Flinch Conference, this year’s national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), will be in New York City. If you’ve never been to New York, you’ve probably gotten a lot of information about our great city from the movies. Who hasn’t had a laugh or two at that unsuspecting tourist who, on arrival, gets mugged for his money and shoes by a bunch of thugs and bums? You may have yearned to experience the beautiful life of New York, where everyone is a fashionista and dines regularly with friends on skyscraper rooftops. You may have even caught a movie that showed deranged madmen holding up banks and threatening to bomb buildings, if millions of dollars weren’t wired to accounts in the Cayman Islands. If television has been the source of your information on New York, you may have already dismissed FGBC coordinator, Tom Avey, as a lunatic for suggesting such a place, and have begun booking a vacation to a less risky place like Ohio. No offense to the Ohioans reading this.
I can assure that if you have resolved to take the risk and travel to New York for the Flinch Conference, then you can leave your bullet-proof vest at home. Also, there will be absolutely no need to put tracking devices on the ankles of your entire family while locking arms to walk down Times Square. On the other hand, if you have started making less risky vacation plans, maybe I can convince you to come to New York. You WILL have a great time.
Let me take this moment to dispel or confirm any myths you have about this big city that they call the Concrete Jungle.
1. New Yorkers are rude.
False: Most New Yorkers are friendly and talkative. However, New Yorkers are not afraid to say what they are thinking. This may come off as rude to some.
2. New York never sleeps.
True: There is always something happening in New York City, 24 hours a day. There is 24-hour food and entertainment. Even Dunkin’ Donuts is open 24 hours.
3. New York is dangerous.
False: Every city has crime, but I have never gotten mugged in my 15 years of living here. There are dangerous neighborhoods, but the chance of you ending up at any of them is not likely.
4. New York is fast.
True: Almost everything is fast paced and nothing makes us more frustrated than that person taking a stroll in front of you. We’ve got places to go even if we are not going anywhere.
So what exactly makes coming to New York risky? The answer is YOU! As children of God, we hold the truth of who Jesus Christ is and He has charged us with bringing this good news to broken people who, without Him, would remain lost and hopeless. As wonderful as this place is, the people of New York need to know this truth. It’s easy to trust God and speak about Him in familiar places where lots of people are Christians. It’s not easy to do so in a place where people feel offended when you say, “Merry Christmas.”
When you come, you will have the opportunity to meet with Christians in ministries who live risky everyday. You will not just meet them, you will serve with them. You will pray with and encourage them. You will give fresh insight. You will also become aware of a growing need for Christ in the world and be moved to do something. So rearrange those vacation plans and come Flinch with us. – by Charity Reeves. (Editor’s note: Charity Reeves is a part of the Creative Team for the Flinch Conference and is a member of New Horizon Church of New York.)