When did the Churches in New York forget that somewhere in the world there community is a corner of the earth that needs the Gospel as well? Tuesday afternoon I jumped in the car with the NAMB (North American Mission Board) director for all of New York and he took me to the City right outside of the small community that I was born and raised in. I have been since I was a child very familiar with the City. From time to time we drove through the City to run errands and I never thought the City was a lost place that desperately needs the Gospel until now. To be fair I never thought this City was like any other City. I knew there were drug addicts, gang fights, and every disease under the sun in some of the places like Chicago and Detroit but never Syracuse. Sitting on the passenger side I was quickly made aware of the scars and the internal inflictions that the City has suffered from for many years now. We were driving right in the crossfires between the two sides. However this was not a battle with guns or weapons (although they exist) but a battle for hope. Hope for the sick and oppressed and the orphaned and the jobless. For many of them their lives are in confined apartments or homes only a few hundred square feet. In addition to being on top of their neighbors with just a few feet in between for them to breath. Cluttered, fenced in lawns, barred windows, and claustrophobic like. When did this very become the normal? Everything was open, doors and widows due to a lack of air condition. People sold their items on the streets and hundreds of people were getting around on the sidewalk. Parks were empty and from what I was told it is in fear of potential shootings or running into a gang. There were at least two, maybe three good Churches for every six to seven thousand people in this little area. The rest of the Churches were abandoned due to low attendance and they’re these beautiful cathedrals were left behind like landmarks of the past.
The director and I drove by and picked up one of the Church Planters and he shared with us his vision. He is a passionate brother with quite an infectious affection for the people of Syracuse. His invigorating attitude is exactly what this City needs as I sat there listening to how God called him to this little speck on the globe. After hearing much of what he had to say my heart began to break for these people. There is much work to be done and even though the fields are white for the harvest there are an insufficient amount of laborers. That must be our prayer as Jesus exhorted to pray for laborers to be sent into the harvest. And sadly for many Churches the harvest is right outside their sanctuary and they are not producing laborers. I know many Churches in the area have no evangelical outreach within their own communities and what a frightful day that’ll be when one stands before the Lord with nothing to account for ones passion for the lost and the unsaved in this dying world. Jesus Christ is the cure. Not some knick-knack but a real solution for the hopelessness of hopeless sinners. Apart from Christ we are dead in our sins, unable and incapable of coming to God. This disease called sin separates everyone from Christ. But the Gospels calls him the Great Physician who came to heal the sick and make the lame walk and the mute talk. The one who can give and take away life. We must surrender our lives to Him in prayer and devotion through action by spreading a passion for His Kingdom. Our Churches have become so inwardly focused that Syracuse is now becoming commonplace. I had to see Syracuse through the eyes of another to realize that Syracuse is a dark place spiritually with almost no help from the Churches outside the City.