Church planter embraces legacy he once tried to escapecomment (0)
February 13, 2014
You could say Patrick Coats is a product of his spiritual legacy. But it’s a legacy he attempted to elude —at least for a time.
A native of Miami, Coats was raised by his grandfather, Joe Coats, the first African-American pastor to affiliate with the Florida Baptist Convention in 1968. The elder Coats planted a church in a school building and saw it grow to 4,000 members.
“Hurricane Andrew destroyed the church building, but it did not destroy the church family,” Coats said. “The last major project for my grandfather was rebuilding the church [facilities].”
Coats was never far from his grandfather, so he was constantly in church. When he was old enough, he began serving, first as a music minister. A degree in music education followed, and though Coats will tell you he is primarily a trumpeter, he can play an array of instruments.
“I was immersed in Southern Baptist life,” he said. “I’ve been everything there is to be in church from a deacon to a preacher. But I ran from a ... call as lead pastor.”
Coats ran to music and started a Christian rap group. Although it was a rebellious run, his was a mild one. He remained involved in church leadership but did not want to be a pastor. Coats’ uncle started a church, tapping his nephew to serve as minister of music. After 10 years his uncle had a new idea.
“In 2005 my uncle threw me into the pulpit,” Coats said. “That began a three-year journey of preaching, attending seminary and the realization that I had to embrace the call of a pastor to be obedient to my Lord.”
Coats moved his family to Homestead, Fla., and intended to start slow with his first church plant. He planned a small Bible study and began looking for meeting space. In December 2009 he located a movie theater to rent.
“Forty people showed up for the Bible study,” he said. “The next week more came and everyone wanted to have a worship service. That year we baptized 30 people. In 2011 we baptized 33. I backed into church planting.”
Kingdom Covenant Baptist Church was the result of Coats’ accidental planting.
“God is up to something,” he said. “You don’t have to over think it. Just do it.”