December 14, 2012
By Phil Maynard
It all started in a discussion during a SHIFTS network meeting with the pastors and key lay persons from five congregations talking about the difference between missional gestures and ministries of engagement related to serving others. One of the pastors was convicted that his congregation had focused on missional gestures (sending food to the Food Pantry, giving backpacks to the school, etc.) and had no real connections to the people being served (ministries of engagement).
As he and the leadership team for the congregation discussed what the needs were in the community and where they could fill the gap, someone came up with the idea of feeding a small community of people living in trailers (most without even electricity). It was decided to involve the congregation in contributing crockpots filled with a favorite dish.
In short order, the congregation got so excited about this new ministry that they now have five teams each of which prepares a meal weekly. The teams not only fix and deliver the meal, but also eat with and get to know the residents. After months of serving and building relationships, this congregation has now reached a point where they are able to offer a devotional time and have opportunities for faith sharing by the participants.
A simple idea and a great witness in the community!
Kudos to Starke UMC, Stark, Florida for a job well done!