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Vo l u m e 8 , I s s u e 1 S p r i n g 2 0 1 3 City Baptist Church Opens in Hoboken, New Jersey by Pastor Phil Rizzo I've heard “no two church plants are exactly the same.” I believe that to be true because I know no two fields are exactly the same. As I look back on the story of my life, I can see the way the Lord has prepared me. I did not see it at the time, but as we all know hindsight is 20/20. From my business background in real estate development to my ministry training under Pastor Jim Townsley, I certainly felt “ready” to hold our first service in Hoboken, New Jersey. We rented a small space in a fantastic location with a plan to build a core group of people through weekly Bible studies. With our first service on Resurrection Sunday, we planned to meet weekly, leading up to our launch date in the fall. For two weeks prior to the first Bible study, we advertised in the local paper, distributed over 1,000 invitations and spoke to people on the streets. On Resurrection Sunday 2012, the lights were on, chairs straitened, rugs vacuumed and message ready. Just my family with me, and the clock says 7:05 pm . Nothing along my journey seemed to prepare me for this moment. At 7:08 I said to my family, “OK, let's get ready to start.” The response I got from my eight-year-old daughter, Mia, will stay with me as long as I live. With tears beginning to roll down her cheeks, she replied, “I thought this was going to be fun.” As I searched for the right words of comfort, God's grace fell and five people strolled in—each with their own apologetic reason for being late, but I knew the real reason was for me. All that I learned from business and from Pastor Townsley could not teach faith. God himself needed to grow my faith and dependence on Him. I am humbled to have experienced the presence of God on Resurrection Sunday. Since then we have averaged 12 each week (low of 10, high of 22) with new visitors in every service. Knowing the Lord called me to start a church, not just a Bible Study, was the motivation to continually search for a more permanent facility to hold church services. We had September 23 planned as our start date. Some buildings we attempted to purchase, others we tried to rent, but God seemed to shut the door on all of them. Once again, as I began to get nervous about meeting our scheduled start, God showed up. Though we had out-bid another potential tenant, the landlord of 726 Jefferson Street felt he had already committed to another party. I was honestly frustrated and not very enthusiastic about “Plan B.” Then on September 9 I received a call from my realtor telling me that the other tenant had just suffered a heart attack and was unable to rent the building for his business. Knowing that God had intervened, we signed our lease and pushed the start date back to October 14. After signing the lease, we immediately began the demolition work and redesigning the layout. Most people in the community who have seen the renovation cannot believe the transformation. I give all glory to God. Our grand opening service was fantastic! We had 51 in the 10:00 am service and 32 in our 12:00 pm service. Between the two services we had 10 salvation decisions! We have no doubt that the “success” we saw on October 14, 2012, was a result of the prayers God heard from so many around the country. We appreciate all those who have prayed for City Baptist Church and look forward to sharing great news from Hoboken, New Jersey. Editors Note: Two weeks after the start of City Baptist Church, New Jersey and New York City were hit by a storm surge that RESEEDING AMERICA is a ministry of Baptist International Missions, Inc. www.reseedingamerica.com Contact: USA Director John Bailes 423–605–4020 USA Assistant Director Bob Larson 423–605–6098 John Bailes, Editor Bob Larson, Co-editor