Ben & Christy Spalink – City Grace Church, NY

April, 2017:


CG Logo - BW



Prayer walking in Little Italy


Our Work or God's?

Sometimes when things don't go as I had hoped, I pray for God to help me know what I need to do and what I can expect from him. I've realized, however, that rarely in life and ministry is it so clear. God does what he does, but often (always?), there's a person at the scene tilling the soil, dutifully discharging his/her duties. There's overlap between the human and divine elements at work. Some call it a partnership, but that word suggests equality. I think a better way to explain is it that God uses us, like tools, to effect his agenda in the world. Sometimes it feels like its all on us, but take heart, its not. "Unless the Lord builds his house, the laborers labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1). God is always at work even when it feels like it's all on us. God leads us, empowers us, equips, and uses us. And he is the one who causes our labor to bear fruit. We think, and maybe even feel, like its "on us;" it's actually all on God.

Recently a middle aged man approached me to be baptized at City Grace. I had never met him, but he took the Alpha Course with pastor Steve almost 5 years ago! The Alpha Course had changed his life, and he was ready to commit to God and to the church. Lord willing he'll be baptized this Sunday.

The East Village Missional Community has been sowing seeds at Project Renewal, a local men's shelter funded by the city. This past Saturday was a watershed moment. We held a coffee shop at the shelter filled with jokes, poetry and musical performances. We were able to openly share our testimony with these men and they so appreciated our presence. Zimba, a wheel-chair bound Muslim West-African joined us in worship on Sunday and even sang an original song for us.

Ministry is hard work. It is hard. It is is work. In that sense, it's not super different from anybody else's work. It can be toilsome because we live in a toilsome world. Why would ministry work be any different from the struggles we all face in our jobs. But we also get to see the reality that God takes our offerings and makes something wonderful out of it, and the net result is always greater and more glorious than we expected. This is God's grace at work in our jobs.

Therefore, we must pray. Augustine said, "Work like it depends on you, and pray like it depends on God." Pray with me that this work will continue to bear fruit, that the church will grow, that God's kingdom would come in power through all that we're doing here. And may God bless you in your work. Your work is the way God has equipped you to reflect his glory, and it has great value.


Mini-Retreat focusing on Building Bridges in our community


All volunteer worship team


Mei being baptized on Easter


Erin and Mei


Easter pot luck



Ben, Christy, Eli and Gus (Easter 2017)


Prayer Report

Praise God for:

  • Two new leaders who have stepped up recently
  • Great involvement in our Pods program
  • New relationships with men from Project Renewal (homeless shelter)
  • Good relationships among leaders
  • Great mini-retreat on topic of "Being Missional"

Ask God for:

  • Divine assistance in reaching an 80-people in church benchmark by end of 2017
  • Developing a greater sense of family within our community
  • Additional leaders and volunteers to help with ministry
  • Health and energy for Christy (due June 29)
  • Vision for Justin who is contemplating starting a new missional community to the art and tech startup community

Thank you for your prayers and support!

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