It’s been said that some experiences you will never forget. James Roberson and Jon Tyson would agree with this sentiment after ministering in city of New York during this unique season.
"We are living in serious time," Tyson, the pastor of Church of the City in New York and author of a Beautiful Resistance, said.
Tyson and Robertson, who pastors the Bridge Church, would both say that before COVID-19, ministering in New York city was already a unique and challenging endeavor.
According to Robertson, "Everything seemed to change at once. I can remember watching an NBA game and knowing that things were about to change."
Tyson was struck with the realization that life was about to change when he was arriving back in New York from Hawaii.
Not soon after realizing the coronavirus’ impact, both men switched from pastoring churches that gathered together to pastoring churches meeting online.
Tyson and his family would soon have an even greater challenge to overcome, when they all contracted COVID-19.
"My entire family got COVID," he shared. In his new book a, Beautiful Resistance, Tyson shares how God helped him strengthen his love for the local church. One thing, he shared, that really helped him stay strong as he battled the deadly disease was the love he received from his church and the love he has for his church.
One can tell in Tyson's voice and through his book that he wants Christ’s followers to know and experience the full extent of the love that God has for us. He is also clear in expressing his passion for the local church.
"I know that people have a complex relationship with the church, and I understand that, but I can't believe that I get to do this," Tyson shared.
Even after contracting COVID-10, Tyson is clear that he is in love with the local church and the privilege to minister in New York City.
Although both men lead two distinct congregations and carry out their calling and influence differently, there is a growing stirring in both of hearts for serving the local church.
"Even before COVID, the Lord had already prepared me for this season,” Robertson, who is aware of the needs and pains that his church is going through, shared.
"There is no one in New York City that doesn't know someone who has experienced pain and death caused by COVID,” he added.
Robertson sees a greater plan coming out of COVID in New York City.
"Yes, the local churches of New York have been challenged and COVID is bad, however, what COVID meant for evil, God meant for good," he insisted.
Although both men are uncertain about what life will be like going forward, they both are certain that God has called them to carry out the mission of the Gospel to the large and robust city. For Robertson, his church has been praying every day at 12:10 for God to move in the city, a sentiment taken from Romans 12:10, which calls for Christ followers to be devoted in Love to one another and to Christ.
Tyson is focusing on sharing God’s love with his fellow New Yorkers. "In the days ahead, we will be known by our extreme love for each other," he asserted.
Share the love of Christ is what both of these men think churches, not only across New York City but around the world, should be focusing on in this season.
Photo courtesy: Aaron Sebastian/Unsplash