How did New Covenant Ministries begin?
“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (Matthew 4:18-20)
And so it was, in 1966, that God began to call a very small group of men and women into a street ministry team of followers of Jesus Christ that, unbeknownst to them, would one day become known as New Covenant Ministries. This is a story, not about what the men and women of that organization have done or are doing in a ministry, but rather, of what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing through them. He and He Alone is the author and finisher of our faith!
In the early days, this small group would walk the streets of Camden and meet people individually and share the gospel and love of Jesus Christ with them. As the Lord provided, they would be able to hand out donated clothes from the back end of an old station wagon and place different types of goods on a folding card table.
“How many souls were being saved?” they wondered. One day, a farmer offered to donate some of his crops at harvest time to the ministry. So, two men of the ministry team began walking in the field and plucking as many ears of corn as they could to fill up the back end of a pickup truck. Suddenly, the Lord spoke silently to the heart of one of the members saying, “As you pluck these ears of corn, so I will harvest the souls of Camden!” Immediately after that the other man uttered the exact same words out loud! There would be no doubting the Lord had confirmed His word by His witnesses!
Weeks, months, and years passed by with God’s handiwork being confirmed by signs, wonders, healings and miracles through the men and women who faithfully preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone they could reach in Camden, and in their own families and neighborhoods.
One night, upon boldly entering a satanist church, the “high priest” angrily came up to protest the ministry’s preaching, at which point he became “mute” at the name of Jesus “forever!” At the end of the meeting, after everyone in that church’s congregation was given the Way of Salvation, a pronouncement by one of the ministry team released the high priest’s tongue and he could speak again!
Soon the Lord opened more doors and added prison ministry and prayer ministry to the street ministry. The team was traveling on a regular basis to Lakeland Psychiatric Institution, Camden County Jail, Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, and Bayside State Prisons. The Lord continued to confirm His hand upon these meetings by amazing miracles.
One day, while preaching to some residents in an outdoor section of Ancora Hospital, the exit doors of all the units were suddenly swung open wide by the staff and hundreds of patients came out and stood in line until every single person was prayed over. At the name of Jesus residents who had severe diseases were made well, comforted, given salvation, and touched by the Holy Spirit. One nurse who had a huge growth on her arm rejoiced that she was also healed.
Likewise, chapels in the prisons would be filled to capacity and crowded with so many inmates receiving prayer, singing at the top of their voices, and praising God so loudly, that the fear of the Lord fell upon even the guards and administration. (The administration has since reduced the numbers of inmates into smaller groups.)
In 1971 the Lord led the ministry team to acquire a microphone and a small amplifier which would be plugged into an extension cord connected to willing people’s homes in any neighborhood that the Lord led them to preach in outdoors. The system extended the distances in reaching passersby. And so, the Lord continued to open more doors, and music ministry with guitar, singing, and other instruments was added.
In 1972, God led the ministry team to join up with Mission Teens, and the number of volunteers grew to witness to youth. The Lord opened more doors to visit the orphans of a Christian school known as Ranch Hope for Boys, and later, added Ranch Hope for Girls. The Lord also opened another door to teens at the National Guard Youth Challenge Academy at Fort Dix.
The Holy Spirit touched the lives of these children with joy and gladness and experiencing the love of Jesus Christ through ministry testimonials, game nights, and everyone singing and dancing to the Lord with all their might.
In 1976, ten years from the small seedling God planted, New Covenant Ministries, Incorporated, was formed as a non-profit, 501c-3 religious organization for tax purposes with the State of New Jersey. By law, this gives some tax relief to those who donate (since everyone in the ministry is an unpaid volunteer) and to help stretch funds more efficiently for furthering the gospel. It also allows for restaurants, food banks, or other organizations to donate food and other items more easily.
In 1981, the Lord led the ministry to purchase a small panel truck from the junk yard which needed major repairs. Volunteers rebuilt the engine, welded steel braces inside the box, and designed the artwork to be painted all around the exterior. With “Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life!” on the sides of that truck, the group became known as the “Jesus People” in Camden. An electrical generator was installed inside the truck along with a larger amplifier, mixer board, portable speakers, and even a small porta-potty. An awning was added to the exterior to provide shade from the hot sun and shelter from the storms.
The truck could contain more folding tables and chairs, and carry a larger amount of donated items to serve more people. The Lord, of course, brought greater numbers of people to spend more time “shopping for free” through the donations which gave them more time to hear the gospel and experience the love of God and closer relationships with the ministry team.
In 1986, the Lord led the ministry to begin giving out toys and gifts to children and their parents on “Christmas Eve Ministry” as an all-day event for the first time 20 years after the ministry was planted. On that first event day, some of the items being given out were several Christmas trees.
Everything went well for most of the day. However, the last thing that remained to be given away at the end of the day was one tiny and scraggly tree worthy to be burned especially with the weather deteriorating in the freezing rain! But the Lord spoke to the team to remain there steadfastly. Finally, at about midnight, an eleven year old boy came up to them and said, “A tree is a tree!” while joyfully doing a somersault in an icy puddle of water, and gladly took it home with him for his family to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.
Two years later, the bicycle ministry was birthed as five bicycles were repaired and given out with the toys. The total numbers of bikes, tricycles, wagons, and other toys continued to grow exponentially into the hundreds over the next few years.
In 1996 another much larger truck was donated to carry even more items. To differentiate, these trucks became known as the Big Jesus Truck and the Little Jesus Truck by the volunteers when referring to which truck to get something out of.
The smaller truck eventually received a special camper shell like box on top of the roof where the speakers were mounted permanently to speed the setup time for preaching of the gospel at the beginning of the meetings. This invention also relieved a lot of shoulder pains due to the weight of the speakers previously being lifted every time to over 10 feet above ground.
Other improvements were made to the trucks such as new electrical generators, replacement awnings, sound systems, and so on. As the Lord increased the scope and size of ministry, so came more durable and larger tables for clothing, shoes, coats, suits, and other apparel. This area has become a large clothing ministry in itself.
As time went on, the Lord added to the ministry a barbecue grille for cooking hot dogs, five gallon containers for liquid refreshments, cooker pots and a microwave oven for pasta and other foods. This area became large enough to have several workers, and is now referred to as The Food Court.
The Lord also inspired the ministry to purchase a high-powered projector and screen — then referred to as Movie Night during some nights in the summer time. Here, children and their parents could eat buttered popcorn fresh cooked in the popcorn machine, while watching movies, cartoons, and sing-a-longs telling the stories of Jesus and famous people of the Bible.
In 1999, the Lord opened the door to Nursing Home Ministry through the invitation of a woman whose father was residing at the Cherry Hill Convalescent Center. The elderly gentleman could not move or speak, but as the old hymns were sung and messages were shared about Jesus, tears would well up in his eyes and run down his face. Over the years, the number of residents who gathered to hear the praise and worship team continued to grow in the grace and knowledge and a deeper relationship of love with Jesus Christ and sing praises to our Lord.
In 2001, the Lord opened another door to join up with a church in Camden in the annual March for Jesus event that was being held in cities around the world during Pentecost weekend. Many ministries, along with several hundred people from many churches, join together in honoring the Lord Jesus Christ in a parade throughout the City of Camden in a celebration of music, praise, worship, dancing, and preaching the gospel.
A few years later, the Lord also opened the door for the street ministry trucks to join in the annual Fourth of July parade in the City of Woodlynne, and also play music at Thanksgiving dinners there hosted by the city council members. These events help to increase the spreading of the gospel into all the world.
The Lord eventually retired the smaller sound truck and provided the means for a newer and larger panel truck in 2008. The camper shell was transferred from the older truck from roof to roof. The newer truck was large enough to accommodate a separate small lavatory and larger RV-style toilet, a generator room equipped with water tanks, and a sound system control room, as well as ample room to store Bibles, tracts, chairs, and so on. These merciful upgrades from the Lord helped to improve the sound quality of the gospel being preached as well as provide for the personal needs of the growing number of volunteers.
The gospel can now be more clearly heard several blocks away from the location of the lot, and allows many more people to participate in what God is doing in the neighborhoods. And the newly painted emblems on the sides of the truck boldly announce, “Jesus: no other name under heaven… by which we must be saved! (Acts 4-12b).
In recent years, the Lord also increased the donations of bicycles from several local police departments to individuals dropping them off throughout the week, and also brought in several laborers to repair them for the Christmas Event. He also made provision to give out more toys and stuffed animals, hats, gloves, and scarves, as well as more food such as the hot dogs, hot chocolate and cherry drink.
God, in His loving kindness, gave such increase to this annual event that hundreds of volunteers began to attend from several different churches to prepare everything days, weeks, and even months in advance. Hundreds of bicycles are repaired and stored in various locations, and then loaded onto trucks the day before the big event.
The Lord also provides various items throughout the year that end up being prepared for children and their families on Gift Wrap and Stocking Stuffing Day just before the Christmas Event.
In 2006, the Lord opened another door with the Food Bank Ministry being operated out of their home by a volunteer husband and wife team. This eventually grew to the Lord leading the ministry to acquire a tractor trailer box to house more donated items in 2009. By God’s grace, the trailer became full of several pallets of donated food and other household necessities being delivered free from a trucking company in Pennsylvania. A large amount of food products is transported to the streets in the back of volunteer’s personal vehicles and given out at the weekly meetings.
As the years continued, many of the above ministries and operations were adjusted or changed to improve efficiency. Some ministries were closed during Covid-19 restrictions. The ministry continues as the Lord provides.
And so it was and continues to be that the Lord Jesus Christ calls His saints into a body of believers that will obey His voice and do His will as He provides the tools and the power by His Spirit to save souls. The people of the New Covenant Ministries are but one tiny part of the Body of Christ, fit together for the work of the Lord as He sees fit.
Perhaps you would like to participate in one of the many ways the Lord could use your gifts and abilities to serve and minister to others.
If you would like to join us in this ministry, please use the “Contact Us” link button at the top or bottom of this page for more information.