Still on for the Weekend?

A century later . . . Nyack teams continue to travel to New York City


For 125 years, students from Nyack College (Nyack, N.Y.) have been traveling to New York City to minister to individuals and entire neighborhoods alike. Every weekend, students on five Watchmen Gospel teams faithfully pile into school vans to serve in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. The teams do everything from children’s ministry to street evangelism and from food distribution in the projects to feeding the homeless. Whether they are passing out tracts on a street corner or playing basketball with kids in a park, these young men and women are leaving the comfort of the Nyack hillside to share Christ with the people of New York City.

Peer-Led Missions

Each team is led by students whom I mentor and supervise along with our missionaries-in-residence, who served for more than 20 years in Asia and Europe. The student leaders are passionate about serving and recruiting friends to join them.

Kate Burns, a senior pastoral ministry major, is the leader for Hands of Compassion, the ministry to the homeless in Manhattan. Every Saturday at 6:30 a.m., Kate’s team meets in the Nyack College cafeteria kitchen to make sandwiches for the homeless men and women who live near Penn Station in Manhattan. James Botelho, Nyack’s director of dining services, ensures that all the food and supplies are in stock for Kate’s team. After the lunches are made, Kate and her team eat breakfast, share a short devotional and head for the city.

The Watchmen Gospel team that Kate leads firmly believes in the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35–40, particularly vv. 35–36: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” The Hands of Compassion team conscientiously and consistently shows homeless men and women the love of Jesus by offering basic needs of food, water, clothing and blankets.

Building Blocks

In past years, the various Watchmen Gospel teams have joined together to host a block party in the Bronx, officially sanctioned with a permit from the city government. A former Nyack student serves on the New York Police Department in this neighborhood and helps redirect traffic during the event, in which an entire city block is closed off.

Very early on the day of the party, students start to load the vans with the extra equipment needed to make the day a success. Once in the city, they set up tables for food, Christian literature distribution and face-painting for children. More students head off to apartment buildings to gather gas grills for cooking hot dogs and hamburgers for about 200 people.

All food, toys and literature, including Spanish and English Bibles, are free to neighborhood residents. Nyack students join the children in playing kickball and football in the street. More students unload a sound system for student testimonies, songs, rap, poetry, dance and a presentation of the gospel. Families sit on their stoops to enjoy the day planned just for them.

The vision of Alliance founder A. B. Simpson was to see men and women being trained to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth to hasten the return of Jesus. People from every nation, tribe, people group, language and religion live only 15 miles from Nyack College (Nyack, N.Y.). The Alliance commitment to teaching young men and women to reach the lost continues through the weekend ministry that began 125 years ago. The enemy of our souls is not thrilled about this commitment to Jesus and the preaching of the gospel. Will you pray for these students who are so zealous about serving?

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