The property will house a youth center, soup kitchen and adult-literacy program
The Brooklyn Tabernacle continues to thrive in The Big Apple, so much so that the church plans to move into much larger facilities in 2001. In 1998 the congregation purchased a 4,000-seat theater and two buildings on nearby Fulton Street in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, N.Y., one subway stop from Manhattan.

The new center is located next to Macy's department store and a new Marriott hotel. Funds are still needed for the $30 million project that includes a youth center, adult-literacy program, soup kitchen, preteen outreaches and other ministries.

"We have the heart and personnel to do even more for God but presently lack both space and money," pastor Jim Cymbala reports on the Brooklyn Tabernacle (BT) Web site.

Cymbala refuses media interviews because he's shy about personal publicity, even though he speaks regularly at large conferences and has written three books. He told a producer from CBS' 60 Minutes, "If you want to do a story, it should be about Jesus and not about a church or preacher." He avoids the Christian media, including Charisma, claiming that Christian publications lift up man and human talent and not Jesus.

Evidence of BT's thriving, multiracial ministry was apparent on Palm Sunday in April. Lines of Bible-toting worshipers snaked along busy Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, waiting for a seat in the 3 p.m. service. Ushers herded them into the church's 1,400-seat former theater 30 minutes before a recent service began.

Meanwhile, other ushers helped noon-service worshipers exit the building. It was standing room only, and close to 1,800 squeezed together to hear Cymbala preach and the Grammy Award-winning choir sing praises.

Carol Cymbala, Jim's wife, steered the final rehearsal and prayed with the 275-member choir that stood seven rows deep on the large stage behind the pulpit. Eyes closed, they raised their hands, imploring God to anoint their voices.

"This is the highlight of my trip," said a woman visiting from Newport-Mesa Christian Center Assembly of God in California. A Baptist minister from Georgia noted, "The Spirit of God is in this service."

After the first chorus of the service, the worship leader shouted, "Let's put our hands together and clap to the Lord!"

The clamor swelled up to the balcony. Other choruses followed. Before Cymbala stepped to the pulpit, the choir sang "Jesus We Crown You With Praise." Swaying with the music, they also gestured the words in a stirring pantomime of sign language.

"Let's just praise the Lord," Cymbala pleaded as the congregation joined him without any coaxing. "We love You! We adore You!" he shouted. "We worship You, Lord Jesus. Open the windows of heaven and pour out Your Holy Spirit!"

Cymbala and his wife assumed leadership of the ministry in 1971. Operating out of a shabby two-story building, the church dwindled to 28 members.

Cymbala had no Bible school training. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated from the University of Rhode Island where he was captain of the basketball team. After working a secular job in Manhattan, he was persuaded by his father-in-law, a pastor and overseer of several independent churches, to join the ministry.

He struggled to keep the church going and almost quit until God gave him a revelation to lead the congregation into a deeper prayer life. The result was a Tuesday-night prayer meeting that now numbers 2,000 intercessors.

In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (Zondervan, 1997), Cymbala says, "I have seen God do more in people's lives during 10 minutes of real prayer than in 10 of my sermons."

The ministry accelerated quickly, along with the choir started by Carol Cymbala with only nine singers. Today the church needs four services on Sundays to accommodate 6,000 members and many visitors. BT has planted 20 churches in the New York City area and elsewhere.

Cymbala, a youthful 57, speaks in a low-key, almost conversational style. He encourages lengthy episodes of praise as he slowly paces the platform. "How many believe God can still do miracles?" he asks during an altar call.

Cymbala eschews religious labels. Pointing out that the body of Christ is not Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Pentecostal or charismatic, he says it is one church made up of sinners saved by grace and refers to BT as a nondenominational Christian church.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Marriage man and woman

    Why Marriage Is Not Just Between a Man and a Woman

    Marriage is a miracle. Let us treat it like one.

  • Be encouraged to slow down to hear God in unexpected ways.

    A Common Reason You May Be Missing God's Voice

    Out of thousands of people, only six didn't fall into one experiment's trap. Discover how ...

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit