Stephen Trainer serves with Graffiti Church and Community Ministries in the Coney Island community in Brooklyn, N.Y. Trainer serves as lead pastor of Graffiti Church Coney Island and executive director of Graffiti Ministries’ Learning Center.
Graffiti is a ministry partner of the Embrace Women’s Evangelism and Discipleship Ministry of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. This fall, Embrace will lead a team of women on a short-term missions trip to work with Trainer and Graffiti Ministries. The trip is scheduled for Sept. 13-16, and the application deadline for the trip is May 4. Visit embracenc.org/newyork.
Trainer recently took time to answer some questions about Graffiti Ministries, the partnership with N.C. Baptists and the importance of short-term missions team. His responses are below.
Learn more about Graffiti Ministries by visiting graffiticoneyisland.nyc.
Q: Can you tell us a little about Graffiti Ministries?
A: Graffiti Ministries is a nonprofit learning center providing educational programming to the poorest neighborhood in New York City. Our “other hand” of ministry is Graffiti Church Brooklyn. Through both of these facets of ministry, we work toward the holistic meeting of needs, both physical and spiritual. We are proud to be a part of a network of like-minded and similarly called ministry centers and churches serving communities of need.
Q: Why do ministry in Coney Island? What needs do you see?
A: Coney Island is home to a very famous amusement area, but many are not aware that this is the very poorest neighborhood in New York City. Most needs extend from the damaging cycle of generational poverty, such as homelessness, unemployment, hunger, drugs and gun violence.
Q: How have you seen God move among people while you and your family have served in Coney Island?
A: We have seen people come to a relationship with Jesus as King for the first time, people choose to follow Him in believer’s baptism, and move away from damaging situations and behaviors. We have seen people go from drug dealer to church service!
Q: Beyond God calling a lady to serve on a short-term mission trip in Coney Island, what is one thing you would share with women of why they should serve on this team?
A: Selfishly, we could use your hands and feet, and hearts! As important and valuable as short-term laborers are for our cause, it is even more important for us, in our view, to use our time together to help our teams understand God’s Kingdom in a new and exciting way and to understand the unique needs in the inner city. Many who have served with us tell us later how serving with Graffiti on a short-term mission trip has helped them understand ways to make the gospel available in their own communities, and we view investing in teams as a very important part of our ministry.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – The Embracing New York City missions trip is open to ladies college-age and older. More information, including the trip application forms, are available at embracenc.org/newyork. Application deadline is Fri., May 4.)