Buy coats NOW? Yes! For Coats for the Cityby Mike Creswell
Now may be the best time for North Carolina Baptists to buy coats for cold weather, even as spring arrives.
That's because many stores have winter coats for reduced prices as the weather warms. Churches can start stocking up on coats for the 2014 Coats for the City effort, with a goal of delivering 30,000 or more coats to needy people in New York City next December.
"Now would be a good time for your church to start the collection process. We are calling on convention churches to collect new or gently used coats, from April 1 to Oct. 15 this year," said Devon Griffin, consultant who leads the effort for Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Coats for the City is one of the Great Commission Partnership efforts Griffin coordinates for the convention. These partnerships seek to get North Carolina Baptists personally involved in missions, both in the United States and overseas, to impact lostness.
"Now would also be a good time for your church to start praying for the collection process, traveling safety for volunteers and for a massive spiritual impact on New York City. We want to see needy people get warm coats, but we also want each person to know the holy warmth that comes only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," Griffin added.
Metropolitan New York Baptist association (MNYBA), made up of about 200 churches across the metro New York area, is local partner for the effort and also long-term ministry partners with North Carolina Baptists. Baptist associations across North Carolina also are partnering in the effort.
Southern Baptist church planters, local church members and volunteers will personally deliver coats at public distribution points throughout all five boroughs of New York. The coats will be given away at no cost, but handing out coats will also give local Baptists opportunities to meet people, share the gospel and invite them to services.
Thousands of Bibles and copies of the Jesus video in many languages will be given to coat recipients.
Baptists in New York say the project last December was very successful.
"Coats for the City gave us the opportunity to invite our community into our building. This was a huge step forward for so many of our neighbors. We were able to have many conversations with them about the gospel," said Pawel Kugler, pastor of First Polish Baptist church in Brooklyn.
"Coats for the City helped us to bless people in Astoria. We saw one woman come to faith in Jesus, too," said Larry Mayberry, outreach pastor at Connection Church in the Astoria area of Queens.
North Carolina Baptist volunteers are needed to come to New York next December to help. Since volunteers often must request time off from work for such projects, churches are urged to line up volunteers now to allow advance scheduling.
One of the goals of the Coats for the City effort is for North Carolina Baptist churches to establish long-term partnerships with newly organized church plants across New York.
Churches are asked to collect only new or gently used coats. "We do not want to share the gospel message of the ultimate gift in Jesus Christ and give a coat in poor condition," Griffin stressed.
Griffin asks that churches include $2 for each coat contributed to help cover the costs of Bibles and Jesus videos. "This is not required, but would be a big help," he said.
Coats should be sorted into heavy-duty plastic bags according to: men, women, children and labeled.
Collected coats should be delivered to collection centers by Oct. 15. Collection centers across the state can be seen at:
Convention staffers will pick up the coats and deliver them by truck to New York.
Volunteers who want to help distribute the coats are asked to commit to:
(1) Arrive in New York by the evening of Thursday, Dec. 11.
(2) Attend a training session in New York on Friday, Dec. 12.
(3) Be prepared to pray and share the gospel with those they engage as they distribute coats all day on Saturday, Dec. 13.
Housing for 40 volunteers will be available in the MNYBA office in Manhattan; other housing can be arranged as needed.
Volunteers will pay for transportation, lodging and meals.
Sign up online at:
For more information contact Abby Edwards at: 1-800-395-5102, ext. 5536 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.