Many of the residents of lower Manhattan in New York City are busy affluent urban professionals: stockbrokers, lawyers, and executives climbing the corporate ladder. They have everything, it seems—except Jesus.
Steve Wolma knows that all too well. Trained as a lawyer, Wolma rubbed shoulders regularly with career-obsessed law professionals who lacked any sort of faith.
“They’re very smart people, and they tend to question things having to do with religion,” reflects Wolma, a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., who graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary last year.
That’s why Wolma moved to New York last year with his wife, Dana, and their two children. Their call was to start a new church specifically targeting Manhattan professionals.
City Fellowship Church, which the Wolmas hope to launch in September 2008, is part of the New York City Initiative started by classes Hudson and Hackensack. Through this ambitious initiative, these classes, along with the Home Missions Eastern U.S. Ministry Team, aim to plant dozens of churches in the New York metropolitan region over the next 10 years.
Wolma sees lower Manhattan as a prime spot for a new church. “It’s a fast-growing area of the city, and right now there are very few churches there,” he says. The population of lower Manhattan has grown by more than 12 percent since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and an additional 10 percent growth is expected over the next five years.
However, Wolma notes that less than 1 percent of people living in this area of 45,000 residents report a relationship with Christ. “They’re exactly the people whose minds and hearts we want to change,” he says.