We have a son and daughter in law who have recently moved to New York. With this in mind I’ve been wondering what it might be like to engage in mission and ministry in NYC, as they start this new season of their lives. To get a little more of an idea I have been re-reading Own the Moment by Carl Lentz. Carl is the Lead Pastor at Hillsong, NYC.
Carl is not your typical pastor! He is a tattooed thirty-something who wears a motorcycle jacket, listens to hip-hop music, references The Walking Dead and Black Lives Matter in his sermons, and every Sunday draws a standing-room only crowd to a venue normally used for rock concerts.
You may wonder what the lead pastor of Hillsong NYC might have to say to us, here in the heart of the Cotswolds! Rather surprisingly I think he has rather a lot to say to us in his mission to make Christianity accessible in the 21st century.
In Own The Moment, he shares the inspiring story of how he went from being an average teenager who couldn’t care less about church to leading one of the country’s fastest-growing congregations—how one day he is trying to convince a Virginia Beach 7-Eleven clerk to attend his service, and just a few years later he is baptizing a global music icon in an NBA player’s Manhattan bathtub.
Amid such personal tales, Lentz also offers illuminating readings of Bible passages and practical tips on how to live as a person of faith in an increasingly materialistic world. How do you maintain your values—and pass them onto your children—in a society that worships money and sex and fame? How do you embrace your flaws in this Instagram era that exalts the appearance of perfection? How do you forget about “living the dream” and learn to embrace the beauty of your reality?
These are just a few of the many important questions Lentz answers in Own he Moment, a book I recommend, and a powerful book that redefines not just Christianity but spirituality as a whole.