May 11, 2017
Dear TGC Midtown & Upper East Side,
In case you missed the announcement of our church’s new name and plans on Sunday, we wanted to make sure you heard from us directly about the next steps. It’s important to us that we all be on the same page as we roll out the plans for the future.
To recap, our new name will be:
Church of the City New York
We’ll take the summer to ensure our ministries, curriculum and programs are organized properly, leading up to an official relaunch on September 10th. We will spend the next month integrating new communication, financial and operating systems, so please be patient as we work through the details.
You may already know that there is a church by the same name in Nashville, and that is not a coincidence. Jon’s best friend of 25 years, Darren Whitehead, founded that church and is its pastor, and we played a role in helping them get started. When it became clear that God was leading us into a new season of ministry, we began discussions, along with our Leadership Council, about what it would look like to partner together with Church of the City Nashville to plant Church of the City New York. We will be partnering together as a church family and they are very generously helping us with the complicated early stages of a new church including providing administrative support and legal covering. We are very excited about the possibilities of leveraging each of our own strengths to see the Kingdom advance together.
Although our name is new, we will continue to be the church you’ve come to know and care about. We will continue to operate as one church with morning and evening services; we remain one in terms of our leadership structure and shared staff.
Leading our church has been a great joy, and we hope you share our excitement for all that God will do through Church of the City New York. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.
Jon and Christy Tyson
April 23, 2017
Dear TGC Midtown & Upper East Side,
While you should have received the announcement from Trinity Grace Executive Pastor Josh Staton that TGC is particularizing, I want to communicate with you directly about what will happen with our church as I discussed on Sunday at both services. There are a lot of changes happening right now and I want to make sure you have clarity so we can navigate these well and lean into the mission God has for us as a church family.
What is happening?
Our two congregations are leaving TGC to become a new church, with a new name and a new 501c3 that will be announced in the next month and officially launch in September this year.
The other TGC congregations will have a year to determine what is best for their individual congregations and the direction and vision that God has for them. They will also become their own separate 501c3s.
Why is this happening?
Many of you know that I have been wrestling with a sense of how to best use my gifts to
serve you for some time, and in this process, it’s become very clear that this is the best way forward for Christy and me as leaders and our church family as a whole. Most importantly, I have a deep sense of God’s call on my life to focus on the Midtown and the Upper East Side congregations. God spoke through mentors, friends, other leaders and in my own reading of Scripture, confirming the admonition in Acts 20:28, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.”
Leading Midtown and the UES has been the great joy of my life, but my responsibilities in leading TGC as the founding pastor and member of the apostolic team have not allowed me to give you the care, leadership and attention that is needed. I also recognize that management is not at the core of my skillset, and being responsible for 9 other churches has been a real tension for me.
I have processed this sense of call and desire to focus on leading our church with the Apostolic Team and the Board that oversee TGC. As a response to my desire to leave and focus on this new work, they decided that the time was right for the other parishes to mature into their own 501c3s. Although building a network of churches was not our goal or core strategy, that’s what TGC has become, which makes particularization the natural next phase.
Let me be clear: there has been no relational falling out or scandal that has caused this process. The other TGC pastors are some of my oldest and dearest friends and we hope to partner together in serving the church and building the Kingdom in more relational ways going forward. I stand in awe of what God has done at TGC over last eleven years – it has truly been amazing. It has been an absolute privilege to help plant these churches across the city. Over time, each TGC congregation has taken on a more distinct identity and focus, which increasingly reflects that parish’s mission and it’s time for that to be fully released and empowered at a local level.
What is going to change for you?
In the short run, very little :) We will continue to have services in the morning on the UES and the evening in Midtown led by the same team and doing the same ministry, but hopefully with better leadership and care. I am more committed than ever to leading the Midtown and Upper East Side congregations – you are the people I want to prioritize with my time and leadership. God is already doing extraordinary things in our midst, stirring a real hunger for His presence and power. The changes that do happen will reflect our desire to follow the Holy Spirit in His leading, and we are looking forward to all that He has in store for us.
In a few weeks, we will roll out our new name and new 501c3. We will be one church with two services going forward, which is the direction and reality in which we have already been functioning.
What if I have more questions?
Through this process we have had a leadership council that has helped navigate this process and will continue to do so moving forward. It is comprised of Ben & Heather Grizzle, Won & Caroline Kim and Mike & Bea Tafoya. These are some of our most committed and dedicated leaders and they have been such a help to Christy and me in walking through this process.
If you have any questions, direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and the best member of the team will get back with you.
I am grateful to be on this journey with you and more expectant than ever about what God is going to do in our congregation and in New York.
It is a joy to be your pastor.