December 4, 2020
Though 2020 has proven to be the toughest and most difficult year in our lifetimes, it has also provided incredible opportunities for God’s goodness and faithfulness to break through. Communities have rallied together to serve their neighbors, new churches continue to be planted, and God’s work presses on. For LEAD.NYC, one significant glimpse of God’s faithfulness is the addition of three brothers to our team to help us strive to be faithful to the work God has called us to.
Mark Atkinson and Peter Rhee join the LEAD.NYC team as Community Liaisons for the 10 Zip Codes Project. Mark is on the ground serving in East New York and Peter is laboring in Washington Heights.
“As long as sin exists, brokenness will continue to trouble us,” Peter says. “I’m praying that the people of Washington Heights will not only grow to trust in churches with their needs because of real relationships, but also to be inspired enough to participate and join in Christ’s work of renewal and justice.”
Mark shares similar sentiments for his neighbors in East New York. “[This neighborhood] has been known for decades upon decades as one of the roughest and most dangerous in New York City,” he admits. “I want people to come and see an East New York where the zip code of a student doesn’t determine their destiny. It is my dream and desire for people all over the city and the world to come and see East New York changed to a community where the most vulnerable are cared for with the same respect, dignity, and access as the most powerful.”
Coming alongside Mark and Peter is Peter Ong who joins the team as an adviser to the Decadal Plan, the 10-year journey we are embarking on to see 1 million new Metro New Yorkers be reached with the gospel. The 10 Zip Codes Project serves as a foundational initiative of this journey.
“This is one of many historic moments that God is bringing forth a renewal of the church,” Peter says about the profound disruptions of 2020. “I believe that God is sowing into this city to be a city on a hill to the world.”
There’s no doubt that God will use Peter’s longtime ministry experiences in New York City to be a significant part of this renewal.
“I am convinced that God brought me through urban youth ministry, church planting with young adults, and mercy and justice work so that I can be part of God’s work through this 10-year vision,” he says. “I love the body of Christ and each neighborhood. I hope that our witness to the world would be that we are known for our sacrificial love for one another, that the cross becomes a symbol of hope from despair, and that we are awaiting the complete renewal of all things while actively pursuing that while we are here on earth.”
Will you join us in praying for the work of Peter Ong, Peter Rhee, and Mark Atkinson? God has called them to serve Him and His people in a number of ways, and we are grateful to call them co-laborers in this work.
“It is our mandate from Heaven, our command from Heaven, to impact not just every relationship, but every system that doesn’t affirm and enable the citizens of this city to live truly whole lives as Image Bearers,” Mark emphatically states. “This isn’t just a dream. This is a reality that we will see lived out in the next 10 years.”
May it be so.
Director, Decadal Plan