Churches in New York City are growing rapidly, with an increased church attendance and a rise in the number of people professing to be born-again believers, according to various reports.
The most astounding growth has been observed during the past five years, which is being attributed to efforts of spiritual revival by many church leaders.
Less than one percent of the city population attended church in 1989, but number has grown to about five percent and the most spectacular rise was witnessed after 2010, CBN News reported.
Various studies also observed the trend of increased faith activity in the city over the last two decades, and said that outreach activities by church and Christian books making it to bestsellers list influenced the growth.
A Barna study released in 2011 noted that though many people filled the churches post 9/11, the effect did not last long and after a few months the church attendance was back to near pre-9/11 levels. The study shows that the real church growth increased after 2004, indicating that the reasons behind them went beyond crisis events and could be attributed to efforts of revival events by church leaders.
Barna group was conducted on 3,400 New York residents, which reveal that the city become more "spiritually active" in 2010 as compared to late 1990s and after the short-lived spike in church growth post 9/11.
The study also says that the number of born-again Christians in New York rose from 20 percent before the turn of the century to 32 percent around 2010.
"Also reflecting the overall rise in spiritual participation, the percentage of residents of the New York area who are unchurched - defined as those who have not attended a worship service in the last six months - declined from 42% to 34% (between late 1990s and 2010)," a Barna report says.
Religion News Service cited a list of 16 church leaders who put in their efforts to reach more and more New Yorkers, including Pastor Tim Keller, Pastor Jim Cymbala, Greg Thornbury, Jon Tyson, Michael Luo, Gabe Lyons, Gabriel Salguero, A.R. Bernard, and Raymond Rivera. Many of these pastors also authored books which were widely read, and might have contributed to bringing more people to church. Sally Lloyd-Jones's book for children sold over one million copies and was listed among New York Times bestsellers.
"Most of the change in spiritual behavior seems to have happened since the middle of the last decade. Church participation in the New York market especially has shifted most since 2004," Barna Group president David Kinnaman noted.
The trend continues with mass spiritual gatherings being organized in the city. In October, thousands of Christians from over 90 countries assembled in New York to participate in the Movement Day Global conference.
"God is bringing the revival of Christianity from the global south to the global north. The question for us is this: Do we understand our cities well enough to interpret how God is choreographing nations into our cities? Do we have the cultural agility to identify, celebrate and collaborate with our new neighbors? God wants to disrupt the world with the Gospel through our communities. The only antidote to the chaos of complexity of cities is simply the unity of the body of Christ. We are one loaf," Reverend McKenzie "Mac" Pier, founder and president of The New York Leadership Center, said at the conference.