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Reaching Coastal Alabama

Reaching Coastal Alabama

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For most of his life, Powell Noojin considered faith a crutch for weak people.

But the Daphne, Alabama, attorney’s spiritual beliefs were rocked to the core after he reluctantly came to a flourishing Assemblies of God congregation, which has witnessed hundreds make salvation commitments recently.

From 2015 to 2017, random people from the past popped back into Noojin’s life, inviting him to Coastal Church.

One Friday afternoon, he ran into an old friend and Coastal Church attendee who had been delivered from drug addiction. Noojin, 39, went to a Coastal Church service two days later.

After checking out the church for a while, Noojin became a Christian on Super Bowl Sunday 2017 — in part after he overheard pastor Chad R. Stafford tell a man working on the church’s baseball field that the facility was open to the community — not just Coastal attendees.

“This church was spending money on people and projects that mattered,” Noojin says. “It was a group of people who, together with the strength of their numbers, were doing good in the community. That opened my mind.”

Ashley Boone-Todd, 35, also ended up at Coastal after a close friend kept inviting her. Before trying Coastal in January 2018, she hadn’t been to a church for a long time.

“This church felt different from anything I’d ever experienced, so I kept coming back,” Boone-Todd says. She joined a life group and, after a few months, recommitted her life to Christ and was baptized.

Noojin and Boone-Todd are among more than 275 people who have recently come to faith in Jesus at Coastal, which draws an average of 1,918 people for weekly services at its Daphne and Bay Minette campuses.

Coastal is a Church Multiplication Network “champion church,” which fully replenished funds received from CMN and AGTrust. Stafford and his wife, Jennifer, are CMN representatives in Alabama.

The couple planted Coastal in 2010. Stafford says two-thirds of Baldwin County residents don’t attend church.

“The spiritual desperation of our area has attributed much toward our growth,” says the 44-year-old Stafford, who grew up in Daphne. “There was a wide open harvest field.”

Coastal is active in community response to local crises. In March 2018, when the bus of a school band from McKinney, Texas, went off a ravine in the area, emergency workers and the sheriff’s office sent the students to Coastal.

Stafford says in one afternoon Coastal Church adherents raised over $25,000 in gift cards from local residents to help the students get back home.

Ken Draughon, superintendent of the AG Alabama District, says Coastal has reached unchurched people across the Gulf Coast.

“Their DNA is missional and that reflects in the thousands that have been impacted in their brief history,” Draughon says. “Pastor Chad and Jennifer are wired for this hour to impact their community for the kingdom of God.”

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