- (PHOTO: New Hope)
Gospel singer and pastor Terrance Kennedy is the executive director of New Hope for the World Ministries, and the pastor of New Hope Community Church in Harlem, N.Y., and all this week he has been running Reach Week in NYC 2013.
Reach Week is New Hope's signature event that uses gospel music, fun activities, clinical help, and ministry outreach to serve the community of New York City in an attempt to lead people to Christ.
They have a state licensed HIV testing site where doctors of all cultures can provide care for people who desperately need it. In addition they have a huge choir with singers in it from all over the world.
"First of all we meet the needs of the people. We access the needs of the community, we work hard to address those needs, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ," Kennedy told the Christian Post. "Then we link them to care so they can get those resources. It's useless to try to preach to someone who is hungry, and not feed them at the same time."
Kennedy says that music is a "magnetic" experience because without that form of entertainment people might just walk on by. It is the power of music that appeals to any and everyone. The event is taking place outside in front of the Harlem State Office Building on a major street where people are in constant flux.
"Some of the people who come to Reach Week are not native English speakers, but they are attracted to the rhythms and the harmonies of gospel music, so they come to be a part of that," he said. "When they hear music, they stop ... while we have their attention it's a prime time to talk about Jesus."
Reach Week is currently in its sixth year, and Kennedy said he is stopped almost daily to speak about what God has done in an individual's life because of these events.
"There was a woman who stopped by the event and was contemplating suicide on her way home, and the music attracted her, and she came up for prayer. The pastors were able to get her the help she needed," he said. "I want people to say, 'I got what I needed,' from the church. It's those stories that make it worthwhile."
Another part of the ministry is Bible distribution. He feels that giving out Bibles as opposed to tracts is much more effective because you can throw away a tract.
"People don't throw out the Bible. They may not take it, but they don't throw it away," he said.
Kennedy said the ultimate goal for Reach Week is to move out of New York. Last year Kennedy and a team of pastors were able to visit Costa Rica and minister there by working with the homeless. However, the vision is global.
"My heart is that it will not only be Reach Week in New York City, but in Detroit, Reach Week in London, Reach Week in Paris, Reach Week in Jerusalem," he said. "No matter where you are, someone in that area needs to be reached and know the love of Jesus. I would like to see the Lord allow us to take that."
Tomorrow is Reach Week's biggest day where they host a bunch of events for children and young people. There will bikes given away and teddy bear clinics, along with a rap competition in honor of Trayvon Martin happening at 2 p.m. The winner then receives seven hours of free studio time.
"We wanted to teach youth how to use their voice as a weapon of choice," Kennedy said.
There will be a double-dutch contest for people who are 35 and older, and the winner will receive a donation to bless a ministry of theirs.
Sunday is the finale, and will have the International Mass Gospel Choir. It will be on the third floor of the State Office Building, and will require a $20 donation.
There is also an event tonight, and all are welcome to attend.