As the steel wheels of the New York subway train screeched to a grinding halt at Manhattan’s Hunter College station a strange refrain filled the air. A group of Adventists waiting on the platform began to sing, “Lift up the trumpet and loud let it ring, Jesus is coming again.” The echoes of the familiar hymn were picked up by another group of Adventists waiting for a different train on the opposite side of the track. Up and down the line, more voices joined the chorus. Soon the subway station was filled with the glorious, hopeful refrains of “Lift up the trumpet. . . . Jesus is coming again.” These Seventh-day Adventist members were among the 2000 who had just heard a powerful and moving sermon by Elder Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference, at Hunter College titled, “The Time Is Now.” Elder Wilson’s message was especially designed to motivate members throughout the metropolitan New York area to be actively involved in NY13.
NY13 is a comprehensive evangelistic initiative designed to involve each church administrator, departmental director, pastor and church member in the greater metropolitan New York area. It is much more than a single evangelistic event. It is a divinely inspired vision of an ongoing evangelistic process. The Atlantic Union, the Columbia Union and the five Conferences (Greater New York, Northeastern, New Jersey, Allegheny East, and Southern New England) comprising the Greater New York/ New Jersey area have united their efforts to reach the twenty million people living in this huge metropolitan area. NY13 involves varied outreach approaches including personal Bible Studies, small groups, health, family life, and youth ministries, literature ministry, community services, lay evangelistic meetings and much more. NY13 envisions each church as a dynamic soul-winning center where pastors have a passionate commitment to reaching lost people and church members are equipped and trained for service.
The weekend of January 18-20, Elder Wilson along with his wife Nancy and a team from the General Conference met with pastors, leading lay people, and Union and Conference Administrators to develop comprehensive plans to reach the city. In addition to a major convocation at Hunter College, the team conducted lay training events throughout the metropolitan area on Sunday, January 20. Five hundred and sixty people packed the Linden Seventh-day Adventist Church in Queens to attend Ernestine Finley’s, “Light Your World for God” Seminar on how to become an effective Lay Bible Instructor. Each participant received a witnessing workbook and a set of Search for Certainty Bible Lessons. Attendees actively participated in the seminar as they practiced giving Bible Studies to one another. Mrs. Finley challenged each participant to allow God to use them to study the Bible with at least one person and lead that person to Jesus.
Denzil McNeilus, a banker from Dodge Center, Minnesota represented the ASI organization and along with Robert Costa, General Conference Evangelism Coordinator, led out in a “New Beginnings” Seminar to train lay preachers at the Fort Washington Spanish Church. The organizers of this seminar expected 150 people to attend. When well over 300 showed up they were overwhelmed. The church was packed to overflowing with eager participants desirous of learning how to use their homes and small auditoriums to conduct lay led evangelistic meetings. Commenting on the enthusiasm of the attendees, Mr. McNeilus said, “I am convinced that there are thousands of lay people waiting to be challenged to do something significant for the Lord. They just need to be trained and equipped.”
Mark Finley, Assistant to the President of the General Conference, taught a class on how to organize home Bible Study groups based on the book of Daniel. His seminar was held in the Greenwich Village, Manhattan Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Greenwich Village Church will be the host site for Elder Ted Wilson’s, Revelation of Hope, and evangelistic series beginning Friday night June 7 and continuing to June 29, 2013. Over 130 people attended the Small Group training Seminar and committed to begin seventy small groups. In addition to the Lay Training events held in the city, over 1400 youth gathered in two locations sponsored by the Greater New York and Northeastern Conferences. These young people were challenged to be part of something great for God and use their influence to touch their friends with the gospel during NY13.
During NY13 approximately 400 evangelistic meetings will be conducted in the metropolitan New York area. Hundreds of churches and thousands of church members will be involved. Pastors are leading their congregations in prayer vigils earnestly petitioning heaven for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Lay people are giving Bible Studies. Small groups are being organized. Health and Family Life ministries are being launched. Literature is being distributed. Young people are becoming actively involved. Lay Evangelistic meetings are being planned and evangelists and pastors from every Division of the world will attend an International School of Evangelism in New York in June. The Holy Spirit is moving. Something unusual is taking place in New York. Don King, Atlantic Union Conference President challenged administrators, pastors and members to be actively involved in this massive outreach for Christ. At the Hunter College Convocation on Sabbath afternoon, January 19, he stated, “NY13 is a united approach bringing us all together to focus on reaching people in this Great Metropolitan area for Jesus.” Elders Daniel Honore and Earl Knight, presidents of the Northeastern and Greater New York Conferences respectively electrified the audience as they announced that each of their Conferences had committed one million dollars each to the NY13 evangelistic initiative. Elder Honore shared the thrilling story of a lady whom he did not know who walked into the Conference office the week before and told him she was impressed to do something significant for NY13 and handed him a check for $20,000. God is at work in New York. His Spirit is moving. Something unusual is happening. We may be experiencing a miracle in the making.
The massive evangelistic outreach in New York City is part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s “Mission to the Cities” initiative. Church leaders at every level of church organization have identified 650 major cities worldwide to focus their evangelistic energies and resources on in the next three years. This comprehensive evangelistic approach blends biblical principles with the practical, divinely inspired counsels of the Spirit of Prophecy to reach people living in these urban centers with Jesus’ end-time message of hope for our time.
The mission is His and He invites us to participate in His mission with Him. There can be no higher honor and no greater privilege. Let us together pray for the fulfillment of the messenger of the Lord’s promise, “When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed” (Medical Ministry, p. 304). May that day come soon and may we experience the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit in New York and the great metropolitan centers of the world.
Mark A. Finley is Assistant to the President of the General Conference