I am a native New Yorker, Manhattan Island schooled at PS 6 on Madison and 82nd., scout troop 424. I lived one block away from Central Park and the well-known boat pond where I spent many blissful hours being a boy.
There are two things I know about New Yorkers… most are resilient and determined. The other is that in times of crisis most remember their roots and flock to churches. They are not so arrogant to think they can do emergencies without God, no matter their rough and tumble or “blue state” image is. Take it from me… prayers are being prayed; knees are being bent; supplications are being made.
And God is there. Certainly God is there. The One we sing praises to and worship. Everyone who calls on His name are being met by the living God who has not abandoned them. Just ask them. Millions of questioning New Yorkers (there are about 20 million of them in the five boroughs), are “attending” church via live-streaming; there are listening to faith messages on the radio; they are watching evangelists and faith teachers on television. They are scouring the internet for God messages or inspiration.. Many millions of people in New York know they should not do this, cannot do this, crisis alone – and they are not.
Consider for a moment what is about to happen — what IS happening today in that city of millions. God is drawing them to himself, certainly, because that’s what God always does. Millions right there are about to make some kind of decision concerning God, or have made, or will make. This month. Right now.
Would it be too difficult for God to draw just 10 percent of scared, hurting New Yorkers to the Kingdom at this time? People who never before lived for God, or followed His ways or step foot into a church, now do? If just 10 percent made that decision it would mean about two million new believers. There could be 1,000 new churches of 2,000 at that rate.
Where are the pastors, teachers and worship leaders in place to handle such an influx ? Can existing churches handle what would happen if just 10 percent of New Yorkers embraced Jesus? And what if 20% turned to Christ? Or 25?
Now is the hour for ministers, pastors, worship leaders and lay people of every denomination in New York to rise and deliver the message they have been practicing all their lives. Now is their finest hour. Now is the time they have suddenly become relevant to millions who need them to be there. And if I read New Yorkers correctly that’s exactly what’s happening. The believers are working, praying and doing, 24/7.
These street-level ministers don’t care if the news sees them. They don’t care if they are “high profile.” They care about the people who are afraid, lonely and scared in their small out-of-the-way apartments. They care that people are encouraged, strengthened and transformed in a life-giving way for the rest of their lives, however long that would be.
We daily read about people in the medical field during this crisis being “pressed into service”who are still in medical school, retured, or have some bit of training that could be expanded in this time of need. If you have ever led a worship time in the remote mission field, or in a small group meeting, at a unknown conference or posted a youtube video of a worship time, personal or public, now is the time to do it again. It’s time to step up and help millions of new believers focus on God in praise, so they too can have the peace of God that passes understanding to rule in their hearts and minds. God seeks worshippers, and I believe that may be because so much of God’s presence, purpose, understanding and comprehension comes with it. If you worship, He will come, and that’s not just a dream.
I owe it New York to pray for this — because New York is where I’m from, my home for many years — that now would be the time for believers to have insight, wisdom, perspective and courage from the God who is there. Much of that will come through worship.
And what is known as the “body of Christ” in the rest of America has the opportunity to receive millions of new family members. Now is the time for us to do whatever can be done for them. Faith is the strongest, most positive motivation for millions. Worship and praises are an essential element of faith. New York’s faith can only strengthen the entire country. Prayer is the starting point. Worship follows.
Read Worship Team Devotional by Chris Vacher.
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Patrick Butler is the former Religion editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tyler, Texas.