December 18, 2017

Why We are in Manhattan


Background and Burden

Matt Recker

Manhattan, New York, is an island where one can reach the world within just 22.83 square miles of space. One of the five boroughs of New York City, Manhattan is the second smallest county in the United States. Conversely with its 1.6 million people, Manhattan is the most densely populated county in the nation with over 71,000 residents per square mile. But there’s more! Manhattan’s population is much larger than that. On any normal work day, the commuter influx swells Manhattan’s number to over 3.9 million souls, or more than 170,000 people per square mile. This daytime population consists of approximately 1.61 million commuting workers, 1.46 million local residents, 404,000 out-of-town visitors, 374,000 local day-trip visitors, 17,000 hospital patients, and 70,000 commuting students. Manhattan has the greatest increase in population during the day among all U.S. counties. It’s complex maze of tunnels, bridges, railroad lines, subways, commuter rail, ferry systems, bicycle lanes, and pedestrian walkways link Manhattan to the surrounding counties, cities and towns.


Manhattan is also an economic powerhouse anchored by Wall Street. It is an iconic cultural center highlighted by such places like Broadway and Lincoln Center. It is home to landmark museums, and it is a vast storehouse of ethnic diversity with a plethora of famous neighborhoods like Harlem, Chinatown, and Greenwich Village. Manhattan is a tourist attraction as over 55 million people annually come to see Times Square, Central Park, or the Statue of Liberty. It is a destination for international students and first generation immigrants from all over the world. Manhattan is a world capital and the home to the United Nations.

With all of this, Manhattan is neglected by Bible believing Christians with at best only a few, less than three, Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches. It is a spiritual ground zero. About 56% of Manhattanites claim no religion, 20% are Roman Catholic, 11 % are “other” and only about 4% say they they are “evangelical protestant.”

Furthermore, we believe Manhattan is in greater need than ever for Bible believing, Christ exalting, Independent Baptist churches. “The Lord’s voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name” (Micah 6:9). Our church in Manhattan, Heritage Baptist Church, was born in May, 1996, and has consisted of a diverse group of New Yorkers (from all the Boroughs as well as Long Island and New Jersey), all ethnicities and all age groups. We’ve met in rented facilities in the Chelsea, Mid-town, Greenwich Village and the Murray Hill sections of Manhattan. These communities are in dire need of the Gospel. We believe that God has “much people in this city” as in Corinth of old (Acts 18:10). The God who said “should not I spare Nineveh,” a city full of corruption and violence, also has love to spare for New York City. Manhattan today needs strong churches standing on the infallible Word of God and preaching the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

After 20 years of ministry in Manhattan through Heritage Baptist Church we are passionate and optimistic to fulfill our Biblical purposes, and to obtain a central hub of Gospel ministry by purchasing a permanent property, specifically commercial condominium space. Condominium space will offer tremendous ministry stability and many opportunities including a multi- purpose ministry center for Heritage Baptist Church. With rapidly increasing rates for commercial real estate in both rental and buyer markets, as well as the tenuous rental situation in the NYC public school system, the time is now for us to purchase a permanent property to secure long term ministry stability in Manhattan, NY and to continue access to this vital urban center. Please join us in prayer as we seek God’s aid for the next step of our ministry.

Matt Recker is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in New York City.

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