After graduating from Lincoln Christian University in 2002, Jonathan Hentrich accepted a job as the youth minister at Christ’s Church of the Capital Region, a 12 year old church plant in the suburbs of Albany, NY.
“In 2009, my wife, Ashley, and I were looking to buy our first home and decided to move from the suburbs into the city of Albany. The Barna Group has ranked Albany as one of the least Bible-minded cities and the number one post-Christian area in America. As we got to know our neighbors these labels seemed to make sense.
“For most of our friends and neighbors the idea of church, the Bible and Jesus seemed distant. Some were mad at Jesus and the church, but many just didn’t see any relevance to their lives. This disconnect started us dreaming about a church in our neighborhood where our friends could explore the big ideas of Jesus and the Bible.
“In September of 2013 we launched weekly services of Christ’s Church Albany. And, in our two years, we have been able to really engage with our community.
“This summer we were able to partner with over 30 community events through the donation of equipment and or volunteers. These events included community movie nights, free concerts, neighborhood block parties, and citywide events. We estimate that we gave our city more than $25,000 in free equipment and volunteers. These events have helped us build incredible relationships with both our neighbors and leaders in our city.
“In November, we hosted over 350 neighbors and friends for a unique event aimed at helping people find places to serve and volunteer in Albany. As a part of the event there were booths from over 25 Albany nonprofit organizations. Our mayor, local chefs, artists, musicians, and radio hosts all donated their time and talents to this great event. As a result, 200 individuals, most of whom are not yet a part of our church, signed up to serve with different organizations. We were also able to raise enough money to provide over 650 Thanksgiving meals.
“Through these events and lots of personal connections, we have seen an exciting number of people begin to explore Jesus for the first time. We baptize people in a portable horse trough and each story is so amazing.”
To find out more about what God is doing in Albany and see how you can partner with Jonathan and Ashley, visit www.christschurchalbany.org