The Formula for Greatness: Reporting from #GodBelongsInMyCity

By Jeremy Del Rio

No budget + high profile hostility
+ lousy weather + despondent adult leaders
+ inspired student leaders + 2 weeks notice
+ a community greatly loved + supportive adults
+ viral technology + a God idea
= one of the most amazing youth ministry experiences of my 23 year youth ministry career.

Best of all, for a veteran youth worker: I had nothing to do with organizing it.

All I had to do was show up, with a faith-filled heart and eyes to watch it happen.

In case you missed the memo (or the 100s of #GodBelongsInMyCity Tweets last week), 1,500 people marched through the streets of Manhattan on Saturday, November 14, from 96th Street in the North to Battery Park in the South, with shirts that proclaimed, “God Belongs in My City.”

“March” is actually a misnomer. There was no hostility or militancy.
It was more of a walk with a purpose: to radiate love and affection for
God and neighbor, while praying that God would be glorified in our City
by lives that love others well.

The catalyst for the day was a dismayed youth pastor who asked some
of his student leaders why Christians were publicly silent after
atheists launched a citywide ad blitz claiming 1 million New Yorkers
reject the existence of God. They responded as only youth can — by
launching a movement.

Despite a Noreaster bearing down on the Northeast, with flash floods
forecast throughout the day, a 1,500 person Flash Mob showed up at the
two rally points at 9 am.

God smiled on them. The sun began to shine, and the rains held for
four hours, just long enough to convene on the TKTS steps at Times
Square for an impromptu worship service followed by a silent prayer
meeting beneath the Zodiac mural in the Main Lobby of venerable Grand
Central Station.

In the process, adults like me experienced the awe-inspiring joy
that can happen only after we have gotten out of David’s way long
enough to watch Goliath topple.

Some of the highlights (a sampling of play-by-play tweets from the day, with links to photos):

More Viral Videos

Google Video is picking up new “God Belongs in My City” videos each time I search. Watch the first two here.

One Youth Group’s Journey

Here’s another perspective from the North route. (Please comment if you know which group this is. Thanks!)


One Comment

  1. Adrianna Wright

    Thanks for reporting on this! It’s the most encouraging thing I’ve read in a while.

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