at the check out counter…and hurt people, hurt people. Another truth is that church is there for us not only to surround ourselves with other believers and get encouragement, but it’s also so we can serve others through ministries and to help with our development of a personal relationship with God. So while you can’t avoid the hurt people, you can focus on why you’re really going to church in the first place, and that is to grow in your own personal relationship with God. And once you focus on that, God will place some amazing believers in your life and will also teach you how to deal with the hypocrites. Often times many people also like to paint all Christians as religious folks. The truth is we aren’t all religious. For example, my husband, friends, and I focus on living a life of having a relationship with Christ, not being religious and just following a bunch of rules. And the churches I’m recommending are far from boring and religious, there are no priests, you can where what ever you want, you come as you are (I always wear jeans and a t-shirt, with my septum ring and all). You will feel alive as soon as the service begins, the sermons will breathe life into you and the music is beyond amazing!!!
Both churches have their own unique and amazing things going on, both are non-denominational, huge and super culturally diverse, and are definitely filled with the Holy Spirit and teach straight from the Bible, no bubble gum sermons or sermons just to please the crowd…because I don’t play games with that :). Now that I’ve mentioned how both churches are the same I will list how they differ and share photos and video below:
Hillsong NYC Church: Two of my amazing friends former Urban Bush Babe Bianca and her photographer husband Rog Walker brought me to Hillsong last year and I am forever grateful for it. Hillsong church is unconventional and draws a huge crowds, particularly young people. In a recent Yahoo News article they state,” After a little more than two years, Hillsong estimates it draws 5,500 people to Sunday services each week. Crowds lining up are a regular weekly scene at Irving Plaza near Manhattan’s Union Square. Hillsong often has to add additional evening sessions, which could last well into the night.” Read the rest of the article here.
I started attending services at Hillsong regularly up until the time I moved out of NYC. This church to me is the perfect example of what Christ is like, He welcomes everyone and meets them where they are at. You will meet people from all walks of life, Pastor Carl Lentz even has tattoos, and the band Hillsong United is by far my favorite music I’ve ever heard in a church ( it’s Christian indie/alternative/rock) so this church is definitely not a button down shirt ministry. The people that attend are super welcoming and passionate! Check out a video with Pastor Carl
Pastor Carl Lentz with Jay-Z
The Brooklyn Tabernacle: I became a member in my early 20s and joined the drama ministry. The plays that this church puts on are spectacular and on par with Broadway plays. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has also won 7 Grammy’s and sang at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration, so you know the music is on point! This church is located in a restored old movie theater in Brooklyn which is the 3rd largest auditorium space in NYC next to Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. The church is packed every Sunday (church services) and Tuesday (prayer meetings) to the point where there are over flow rooms in another building! You can come as you are and it’s very welcoming. It has a wider range of age groups and is a bit more conventional, but not in a stuffy boring way. They also have a great ministry dedicated to young adults called Transitions, so if you’re looking to link with other young adults, there is a lot of them to meet! Oh yeah… my mom still attends BT and serves in ministry there, you can find her sitting next to her best friend (Pastor Jim Cymbala’s mom) every Sunday and Tuesday.
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing at President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration
I miss both of these churches so much! They have blessed me tremendously, helping me to grow, serve, and heal beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I hope you can be blessed by them as well! God Inhabits The Praises Of His People.
If you have a church you love please share the name of the church you love and the location (it doesn’t have to be NYC). I know I always love to get recommendations and it’s great for people who are trying to find a church home :).