We are, together, believing God to turn the world upside down. We are a team. There are a few of us who work vocationally or part-time to serve in unleashing this generation for the flourishing of the city. Here’s a little about us:
Sam and Kimberly Leopold
Sam and Kimberly moved to the city in the summer of 2016 after spending the first 6 years of their marriage in Rome, Italy. The Italian culture taught them a lot about prioritizing people over tasks (and how to enjoy some amazing food in the process), and they are excited to incorporate those values into their life here in New York City. God is continually teaching them that He can use their imperfections to bring them closer to Him and to experience a richer and fuller life. In their spare time, you can find Sam studying for his seminary degree and Kimberly cooking something from scratch. They have two daughters, Eloise and Evelyn, and their favorite thing to do in the city as a family is to explore new parks on the Upper West Side where they live.
Growing up a Midwestern girl, I landed in NYC after spending six years living in Florence, Italy. My time in Italy was the most incredible, frustrating, life-changing experience of my life, and I am no longer the same person because of it. I love coming alongside people to help them grasp the crazy idea that there is a God who sees them, loves them and has designed them for a unique purpose that only they can fulfill. One of my favorite quotes is by a Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard: “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” In a city like New York, there are many demanding voices declaring who you should be. Discovering who God created you to be and boldly living it out, however, may just be the greatest gift you can offer.
Originally from NYC, I spent 12 years in Texas and never expected to come back. In 2012, however, God brought me back to the city, and I went from working in Ministry to Finance, Consulting and Fashion. Never did I think my life would take such a turn, yet God used it to break my heart and show me how part of His heart for the city involves unleashing people out of who He's created them, by aligning their talents to impact culture's common good. Fullness of life in Jesus is real, and I long to help Millennials navigate and thrive in their vocations and communities.
Five days after September 11, 2001, I walked into a random church service looking for answers. That day I heard the truth about Jesus. My life was changed forever. I was 22 years old. When the Lord first called me to NYC ten years later, it felt like a sweet full-circle moment. So many things, events, and decisions shape a person in their 20s and 30s. It truly is a defining decade! Being here in NYC, watching lives transformed by the gospel is a site to see! So, I also count it a privilege to be a pastor at Communitas Church (a church that is 85% homeless) in Lower Manhattan as a way to foster transformative relationships between NYC Millennials and the fastest growing population in the city...the homeless and those who struggle with the cycles of poverty.
I've always felt between two worlds. I like Marvel movies and musicals, hip-hop and country, fitness and comfort food, dreadlocks and Jesus. Regardless of where I've been, I've been burdened by the divisions that exist between us and compelled to break those barriers. That's why I'm so inspired by Jesus Christ. He stood between the biggest gaps ever, the gap between rich and poor, white and black, Jew and Gentile, male and female, and most of all God and humanity. He made the deepest connections possible for us all. In a world as divided as ours, Jesus' life is not a legacy to simply be examined, or explored, but an example to be followed. Where better to do such a work than in New York City among millennials? That's why I'm so grateful that I get to serve as the leadership development pastor at the Bridge Church in Brooklyn. It's a church where a multi-ethnic gathering of millennials from all over New York grow as a family and look to bridge all that can divide us in our city.
Being an Australian-born Romanian who immigrated to the US when I was young, I was always taught to have a global mindset. "Think BIG...Expand your worldview outside your own backyard." So, as you can imagine, moving to New York City was a great place for me to flourish. I long to see a Spirit-led movement be catalyzed in every sphere of influence in the most influential city in the world. I am intensely passionate about imitating Jesus to people who would never step foot into a church. I believe that Jesus has called us all to be the light that collides with the darkness around us, and I love to develop, encourage, and embolden other millennials to do the same. I’m excited to be joining in with the work that God has been doing in this city for centuries!
Growing up as a classical ballet dancer from Alabama, I would travel to New York in the summers to train with American Ballet Theatre. Being subjected to the many cultures and different lifestyles of the city at a young age, I became hooked and intrigued by city life. My passion for art and my longing to see all tribes and nations know Him translates perfectly in New York City. I know the destruction of a life lived in isolation as a ballet dancer all too well, and so I long to help people find community and thrive in relationships with others and with Christ.
Matt and Erin Kay
We came to New York City in the spring of 2018 to be part of a neighborhood church called Hope East Village. Over our years together in church and campus ministries, we've discovered a great joy in creating spaces for meaningful dialogue and deep friendships, especially as they flow from and towards our friendship with Christ. Together, we've found our best expression of these spaces in evangelism, hospitality, and the arts. To that end, we're excited to be a part of the Cru Millennials team and to join Jesus in cultivating such spaces here in NYC!