In Forest Hills, where Nathan Creitz
is planning to start a church this year, the population is 110,000 for an area that is only about four square miles with few evangelical churches.
vision extends beyond Forest Hills, as he
prays that the new church plant will help start other churches throughout New York's most ethnically diverse borough.
Queens residents represent dozens of people groups unreached with the gospel.
People from all over the world call Queens home, with about 125 different languages spoken in the area.
Nearly half the population was born outside the United States.
"Jesus Christ told us to make disciples of all nations.
My heart is for the nations, and I can't think of a better place than Queens to pursue that mission," Creitz
"The goal is to not only reach Queens, but for some of the people here to take the gospel back to wherever they are from."
Although receptivity is generally low, Creitz
has met people open to the gospel, and that gives him hope.
"We want to spread the gospel as broadly as possible, and saturate the area with the good news," he
"It takes an act of God
to start churches.
If anyone is going to break through, it will be God
In 2004, after graduating from the University of Mobile in Alabama, Creitz moved to Boston to help a friend who was starting a new church.
After four years in Boston, Creitz
began seminary at Gordon-Conwell.
After graduation he served as interim pastor for a church in New England.
wife Kim and their two children live in east Queens and are preparing to move to Forest Hills early this year, with a goal of launching the church this summer.
is using the months leading up to the launch to begin laying the foundation for the church plant.
is making the two and a half hour round trip to Forest Hills several times a week to try and meet people and begin building relationships.
is also working to raise financial support and prayer support, and is forming new partnerships with churches such as Dudley Shoals Baptist Church.
, in Granite Falls near Hickory, N.C., is committed to a long-term partnership with Creitz
"We made an immediate connection with Nathan
Smith and Creitz
expect their partnership to include opportunities for servant evangelism, such as cleaning up local parks and hosting cookouts, for the purpose of building relationships, making connections and sharing the gospel.
They will have the opportunity to meet people, pray for people and get the word out that there is a church that loves them," Creitz
encouraged churches to not let New York's urban context or great spiritual needs overwhelm or intimidate and hinder them from developing partnerships.
"Anyone can show love to people," he
Whenever Creitz experiences times of frustration he
thinks back to how God
called him to serve for Kingdom purposes.
"When the tough times come, we look back to our call and our burden and that has sustained us," he