Distributing Coats and Sharing the Gospel in NYC
Volunteers from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama converged on New York City to provide winter clothing to families in need and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Coats for the City shares the love of Jesus by providing warm coats and the Gospel to residents of NYC each December. Partnering with the Metropolitan New York Baptist Association, they aim to be the hands and feet of Jesus by collecting thousands of coats throughout the year and distributing them at various locations across NYC.
Among other teams, a small team of five from Willow Ridge Church and members from Iglesia Bautista Nueva Vida partnered with Coastal Carolina Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) students. Tim Rice, Mission Partnership Coordinator at SCBaptist, joined this team and was able to witness the beginning of Jose’s new life in Christ.
A Joyful Transformation
Rice and the team first encountered Jose on Saturday when he initially accepted Jesus as Lord. However, they were overjoyed to see him the next morning at church, where he came forward during the invitation to publicly profess his faith in Jesus. “When he came forward during the invitation, our whole team rejoiced. Some members had tears of joy,” Rice said.
Coordinating a mission effort of this scale involving volunteers from multiple states was not without its challenges. However, it was also immensely rewarding. This effort involves year-round communication to plan promotion, team enlistment, coat collection, and collaboration with NYC church leaders. For Rice, seeing unity like this reminds him that “no matter how big the task, when we rely on the Lord for guidance, wisdom, and strength, his work will get done.”
Sharing God’s Love
The mission trip underscored the incredible unity that emerges when churches come together to serve and share the Gospel. “It is incredible to experience the unity of the body of Christ when churches come together to serve and share the Gospel,” Rice said. The leaders at Nueva Vida prayed with participants and shared the Gospel in Spanish while Willow Ridge and BCM students helped distribute the coats and winter clothing. Even though the bad weather threatened to hamper the effort, the students from Coastal “were energetic and excited to do it even while standing in the rain all day,” Rice said.
While community outreach projects like Coats for the City help meet tangible and immediate needs, their ultimate purpose is to share God’s love. “The coasts given out met a need to keep people warm in the winter, but the most important part of the project was sharing God’s love,” Rice said.
Join the Effort
For those wanting to join in the effort, churches can collect and donate coats now until November 13th. To see more information, guidelines for coat collection, and FAQs, click the link below.