NYC church uses World Series as platform for the Gospel

by Tobin Perry, |
Pastor Stephen Kim poses with his evangelism team after sharing the Gospel before the New York Mets playoff win over the Chicago Cubs. | Provided by Stephen Kim

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Christian Examiner)—Those attending this year's World Series games in New York City this weekend may leave with more than a game program, some great memories, and a stomach ache.

Some will leave games four and five at Citi Field having been confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Stephen Kim, pastor of Mustard Seed Church in Queens, is set to lead a team of evangelists from his church to share the Gospel during the World Series -- in the same way he did during the Mets' first two playoff series.

"We would stand right outside of the gates," Kim said. "They let us do that. As the people are coming in off the streets and off the seventh train here ... we're out here giving the good news of Jesus Christ."

Kim noted in New York City a lot of people use mass transit to get to the games, and when they "rush out" with their Mets gear on, anticipating a good time, he and his team are standing by.

"They're trying to get into a playoff game, but we're believing, by faith, they're getting far more than that," Kim said.

Kim and his team hand out the homemade Gospel tracts before the playoff games, but occasionally, he says, they get an opportunity to engage people in conversations.

"The response has been largely indifferent or positive," Kim said. "We haven't had anyone yelling at us or anything like that."

So far, Kim says, they haven't had anyone make a definitive decision for Christ, but he believes God will use the Gospel seeds to take root in the lives with which they're interacting.

"Evangelism is one of those things where you don't really look at fruit, especially in cities like New York," Kim said. "You don't really get to see it until much later. You don't know what God is going to do.

Kim has been leading a team to share the Gospel on the streets of New York City for several years. The regular practice began when a seminary professor spoke to him about evangelism being a spiritual discipline. Realizing that he hadn't made it the priority it should be, Kim began to make evangelism a weekly practice. He hopes his team can eventually share the Gospel in every neighborhood of New York City.

A third-generation pastor, Kim started Mustard Seed Church three years ago. He has made discipleship a core part of the church.

"My goal here in New York City is that I want to address the theological famine that exists in the Northeast," Kim said. "This used to be, the Northeast up to Massachusetts, God's country. Jonathan Edwards, the First Great Awakening, all that was up here. It's just so dry here. It's dead. It's a graveyard for church people."

Kim and his team plan to be at games four and five of the World Series on Saturday and Sunday of this week. He says he wonders whether it's possible God had the Mets win the first two rounds of the playoffs so that people would have an opportunity to respond to the Gospel while they attend the World Series.

"In the sovereignty of God, God cares about every hair falling off your head," Kim said. "But in the terms of his glory, does he care about baseball or does he care about evangelism? He cares about evangelism, right? The center and the apex of the glory of God is the Gospel. In light of that, it does not surprise me one bit if God one day were to say, 'Because I knew you guys would be faithful in preaching the Gospel outside of the World Series, therefore I had the Mets win. There are certain people who will go to that stadium that night, thinking they are going to see a World Series baseball game, but they are going to meet me as the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel, will save them that night.'"

David Nguyen, who has been participating in these evangelism efforts for the past five years, calls it a blessing to share the Gospel prior to the World Series.

"It's been a real blessing to know that what we're doing is eternally significant," Nguyen said. "Baseball is just a means to get to that. There are souls going there to watch a game, but there's more important things out there than just baseball. God is using weak men like us, guys who are totally inadequate to save someone, but God uses us to share the Gospel and bring souls into eternity."

The World Series between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals began Tuesday night at 8:07 p.m. EST in Kansas City, Mo.