When God called me into the church-planting world, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I was parachuted into the city of Mount Vernon by the Alliance to revitalize a dying church riddled with scandal. I quickly realized that I needed to fully lean on God for direction. What I thought was a disadvantage initially propelled me to believe God for even the most minor details of the ministry. I think this is Launching Pad Church’s secret sauce. The desire and need for God to show up in our process have created an atmosphere of humility and hunger for the leading of the Holy Spirit.
What I thought was a disadvantage initially propelled me to believe God for even the most minor details of the ministry.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned while pastoring is that being entirely dependent on Jesus is the only way to truly make disciples. I’ve seen hundreds of people walk through our doors, but what excites me the most is how God impacts the lives of those who encounter Him and catch our vision to love, disciple and launch.
When I first came into this city, I had no idea what to expect, but God has been faithful to do the miraculous amongst our young adults. Many were unchurched and hostile towards the gospel when we first met. Through discipleship, several have been baptized and are in various leadership roles in our church. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, several years of fruitful life-on-life discipleship have produced leaders who preach, boldly evangelize, spearhead media, lead small groups, and serve in the community.
Being entirely dependent on Jesus is the only way to truly make disciples.
At LPC, our focus is not on how many people attend our church but on how many become disciples. This focus has allowed me to keep my eyes on the few who have leaned in and are clearly experiencing a personal revival. This personal revelation of who Jesus is in their own lives becomes a launching pad for further teaching and instruction as God leads.
Several exciting things have been happening at LPC. Through programs like the Launch Mount Vernon Initiative, we have traveled to some of the most dangerous neighborhoods sharing the gospel as we helped beautify the city by picking up litter. Spending time feeding our community has allowed us to connect deeply with our residents.
Recently, a young girl was brutally murdered during a parade in our city. The news reached national headlines and caused a massive stir in Mount Vernon. The girl’s family was kind enough to invite our church to represent them at their daughter’s public memorial. They allowed me to speak to the public on their behalf, and I shared the gospel with over 500 people. That following Sunday, when we appealed to our congregation for anyone in attendance to accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior of their life, the girl’s mother received Jesus into her heart.
Our focus is not on how many people attend our church but on how many become disciples.
Approximately 112 people have come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior at LPC since we opened our doors in 2017. My wife Deborah and I never envisioned what Jesus would do in our city. We were married for less than a year, under-resourced, and at times, we felt like we were in exile, alone on an island. Yet I was reminded of the Lord’s words to Jeremiah when He said, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper (Jeremiah 29:7).”
Last year, God impressed upon Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to sow a financial gift of $100,000 into LPC. Our staff of volunteers and leaders were in shock. Pastor Mike invited my wife and me to Transformation Church in Tulsa and treated me to a birthday dinner where he spoke words of prophecy and life-giving encouragement over our church. He shared how the Lord urged him to directly sow into our ministry and encouraged me to keep my eyes on Jesus. It was a clear sign to us at the church that God was moving through Launching Pad Music Group (LPMG). LPMG is the sector of our ministry where we released an original song that first caught Pastor Mike’s attention.
I am currently the proud CEO of LPMG, a label I started with my best friend and C&MA minister, Jelani Pinnock. When I decided to follow Jesus about 16 years ago, I felt God was calling me to use my gifts for His glory completely. It was a massive sacrifice since I dreamed of making it BIG in the music industry.
Though my aim for stardom was clear, it was even more apparent to me that God was asking me to give up the very thing I always wanted. Seeing the Kingdom impact of my gift of hip-hop, I am motivated to encourage the creatives who enter our building doors to use their musical gifts for Jesus. Through Launching Pad Church and the LPMG recording label, we have been able to successfully influence many worldly artists to use their artistry for the Kingdom of God. He gets all the honor and praise for going ahead of us and doing what only He can do. Amen!
Clifford Gressau is the Lead Pastor of Launching Pad Church in New York. Their vision, mission, and goal are to Love God, Disciple ALL NATIONS, and Launch people into their prophetic destinies. Clifford is also a hip-hop artist and co-owner of LPMG. He’s married to Deborah, and together they have two children.