Shortly after graduating from seminary, a young pastor accepted a position at a traditional church on the east coast. Like many churches, her church congregation was growing older and was shrinking in size. While the pastor loved the people of her church, she soon found that she didn’t feel fulfilled by the work she was doing; she felt called to do something more for the community. You see, her church was located just outside an area of great need, with lots of low-income families struggling to make ends meet, as well as a large houseless community.
After much prayer and discernment by the pastor and the church’s leaders, the church decided to take a leap of faith. They wrote for grants and sold most of their property so they could purchase a food truck. On Sunday mornings, they began gathering not at the church, but next to the tent city nearby. They worshipped by preparing and serving food to all who had need. As the weeks passed, more and more people gathered around the table with them to eat and to sing – and it wasn’t just people in need of meal! News spread of their ministry and people began to come to donate, serve, and worship alongside all who gathered. Their ministry grew and grew until they were able to purchase two more food trucks and then finally a restaurant, where they developed a program to train and employ individuals who needed assistance and work experience in order to get back on their feet.
Frederick Buechner once wrote that the place to which we are called is “the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” This church was one who followed that call and countless lives were changed because they did. What are the needs in our own community? Where is our church most needed? What risk would it take for us to answer that call?
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead