Russel felt a clear call to full-time ministry when he was 14, although at the time he had no idea what shape that ministry would take. His education at Manhattan Christian College deepened his Biblical knowledge and put in place relationships that would open his eyes to the potential of church planting. It was Katie who asked him, “What are your dreams? What has God burdened you with?” The search for that answer confirmed Russel’s desire to help start a church in one of the busiest sections of New York City.
Russel was familiar with the area around Union Square through Katie, who attended school at New York University. Both Russel and Katie have a strong pull to minister in this bustling neighborhood. He shares, “NYC is rich with history and potential, full of the most beautiful thing in the world – people.”
Russel currently is in residency at Renaissance Church in Harlem while he prepares to lead the launch of the Manhattan Project in 2020.
In NYC, young professionals face pressures to find their identity in their work, in their abilities, in their educational status, and in their relationships. “Many people in the city are lonely, overworked, and lacking community. We believe that despite the trends that the west is becoming increasingly secular, people do want to talk about God and are asking questions about our meaning and purpose as humans.” Russel and Katie desire to build a church full of people who will understand and base their identity in Jesus.