One need not look far to find turmoil, trouble and despair, especially in world-class urban centers like New York City. But as is often the case, the cloud still has a silver lining, “good” stands before us, and authentic reason for hope rises for yet another day and year.
Dr. Mac Pier, founder and CEO of The New York City Leadership Center (The NYCLC), has lived and labored in New York City for the past 30 years. The work at the center is focused on leaders – mobilizing leaders, developing leaders, uniting leaders, all for the purpose of transforming the cities of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In looking back over the past year, Pier provides plenty of reason for us to take heart and not grow weary in well doing. In fact, he’s downright jazzed about it. Here are six reasons for hope:
(1). Movement Day Greater Dallas – The year began with 1400 leaders from 60 communities and 150 churches coming together in January at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. This was the first replication of Movement Day in another major metropolitan area. Several leaders indicated that it was the most diverse and most substantial gathering of leaders they had seen in their lifetime.
“Working in Dallas over the past three years, we have been reminded that people from diverse racial backgrounds can truly work together,” states Pier. “Froswa Booker Drew, Jon Edmonds, and Pastor Bryan Carter emerged as magnificent leaders from the African-American community. Working with them helped us to realize that ‘being radically loved by someone radically different is the most powerful thing that can happen this side of heaven.’”
(2). The Emergence of Younger Leaders – Grant Skeldon launched a new group of Millennial leaders in Dallas called Initiative that gathers over 300 young adults every month. Ray Villegas provided tremendous leadership with the standing-room only crowd at the Young Leader track at Movement Day in NYC. Both instances are an affirmation that all great movements are started by leaders under 28 years of age and a great cause for hope in the next generation.
(3). Diversity of NYC Leadership – “We are privileged to work with thousands of NYC leaders throughout the year representing five continents, multiple languages, and diverse denominations”, states Pier. “The Body of Christ in modern day NYC is the most international church in human history. These are leaders who play such a vital role in catalyzing gospel movements worldwide.”
(4). Global Expansion of Movement Day – Pier interfaced with leaders in London, Gothenburg, Amsterdam, and Singapore about the potential of catalyzing leaders in their cities around the vision of Movement Day and transforming cities with the Gospel. He also found significant and growing interest in bringing Movement Day to other influential cities around the world.
Pier was honored to attend the 40th Anniversary of the Lausanne Movement with leaders from 12 regions of the world and being a part of monthly calls connecting with leaders in the UK, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, and the Philippines. “There is a sense of the hastening of the Body of Christ globally,” explains Pier, “to connect more deeply with one another to impact the world together.”
(5). Growth and Maturation of The New York City Leadership Center – The NYCLC has a 25 member team including the Dallas office with Jon Edmonds, Mark Brown, and Tina Jacobson. The board of directors added Ram Gidoomal in London as well as Bob Doll, Matt Ristuccia, and Rick Lyons. The other nine board members have been with the organization from the inception of The NYCLC. Craig Sider has been serving as president of The NYCLC since July 2013 and new team members of significant life and leadership experience have joined the organization. As Pier is fond of saying, “Our team looks like the cities we serve.”
(6). Concerts of Prayer Greater New York (COPGNY) – Dimas Salaberrios, President of COPGNY, led the largest Pastors’ Prayer Summit in its 23-year history in January with 350 leaders. “Prayer has played a vital and fundamental role in what has taken place in NYC over the past 25 years,” states Pier. “It will serve as our foundation and conduit of hope for all that is yet to come.”