Palau CityServe Movement Unites NYC's Youngblood Preachers, Old Guards in 'Historic' Partnership

More Than a Thousand Christian Leaders, Nonprofits Mobilize to Meet City's Needs in Massive, Ongoing Outreach

"The message will never change, but God's method will," said English. "And God will use whomever He desires to reach His people."

"We are losing our young generation and we're losing them because sometimes we get stuck in our ways. I am open to however God desires to move. If He wants to use somebody with locust and honey, God use them. You know, back in the day, Jesus took clay and spittle to heal somebody and another person said, 'Go dip in the pool,' but it was all the same power behind every act. The power won't change, the message won't change, but He will use a different method. And when you see these people rising up in jeans and the long hair and rocking to Jesus, it is just another means of reaching our lost generation."

For his part, the Rev. A.R. Bernard, a church leader for more than three decades and also president of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, stated that he thought it was "wonderful" that CityServe brings together all generations of leaders. That sentiment was shared by church planter Jon Tyson in his very brief remarks with CP. Tyson is lead pastor of Trinity Grace Church, one of NYC's younger Christian ministries but that has launched several parishes in four of the city's five boroughs.

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"To see the church planters and the old folks up in here, it's just incredible. It's exciting," said Daniel Sanabria, youth pastor at Park Slope Tabernacle Church in the borough of Brooklyn.

Sanabria, the catalyst behind the national and global God Belongs In My City movement, also said NY CityServe was "long over due" and should have taken off 20 years ago. "It is an historic, historic moment today," he told CP.

Andrew Palau, who partners with his father in his evangelism ministry, shared a brief but stirring testimony of gratitude to his father for persevering in prayers for him during his more than two decades of rebelliousness, as he put it. He, too was impressed by how he has seen God move among the 20- and 30-something believers.

"As I go around the nation and the world, I feel the same way. I'm amazed and humbled at how these young men and women are rising up, full of faith just doing what God's called them to do. I know they don't feel any which way about their own selves, but they're trying to be obedient to the call of God in their life, they're working hard, they're uniquely gifted. Some of them are just geniuses, so they preach out of history and out of the Bible and they're drawing people out of the most incredible places. … But I see these young people really just doing things that are mind-blowing, but they're faithful and their everywhere, so I just rejoice."

Coming Out Party for the Body of Christ

Christians and nonprofit leaders from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, they all found common ground for celebration during Tuesday's CityServe launch event. Acknowledging the outreach and social work they have already been doing as individual parts of a greater Body, they were hopeful about the even greater impact they could have corporately.

"It's almost a coming out party for the Body of Christ around serving," Kevin Palau said of the NY CityServe launch event on Tuesday.

Certainly while representatives from "every borough, denomination, and ethnicity" as well as generation were present at the launch event, female leadership among the movement's executive team, advisory councils and leadership team was noticeably lacking. Based on information currently posted on, women account for just 12 percent of the nearly 100 listed leaders.

Pastor Que English, one of the dozen women listed among the executive, leadership and various advisory teams, was hopeful that the initiative would be a strong pull for local women, many of whom were present on Tuesday, just not in visible or central roles.

"I think the momentum is building and even though they might not be a part of an advisory list, we have the capacity, those that are on the advisory list, to bring in a lot of women, because a lot of us work for gender justice, we work for those issues … They were really being strategic and wise by selecting those that have the voice to women to bring us together," English told CP.

Kevin Palau assured CP in a discussion before launch day that NY CityServe was inclusive in every capacity and that there was no agenda or oversight regarding the input of women leaders.

NY CityServe, a replica of what Palau first laid out eight years ago in his home city of Portland, Oregon, has been in the making for two years. The tri-state area initiative will be marked by outreaches in New York City, Westchester County, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut in the Spring of 2015. Re:New Gatherings in February featuring Luis Palau and Francis Chan will give special attention to NY CityServe. Next year will also see a CityFest evangelistic event, which Kevin Palau explains in the "CP Newsroom" video below.

Learn more about NY CityServe, its objectives and how you can get involved online:

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