Taking the Next Step for New Parents

The leadership at Next Step Community Church in Brooklyn, New York, watched as their neighborhood gentrified. 

“What that’s done is it has made the amount of care the poor receive in this community to be lessened. A church or ministry is bought out and they are replaced, not with other ministries, but with [businesses] that produce revenue,” observes Lead Pastor Edwin Colon.  

In the midst of these changes, Next Step has stepped up to minister to their community.

“In our ministry, we have ministered to the marginalized, the addicted and the poor for decades now,” Colon states. “We’ve housed homeless people. We have a food pantry. We’ve had soup kitchens, all in an effort to alleviate suffering.”

Now the church is reaching out to families in a nearby housing project. The New Parents Ministry operates out of the church basement at Next Step and is open to parents one Saturday a month. They serve between 20 and 30 people at a time. 

The church targets new parents in particular by handing out personal hygiene products, diapers, onesies and baby formula. They also direct new moms and dads to housing, healthcare and financial resources offered through local social service agencies.

The idea is to provide young parents with hope through both prayer and provision, Colon says. “Our goal is to get [them] the services that they need in the name and for the fame of Jesus, inviting them to not only have their needs met, but introducing them to a relationship with Jesus.” 

Elizabeth Citron organizes the parents’ ministry. She oversees a crew of volunteers who come from within the church, nearby congregations and a few mothers who received help in the past.

“What’s wonderful about Elizabeth is that she has such a heart and she speaks both English and Spanish, so she’s able to minister to quite a few women,” beams Colon.

“We don’t have an affluent congregation supporting a parent’s ministry,” he adds. “We’re a poor congregation that out of our poverty and sufferings, addictions and brokenness, serve in the way we were served.”

Gail Allyn Short
Gail Allyn Shorthttp://gailashort.wordpress.com

Gail Allyn Short is freelance writer in Birmingham, Alabama. She leads a nursing home ministry and teaches a Bible study class for new believers at Integrity Bible Church.