Nate Watkins walks among the apartment buildings of the Park Hill housing development in Staten Island, NY. He and his family are planting a church that meets in a basement meeting room among the 10,000 Liberians who live here. Nate grew up in Liberia and the Ivory Coast when his family served with Baptist Mid-Missions.
Nate and his Karol Watkins buy food from vendors in an open-air Liberian market on the streets of Staten Island, NY. Growing up in Liberia as a missionary kid, Nate’s language skills give him immediate rapport with the Liberians who he is seeking to bring to Christ through a neighborhood church plant.
Karol, Nate, and their son Nathan Jr. leave the apartment building in Staten Island where the Repentance Baptist Fellowship meets on Sundays. The church ministers to the large Liberian population in this housing development and meets in a basement community room.
Nate and Karol Watkins invite a man to church that they met standing outside the building where the Repentance Baptist Fellowship meets in Staten Island, NY.
A tambourine provides the accompaniment for a series of songs to open the Sunday School service for the Repentance Baptist Fellowship.
Nate Watkins, right, sits with leaders of Repentance Baptist Fellowship as announcements are made in Sunday School. The service typically opens with a series of songs and then a time for personal testimonies praising God for what He has done the past week.
Teens from the Queens Regular Baptist Church, located at the corner of 101st Ave and 107th St.in Queens, NY, gather outside the church before their weekly Friday night youth group meeting. “The kids in this group stay here until they get married,” says Krista Oliver, wife of Pastor Nimit Oliver. “The youngest is 10, and the oldest are in college.”
Pastor Nimit Oliver, (orange shirt) leads a Friday night youth group Bible study on the doctrine of the Trinity. The teens ask deep questions that reveal a group that is growing in spiritual maturity. Since space is at a premium in New York City, all the teaching and worship services happen in the same room.
Rachel Delisca, right, celebrates a correct guess in a game of mafia during a Friday night youth group activity. The teens meet for games, Bible study, and pizza. Afterwards, they rehearse special music for Sunday services.
With help from assistant Sam Lake, left, Pastor Marty Silverberg of Commonwealth Community Baptist Church in Bronx, NY, passes out invitations to visit the two-room storefront church behind him. Commonwealth is waiting for an occupancy permit from the city so they can begin holding services in newly remodeled synagogue half a block away.
Sam Lake, left, and Pastor Marty Silverberg can reach across the 11-foot-wide sanctuary where Commonwealth Community Baptist Church meets in a rented storefront in Bronx, NY. If 26 people are present on Sunday, every seat is taken.
Sam and Jen Lake take their children on a walk through the neighborhood around Commonwealth Community Baptist in Bronx meeting familiar faces, like Carmen, and inviting them to church.
Eglise Evangelique Baptiste in Elmont, NY is one of three churches that were voted into the GARBC fellowship last summer. The congregation consists of mainly Haitian believers who immigrated to Long Island and are now raising children who speak French at home and English in school. Pastor Jacquelin Saint-Preux, and his wife Murielle started the church in 2001 with a Bible study in their home. They work full time as accountants. He accepts no salary so that the church can devote its resources to pay the mortgage.
Sister Marie Julienne Moise claps along with the congregation as they sing a welcome song for visitors and guests in the morning worship service.
Sister Manouska Dupoux kneels while she sings during a Saturday morning prayer service at Eglise Evangelique Baptiste on Long Island where believers met for two hours to pray, sing, give testimonies, and hear a message, all in French-Creole.
Dressed in their Sunday uniform, the Womens Chorus Group of Salem sings a song in French for special music at Eglise Evangelique Baptiste. The group, which is just one of the small groups who provide music for worship services, sings every fourth Sunday of the month.
Children like Teshna Mathurin stay in the auditorium with their parents for the first half of the Sunday morning worship service, which is spoken in French. Then the children move to the basement for children’s church, which is taught in English.
Brother Kelly François kneels in prayer during the Sunday morning service at Eglise Evangelique Baptiste. The service lasts about two and a half hours and includes singing, preaching, special music, Scripture reading, and testimonies.
Pastor Jacquelin Saint-Preux, left, preaches a line from his Sunday morning message in French and then in Creole before deacon Noyel St-Louis translates the sermon into English.
While her husband is preaching in French and Creole in the auditorium, Murielle Saint-Preux gets a hug from Maheva Guerrier while she teaches Children’s Church class in English.
Associate Pastor Michael Moultrie stands outside Cross Community Baptist Church in Queens, N.Y. “This is the world capital for the storefront church,” he says noting storefront churches occupy almost every block of this major street and are prolific in the New York City boroughs. Pastor Eric Wohner, a missionary pastor with Evangelical Baptist Missions, came here in 1999 to plant a church that reflects the diverse neighborhood of immigrants from Guyana, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Eastern Europe.