When considering what to do with my summers as a seminary or college student, there were many options that all present unique and exciting opportunities to be explored. Throughout my time as a student at Southeastern, first in The College and now in the Seminary, I have chosen to utilize my summers to explore how God is at work in our world firsthand. For the summer of 2021, I went on a collegiate church planting internship sponsored by the North American Mission Board, known as GenSend. GenSend offered me the chance to take the theology and ministerial knowledge that I learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-world setting. I was also given the opportunity to work with other college student from around the country, under the supervision of a church planter. My time as a GenSend Intern was spent in New York City, working with a church plant in the Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood of the Lower West Side of Manhattan called One Community Church. OCC had begun the process of planting in a neighborhood with few Gospel preaching church in 2020, but had been stalled in their work until the spring of 2021. I worked with a team comprised of four students from various colleges around America to assist our pastor, Chris Mills, with building connections and laying the groundwork for his first church service in July of that summer.
My time in the New York began on May 31, 2021, with time spent exploring the city as a whole and the neighborhood I was going to living and working in. Hell’s Kitchen is a neighborhood with a rich cultural identity yet lacks in possessing a vibrant gospel identity due to few churches within its boundaries. This lack of access to the Gospel of Christ in this neighborhood truly broke my heart and caused me to understand just how deeply lost people truly are, even in my own nation. The neighborhood also has a rich history, causing many residents to see their personal identity as being tied to the place that they call home. Our team worked towards the goal of forming deep connections for the church that would continue long after summer. We also aimed to create a Gospel Movement that would extend far beyond any of us. In this work we spent time in prayer, Bible study, and time in the neighborhood each week.