Welcome

We're delighted that you will participate in the 2018 NYC Church Planter Intensive. This will be your "web home" while you're in New York City, so please continue checking back here for the latest information. 

During the NYC Intensive you'll take part in seminars led by Redeemer City to City (CTC) faculty, Tim Keller and other leaders. On Sundays you'll visit different NYC church plants and have an opportunity to interact with NYC pastors. Many Intensives (what CTC calls participants) keep in touch with one another - and us - years after their training is completed. 

Everyone at CTC looks forward to meeting you.

 

Each participant of the Intensive is housed in corporate apartments in Jersey City, New Jersey. These apartments are beautiful, clean and very accessible to the Redeemer offices. Each apartment comes equipped with a full kitchen, and there are grocery stores within walking distance.

Housing begins: The evening of Friday, September 14
Housing ends: The morning of Wednesday, October 3

Redeemer City to City will cover the costs of church planters individual housing during the Intensive. Your spouse and children are welcome in New York City during the Intensive; however, you must cover the additional cost of housing them. If you are attending as a network leader/trainer or catalyst with or without your family, you are responsible for your housing costs.

If you come to New York by yourself, you will be housed in a shared room with another participant of the program - either in a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment.

If you come with your spouse, you will be housed in either a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment with another couple.

If you come with children, we will work out the arrangement with you individually - either to share an apartment with another family or to be housed in an apartment by yourselves. Below is an average breakdown of what you can expect to pay if you decide to bring a spouse / children.

• If you request a one-bedroom apartment for you and your spouse [and infant if applicable] the cost to you will be between $4,100 - $4,600.

• If you request a two-bedroom apartment to share with your spouse and one other couple, the cost to you will be about $2,100.

• If you request a two-bedroom apartment for you and your family, the cost to you will be between $5,600-$6,100.

Note: We have found that being accompanied by a spouse during the program is very beneficial. It helps alleviate homesickness and also can further draw you and your spouse together as a team in the church planting process.

Bringing small children adds to cost and also comes with challenges due to travel, foreign housing and adjustment to life in New York City. It will be a rewarding experience, but it is good to be aware of the challenges ahead of time so you can be mentally and emotionally prepared.

When do I come? When do I go?

Housing begins: Friday, September 14 at 5pm. You cannot move into your apartment before this time.
Housing ends: Wednesday, October 3 at 12pm. You must be vacated from your apartment by noon.

I'm at THE airport. Now what?

There are three airports you can use:

Newark International Airport (Closest to your accommodations)
JFK International Airport
LaGuardia International Airport

The easiest transportation from the airport to your housing will be by taxi, chauffeured car (which will cost about $100) or shuttle serviceYou can also use Uber or Lyft and request a car using the app once you land in New York City. Uber Pool and Lyft Line with be the cheapest option, but you will most likely end up riding with strangers. 

If arriving at JFK International, you can also take the subway or LIRR into Manhattan. Please see this website for more information and current prices

I'm in NYC. Now what?

Redeemer City to City will cover the costs of your subway transportation (only you, the planter) during the Intensive. Make sure you buy ground transportation only up to Orientation on September 15th. Your transportation cards will be given to you during the Welcome Orientation.

For more information about public transportation - Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) - please see the official website.

Who will feed me?

We provide a few lunches during training sessions, but you are responsible for most of your meals. On average, you can expect to spend about $30 per day/per person on meals in New York. You can lower this cost if you buy groceries and prepare your own food. The City to City offices have refrigerators and microwaves.

Who can attend training sessions?

Spouses are welcome at all training sessions. Infants and children are not permitted in the training sessions.

what to wear?

You will be in New York during the beginning of fall. The weather in September is hard to predict. It can be a lovely time of year, or it can still be warm and humid. Bring cool weather clothes such as jackets, sweaters and long pants /jeans but also bring some items for those last days of summer weather. Visit this site for more detailed information about New York City weather.

WHEN IS wELCOME ORIENTATION?

Everyone should attend the Welcome Orientation that will take place on Saturday, September 15th.

You will receive the official schedule at orientation. However for planning purposes, sessions will be held Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 5:30 pm. Saturdays will be free days and visits to NYC church plants will take place on Sundays. 

What if I have more questions?

Please contact Nada Pottinger - Intensive Project Manager - with any additional questions. 

You'll meet most of the City to City staff at the Orientation on Saturday, September 15, 2018. 

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Silvia Ileri

Istanbul, Turkey

My name is Silvia and I’m from Hamburg, Germany. I’m a special- education teacher for children with learning and hearing disabilities. I’ve been married to Bilge for 14 years. We have three kids: Yunus Elias (7), Leyla Mathea (4), and Taylan Jonathan (2). 
 
Even though I was raised in a Christian home and have always served at church in various areas like worship, children ministry, small groups, and women, my original spiritual background tended to be more leaning towards a legalistic understanding of faith. After meeting my husband in 2002, we’ve both been very blessed to discover the gospel of grace, which has led to drastic changes in our faith. 
 
Since then, we’ve been on a journey finding out where God really wants to have us and realized it's Turkey. Over the past four years we have been engaged in training for church planting at the Hamburgprojekt church. Since summer 2017 we’ve been living in Istanbul, Turkey, as God called us to return to my husband’s country to plant churches there. 
 
Originally we had intended to do the Intensive together as a family in 2016, but due to giving birth to our third child immediately before the training started, I wasn’t able to participate then. Thus, I’m very much looking forward to being part of the Intensive Training this year. 

 

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Innocent Manirafasha

Kigali, Rwanda

I was born and raised in the south-western part of Rwanda in a non-Christian family. I got interested in church when I was young and got involved in many church activities, but I did not hear the gospel well explained to me until I was in high school. Even then I was not certain of my salvation until I started being discipled in my university years where I met a faithful teacher of the Bible in the Students’ Christian Union. From that time, the Lord gave me a strong love for the Word of God and the desire to reach out to non-Christians and to disciple the believers who lack assurance. 


Rwanda is a “Christian” country (more than 90%), but few churches teach the Bible faithfully and discipleship of new converts is very rare. Hence, upon graduation in 2009, I started working as a campus staff to disciple university students. Four years later, my heart had been intensely drawn to helping the wider church. I and a team of like-minded friends started contemplating the idea of church planting in the city of Kigali. Yet we had seen many people starting well but soon deviated from the truth due to lack of adequate preparation and proper training. So God persuaded us to give that idea a period of three years to mature as I pursued theological training. In God’s provision, I received a three-year scholarship at George Whitefield College, Cape Town, South Africa, through November 2016. 


We started Gospel Community Church (GCC) on January 15, 2017 in Kigali, one of the quickly-emerging cities in East Africa. Our church is now about 50 adults and 50 kids. Our desire is to be a community of reproducing disciples committed to the faithful proclamation of God’s Word to reach all nations. We hope God will establish more gospel-centered churches in this city through GCC or through our help. Being 18 months old now, GCC has started to face challenges. It is the right time for me to retreat under CTC’s Intensive for more wisdom and a fresh light on this planting journey. I am engaged to Marlene.  

 

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Jonathan DeGroot

Glasgow, Scotland

I was born and raised in Aberdeen and, while I had heard about Jesus, I knew nothing about why he came. My mother came to faith through faithful Bible teaching when she began attending our local church. As I went along as a child, I began to understand the Christian faith but decided to leave Christianity until later in life. However, after hearing a clear presentation of the gospel as a young person, I prayed to confess my sin, seek God’s forgiveness and thanked him for sending Jesus to die on a cross to take the punishment I deserve.

I began to sense a call to ministry while working in an engineering office. This came through a deeper understanding of the gospel alongside a burden for those I saw who were seeking satisfaction in life through money, sex and power. I felt I could do no other than pursue Christian ministry. I left my job, went to study theology, worked as a youth minister, then trained for ministry in the Church of Scotland, including some postgraduate study in church planting. I served as an ordained minister for 10 years, first in a church revitalisation work in Edinburgh and then a large church in Glasgow. Due to my Biblical convictions, I made the decision to leave the denomination and stepped out in faith to begin a new church in Glasgow.
Excited by the vision of the Free Church of Scotland to plant more churches (30 by 2030), I applied and, after assessment, I have been encouraged to pioneer a reformed and contemporary new church in Glasgow with the primary aim of reaching the lost for Christ. The city has as its motto, “Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name.” While everyone wants Glasgow to flourish, not many believe it will happen through preaching God’s word. While we are in the early stages of planting Christ Church Glasgow, our priority is to preach God’s word and praise his name amongst the many people in our great city who know nothing of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ.

I am married to Sheona and we have three children, Joshua, Matthew and Rebekah. I am grateful to Redeemer City to City for this excellent opportunity and am excited to join with others in this training program.

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Jónatas Duarte

Aveiro, Portugal

I’m married to Débora and we have two children, João, 3 and Tiago, 2. We are also expecting one daughter, Maria, who will be born next November, by God’s will. 

I was born and raised in a small village called Silveiro near Aveiro, Portugal. By God’s grace I grew up in a godly family. We are members of a Brethren Church. My father is one of our six church elders, and I was also recently recognized as one.

I studied Radiology at Coimbra Health School and worked three years in a telecommunications company before God called me to study theology at Portuguese Bible Institute. It was challenging but very gratifying. I felt God working in our lives, family, ministry, perspective and relationships in an extraordinary way. 

I graduated June this year and I have been serving as a full-time minister since that month. I’m passionate about God, preaching the gospel and seeing people's lives transformed with that powerful message. We are planning to do a replanting of a church nearby. The church in Portugal is in need of a church-planting and replanting perspective that takes into account the particular context of the Portuguese mentality and the challenges that this mentality has suffered.

I’m very grateful for this opportunity to attend the 2018 NYC Intensive and excited to meet new people and learn from them and their experiences. I hope that it will help us as a church and an area to move in the right direction and see the kingdom of God expanding to God’s glory.

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Mark Tibben

Melbourne, Australia

I grew up in a Christian home and have known Jesus and his grace in my life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the Dutch Reformed Church, went to an Anglican seminary after my undergrad in Arts and currently work in a Baptist church. I have plans to start a church in the west of Melbourne with another minister and life-long friend in 2019.

I love church history, and I am especially interested in the work of Geerhardus Vos and will soon commence some postgrad study into his life and thought. I have been greatly blessed and encouraged by the Incubator course, and am looking forward to hearing and learning from everyone at the Intensive.

 

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Ryno Meyer

Pretoria, South Africa

I was born in Durban on the east coast of South Africa but raised in Pretoria, South Africa's capital. I grew up with two loving parents (which is not the rule but rather the exception in South Africa), and two brothers, one older and one younger. 

My biggest dream growing up was to become a Chartered Accountant and to work in the financial sector of the corporate/business world. I dreamt of teaching businesses how to "save themselves," and specialising in business rescue and turnaround strategies. There is so much irony in this, please keep reading...

I started studying accounting in Pretoria in 2005, the first step to pursuing the above-mentioned dream. 

In May of 2005, I crossed the line of faith and got saved. Oh, how sweet the sound of God's amazing grace!! 

I was invited into a church community immediately, and after three months in this community my fellow brothers and sisters pointed out to me that I have a gift for teaching and that I can communicate clearly. I gladly received the feedback and nudge, as this all was part of my vocational imagination. 

In October 2005 I heard God calling me into full-time ministry, and the only appropriate response I was taught by my church community was "obey right away." So I did. 

What an adventure it has been!! Still teaching. Still specialising in turnaround strategies. Not teaching people how to save themselves though, but rather teaching people about the One who saves!!   

Since 2007 I have been working at Pierre van Ryneveld Geloofsfamilie (Pierre van Ryneveld is an area/suburb in Pretoria, and Geloofsfamilie means "Family of Faith") in various capacities. 

In this time, by God's grace, He has awakened me to the wonder and beauty of his diverse, global, transcultural church. I say this is by God's grace because the Dutch Reformed Church (the denomination of which we form a part) is predominantly made up of white people speaking Afrikaans. That means not diverse and not transcultural. 

I met Mari on a short-term missions trip in Swaziland in 2008. We got married in 2012, and God has given us two amazing daughters, 3-year old Ava (meaning filled with life and praise) and 1 year-old Cadi (meaning pure, blameless and set aside). 

So here we stand, ready and set to plant a transcultural church out of Pierre van Ryneveld Geloofsfamilie, in the city we grew up in, love so much, and know so well! 

I love good conversation, coffee and running. Hopefully my time at the Intensive will be filled with an abundance of these. 

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DIEGO BITENCOURT

Campo Mourao, Brazil

I was born and raised in Santos, Brazil. By God’s grace, I was raised in a Christian family and have wonderful parents that, since my childhood, taught me the Word and led by example on what it means to follow Christ and engage in His mission.
I felt the calling to be a pastor when I was 16 years old. In 2006, I moved to Campo Mourao, southern Brazil to attend Seminary and I graduated a few years later. The most precious gift was to meet my lovely wife, Aline during Seminary. We have been married now for 11 years and have two wonderful boys, Noah, a five year old, and Gael, our 18 months old baby boy.

I had the privilege to be part of the core group that helped plant Calvary Campo 12 years ago while I was a seminary student. I have now been serving this church as their senior pastor for the past 8 years. I am passionate about teaching God’s word, reaching the lost and being able to see the transforming power of the Gospel in their lives. We have an NGO that serves the community in our area with a variety of projects in the areas of sports, arts, culture and health care, specially with poor children and their families. Our church has also been involved with a few church plant projects in different cities.

My desire is to see: gospel centered, bible teaching, missional churches being planted all across Brazil. We are currently praying about the possibility of planting a church in the city of Maringá, Paraná, Brazil. Maringá is a vibrant city, full of life and we see a clear need for more missional churches.

I feel deeply honored and excited to be part of the 2018 CTC International Intensives!

 

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Cesar França

Londrina, Brazil

My family became Presbyterian when my great-great-grandfather, Joaquim Mateus Ferreira, was reached by the gospel in 1880 through the preaching of American missionary Rev. Robert Lenington. I am now the fifth-generation Presbyterian in my family.

I became a Christian in 1983. I met my wife, Renata, and we both studied at the State University of Londrina. She majored in psychology and I in accounting. We have been married since 2003, and have been serving at Central Presbyterian Church in Londrina, Brazil since 2002. We have served with young children (with a Children’s Ministry that serves 600 children!), teenagers (with 35 small groups!) and singles, and in 2007 I was ordained as a “lay pastor” and serve as an assistant pastor.

Today I’m responsible for 29 small groups among young professionals and young couples, My wife and I also still take care of first childhood (0-5 years). We feel God has called us to a new challenge: planting a new church—an extension of Central Presbyterian Church—on the outskirts of our city! I am excited to work with City to City to plant this campus that will be able to bless the city.

 

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Mbombo "Andre" Ntambwe

Cape Town, South Africa

I’m originally from The Democratic Rep of Congo and currently reside in Cape Town, South Africa. I’m married to Sabrina , and we have three boys, Lance 10, Mickey 7 and Andre Junior (AJ) 4. I’m a pioneer who loves church planting and strengthening other leaders. My wife and I planted Common Ground Church Wynberg (a multicultural and multiracial congregation in Cape Town) six years ago. I serve as the congregation leader and assist the broader family of Common Grounders to strengthen church leaders in under-resourced communities. I’m also the co-founder of The Zanokhanyo-Network (TZN), an initiative of Common Good Foundation that focuses on training unemployed and under-employed foreigners and locals.

Common Ground Wynberg started as a response to a need of six unemployed individuals affected by the xenophobic attacks of 2008 against foreign nationals in South Africa. This tragedy event led to a gospel opportunity through which a gospel-centered and diverse community of Wynberg was birthed. 

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David Kobedi

Johannesburg, South Africa

My wife Puseletso and I have been married for five years, and we have a one-year-old boy, Oagile.
 
I grew up in the North West province of South Africa in a small rural village outside of Rustenburg. From as early as I can remember, my family was devoted to church and African traditional religion. So, our deeply syncretistic belief muddied the waters of who Jesus was and what his gospel meant. In 2002, I relocated close to Rustenburg; this is where I heard the gospel for the first time and got converted.
 
The burden to share the gospel began in high school and drove me to enroll at the Johannesburg Bible College. I later completed my undergraduate studies at George Whitefield College in Cape Town. After completing my post-college curacy program, I was ordained into full-time Christian work.
 
I currently serve as one of the pastors in a multi-ethnic church in the growing area of Midrand in Johannesburg. I have the great privilege of leading the evening service at our church that focuses on reaching people between the ages of 18-40 in and around Midrand. I’m passionate about getting the gospel out through the local church.
 
I’ve had a privilege of being part of the new Johannesburg Incubation Hub, and I want to use my time in the Intensive to train new church planters to reach different people around the city of Johannesburg.

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Tim Lien

Los Angeles, California

Tim is a Southern Californian native who remembers going to Lakers's games at The Forum. He attended seminary at Covenant Seminary (St. Louis, MO) and ministered in an SEC college town for 10 years before planting The Way Church in South Pasadena through Pacific Crossroads Church.

Tim has a deep desire to see many more churches planted throughout the LA basin. Because no one church (or denomination) can reach a city, both he and his wife, Melissa, pray that a movement of Jesus-following and Jesus-proclaiming churches begin to serve each other and their neighbors around them. 

Tim and Melissa enjoy hiking, biking, traveling, and playing outdoors with their four children. And Korean BBQ. They also imagine serene, quiet places when the caffeine begins to wear off.

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Elvis Batista

Santiago, DominicAN Republic

I was born in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, the youngest of six children. Married to Aysa Saint-hilaire de Batista and father of four children, I studied business administration at the University of UTESA and theology at the Bible Seminary of the Americas.

I love sports, especially basketball and baseball, which I've played since my childhood. I opened my heart to the gospel for the first time at a church summer basketball camp in my community. At the age of 25, I read a book inspired by the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul. This lit a fire in my heart and motivated me to plant new churches.

Today, I am the director of a movement that is focused on the vision of planting 1000 churches in the next 10 years.

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JUHANI AHOLA
Tampere, FINLAND


I was born in a small town in Northern Finland and got involved with a local church when my (future) wife invited me to visit. Since then I’ve been involved in full time ministry, first as a youth leader and then serving in Israel.


I was an Operation Mobilization (OM) leader in Finland for 15 years and now I’m OM Europe’s church-planting coordinator and a coach. I’m also one of the training pastors in our local fellowship.


I’ve been married to my lovely wife Sari for over 32 years. We have four adult children and two GREAT grandsons. I love reading, preaching / teaching, playing guitar, playing ice hockey and spending time with my family. 

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Fausto Liriano

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Fausto Liriano is the pastor of El Círculo, a church reaching mostly younger people in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He is married to Noelia, and they have two children: Benjamin and Daniela. Fausto also works in Bible translation for indigenous communities in Mexico, Venezuela and Suriname. He is the author of a book called Damn World, which focuses on the experience and application of the Sermon on the Mount. Fausto is completing his PhD in Biblical Hebrew at the University of Barcelona, Spain.