Everyone knows that New York City is renowned as the nation’s melting pot of different cultures and nationalities. There is an eclectic mix of the Latin flavor of celebration, the gospel soul of African-Americans, and the many different European and Asian cultures thrown in! Through this diversity, there is so much potential for greatness. However, the church has faced a constant struggle to unite so many cultures in this one great city. Enter Metro Christian Center. A church that once began as a small church on a Bushwick street corner looks to have found the key in uniting both an English and Spanish congregation and thriving.
Pastors Tony and Gladys Lara are senior pastors of two very successful churches: Metro Christian Center and Centro Cristiano Metro. Two years ago, they began a mission to unite both churches and create one large service all together. Beginning once a month and increasing to every fifteen days, Connection Days, as they have been called, have seen around 1500 people, culminating in 35 nationalities, gathering together to worship in unity.
Is a bilingual service really possible in the fast-paced environment that New York offers? The Lara’s have found that the key is to find the strengths from each culture and use those differences to make the congregation stronger. The Latin community has an emphasis on celebration; communal gatherings around food and coffee, the African Americans have a deep appreciation for music and rhythm, whilst the European community appreciates structure and organization. By combining the strengths of all these cultures, we produce a multi-cultural service that everyone enjoys. It begins with an emphasis on musically driven praise and worship, all of which is led by bilingual praise and worship leaders. A tone of celebration throughout the service, beginning with the praise and worship and continuing throughout with an uplifting and entertaining preaching, all whilst maintaining structure and order.
2 years later and continuing to grow, Metro Christian Center’s Connection Days are proof that there is a place for a multi-cultural service in New York City. Twin churches can come together and bring success.
Pastor Tony Lara
Pastors Tony and Gladys Lara are building Great churches in New York.
They are learning to work successfully in a muti-cultural environment.
I have had the pleasure to worship and minister with them there several times. I thank the
Lord for this example of God’s grace. Heaven will be wonderful.
The Lord is At work!
D Chris Thompson
Executive Director of Evangelism USA