yGen isn’t your run-of-the-mill church. Instead of pews, round tables fill the space, and worship is led from a stage platform. Attendees come dressed formally or informally, the music is lively, the service is interactive, and Sabbath School happens over lunch following the worship service. This is Greater New York Conference’s first Seventh-day Adventist café-style church.
MyGen was created by Ricardo Bain, pastor of the New Life and Tabernacle of Joy churches in New York. As he focused his doctoral studies on youth and young adult ministries, Bain wanted to organize a church that engaged young people in mission work in New York City. In 2014, he shared his vision with several people, and two years later, after much prayer, the organizing process began. Then in upper Manhattan, the MyGen Seventh-day Adventist Church was born.
Yeiri Robert, a member of MyGen's organizing committee, believes that this church is a welcoming space for young people to talk about difficult issues that they may not be comfortable discussing at home. She said, “A church like MyGen allows young people to be themselves and find themselves and to make that ultimate choice to live for God.” Though many young people were rapidly leaving her church, Robert is grateful for the safe, judgment-free environment that MyGen affords, making it one of the church’s most attractive qualities.
For Chad Simmons, MyGen was the catalyst that reclaimed him to the Adventist Church. Before coming to MyGen, Simmons was an active member of an Adventist church, where he found his passion to work with youth. He was excited about promoting programs for young people, but after feeling discouraged and unsupported with his ideas and programs, he eventually left the church. However, he didn't leave the faith. “For me, it was about spirituality versus being in religion,” he explained.
Although he didn’t attend church, Simmons still kept the Sabbath day holy and continued nurturing his relationship with God. At a homecoming service, he met Bain, who told him about MyGen church. When Simmons heard about MyGen’s plans and goals, he wanted to be a part of it in every way. “It’s bringing me back into Seventh-day Adventism,” he said.
For members like Simmons, MyGen is a place where young people can worship God in an interactive environment while building relationships with uplifting and encouraging people, said leaders of the MyGen church team. They have also begun planning mission projects in New York City. They said, “This mission-driven church plant is a wonderful example of reaching millennials in Greater New York and beyond.”
Ricardo Bain saw a need to engage young people in reaching New York City for Christ, so he used an out-of-the-box approach to meet that need. This is the core of Mission to the Cities. This world initiative seeks to plant new congregations in every city with a population greater than 1 million. This challenges “the way we’ve always done it,” calling for church planters to take unconventional routes to reach urban areas while still building on Christ’s method of ministry. It’s time to reach the cities. How will you be a part?
To learn more, visit MissionToTheCities.org.
Christ’s Method of Ministry
“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me’” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).