Sidewalk Missionary Journey in New York City

The Apostle Paul traveled 13,000 miles on his missionary journeys and according to the NYC Department of Transportation there are 12,750 miles of sidewalk in New York City.


If Paul could travel 13,000 miles to bring the gospel to those who had not heard, is it crazy to think that we could walk 12,750 miles to do the same in New York City?

The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 tells us to “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…”

There is no more strategic place in the world to “go” and make disciples than New York City.

To begin with, there are people speaking 800 languages from 500 distinct people groups living in Metro New York.

So, pursuing Jesus’ mission in New York City literally involves walking across the street or down the block or to the store and interacting with people of all nations “as we go”.

With that in mind, I’m inviting you to join me on a Sidewalk Missionary Journey.

The Sidewalk Missionary Journey is a walk down all 12,750 miles of sidewalk in New York City to see the city, pray for the city, serve the city, and preach the Gospel. 

See the City

The Lord spoke to Moses: ‘Send men to scout out the land of Canaan I am giving to the Israelites.’ – Numbers 13:1-2

Walking slows us down to see the needs of people in the city. The view from street level deepens our love for our neighbor and softens our hearts into hearts of compassion.

But when we see the city, we also recognize the enormity of the task. We gain an appreciation for our own desperate need for God.

I’m convinced that the reason God had the Israelites walk around the city of Jericho 13 times in 7 days was to actually feel what Jesus would later say in John 15:5: “You can do nothing without Me.”

The walls of Jericho weren’t coming down through conventional methods and there is no hope for our city today apart from the transforming power of the gospel.

Pray for the City

We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it! – Numbers 13:30

Of the 12 men who were sent to scout out the land of Canaan, only two actually believed they could conquer it. We remember their names: Joshua and Caleb. No one remembers the names of the 10 men who said, “We can’t go up against the people because they are stronger than we are!” (Numbers 13:31)

Prayerwalking is a disciplined approach to claiming territory that has already been promised. In our case, we are interceding for the souls of people who are living here. That’s where the spiritual battle is being fought. That’s the ground that must be regained.

We can either enter the land or wander around in the wilderness for another forty years. We can either claim God’s promises or we can complain that it’s impossible.

Serve the City

Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. – Luke 6:36

When we serve others, we are demonstrating love and mercy. When we give without expecting anything in return, we are acting like children of God. He showed us mercy even when we were ungrateful and evil. How much more should we seek to serve our neighbor?

There are a lot of people who serve others in need. Some serve out of a sense of guilt. They feel guilty that they have more than others. Some serve out of a sense of fairness. It’s like a redistribution of wealth. The church should serve those in need because we were served when we were in need. We were shown mercy when we didn’t deserve it.

Compassion also opens the door for the gospel. In Acts 8:6 we find that “The crowds paid attention with one mind to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the signs he was performing.” They heard his words because they saw that he cared about them. As a result, “there was great joy in that city.” (Acts 8:8)

Preach the Gospel

He sent them ahead of Him in pairs to every town and place where He Himself was about to go. – Luke 10:1

When we see the needs of people, we can’t help but be moved with compassion. So, we pray for them and we serve them. But without the gospel, those people will die in their sins. So, the greatest demonstration of compassion is to share the gospel.

The ultimate goal of the Sidewalk Missionary Journey is to bring the gospel to those who have not heard. Every mile we walk we will pray for opportunities to share the gospel with those we encounter. Every time we serve someone in need we will boldly do so “in the name of Jesus”.

The transforming power of the gospel is the only thing that will transform the city.

What will it take?

  • 12,750 miles is a little more than halfway around the globe.
  • It would take approximately 3,400 hours to journey all 12,750 miles.
  • 100 NYC churches or church plants would need to mobilize people to journey for 34 hours.
  • 1,000 volunteers would need to journey for 3.4 hours each.
Will you join us on the Sidewalk Missionary Journey in New York City? Or, start walking in your city and see how God begins opening doors for the gospel! I’d love to hear stories of your experiences in the comments below.

See + Pray + Serve + Preach = City Transformation

Nathan is the pastor of City Life Church in Ridgewood, NY. He and his family are committed to making and multiplying disciples in the most diverse county in the US. Read more about Nathan here. Visit the City Life Church website here.

Become a Patron!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Gruss

    nathan, let’s talk about this!