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Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is the founder and lead pastor of The Journey Church of the City, an innovative, multicultural church located in New York City. An experienced strategist, coach and speaker, Searcy serves as a regular consultant to churches across America. He is the author of dozens of articles and training resources on leadership, evangelism, church planting, and church growth. In addition, he is an author of many Christian books on church leadership and numerous resources for pastors and other church leaders. He is also the founder of Church Leader Insights, an organization that provides training and resources for pastors.


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An experienced strategist, coach and speaker, Nelson Searcy serves as a regular consultant to churches around the world, including many of the largest and fastest growing churches in the United States. Nelson is the recipient of the prestigious 2013 Donald A. McGavran Award for Outstanding Leadership in Great Commission Research. Since 2004, Nelson has developed over one hundred church growth resources in order to help church leaders around the world expand the gospel while creating healthy, thriving churches.

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Nelson received his BA/BS from Gardner Webb University and his Masters of Divinity from Duke University. He has pursued additional studies at North Carolina State University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

After becoming a Christian in college, Nelson entered full time ministry in 1990. He pastored churches in North Carolina and served with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 1990 to 1999.

In 1999, Nelson went on staff with Rick Warren at Saddleback Church in Southern California. There, he was the founding director of the Purpose Driven Community, guiding more than 5,000 member churches. He was also a key architect for Warren’s PurposeDriven.com.

In 2001, Nelson and his wife, Kelley, moved to New York City to launch The Journey Church of the City – an innovative, multicultural church in the heart of Manhattan. Since its start in the spring of 2002, The Journey has grown from a handful of attendees to over 1,100 people in Sunday worship services with more than 1,200 people active in small groups.  Known for its combination of growth and effectiveness, The Journey continues to thrive in environments that are less than conducive to new church development – a testament to God’s power and Nelson’s understanding of the essential principles of church growth.

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