Last night I stood in line for church for over 2 hours. Insane.
Since I started getting to know the people going on my Haiti trip (more about Haiti in the next post!), I’ve been making friends with other Christians in the City, which has been pretty awesome for me. One of the girls I have met told me the other day that she is still looking for a church in NYC but that she was going to join Hillsong NYC when they get up and going.
If you don’t know what Hillsong is, they’re a church based out of Syndney, Australia and they’re widely known by their praise and worship recordings. I’d guesstimate 50% of the worship songs at the churches I attend are Hillsong songs. This is how Hillsong initially showed up on my radar.
Hillsong has many churches around the world, but they recently started a church plant here in NYC–the first Hillsong Church in the United States. My friend said she was going to last night’s service, so I randomly tagged along, and I had one of the best nights ever.
The line for the two church services was around the corner, and down the block. I couldn’t believe there were so many young people in NYC who were amped to go to church. Everyone (that is, Christians from the Bible Belt) says New Yorkers are too cynical, too busy for church. So not true. It was quite remarkable. I’d heard about Hillsong NYC a few weeks ago and watched these videos, which is how I became aware of the church plant in progress:
While I attend and serve my own church already, I can’t help but be attracted to what’s going on over at HillsongNYC. It was one of the most relaxed but welcoming church services I’ve ever been to. I mean, I go to church services that are pretty “non-traditional” anyway, but I’d say this service had the best of both worlds, being relaxed yet powerful.
I also couldn’t get over the crowds. We arrived around 5:00pm for the 5:30pm service and the line was around the block. We couldn’t get into the 5:30pm service because it reached capacity. So we waited for two hours in line, in the cold, and so did several others. There were only supposed to be two services, but after the 7:30pm service reached capacity, there were still hundreds of people outside waiting in line, so they had to add an impromptu 9:30pm service. Keep in mind, this church hasn’t officially launched weekly services yet.
I haven’t stood in line for church, for hours since….probably never. Definitely not in my adult life. I know my mom stood in line for church when I was a wee tot. I’ve never seen people lined up for church and definitely not young people. What if more of our churches had super long lines, being filled to capacity regularly? And if they touched the lives of young people across the country? The thought is pretty amazing stuff.
If you’re in NYC you might want to check out what they’re doing over at Hillsong. They start weekly services in February but have events and gatherings monthly until then. I might go to a few here and there!