Jesus said, “For I was hungry and you gave me food,” so how can we feed the poor in our community? Here are five ways that your church can do that.
We have a lot of great cooks in our church…I’m just not one of them, but we are all very blessed so I want to share with you some ideas on how you can feed the poor in your community. Post flyers in the local thrift shop, the local laundry mat, or any place that you believe most of the community will see them and invite them to come to a potluck dinner on a certain Saturday or even a Sunday afternoon. You could also find people on the street and hand deliver them or give them printed out invitations. Ask your church members to consider signing up for this and write down what they plan to bring. It’s a great way to share the gospel too because you can talk to them about how they can receive the Bread of Life and Living Water and never hunger or thirst again (John 4, 6:35).
Every once in a while we have a clothing giveaway but the thought had never occurred to me that we can offer them a meal too. Most of us have closets full of clothing that we will never wear or haven’t worn for a long time. I heard the rule of how to know what to give away and what to keep. Take a look in your closet and if you see anything that you haven’t worn in the last 12 months then you probably won’t wear it in the next year. Next, publicize this event and offer a hot meal to go alone with the offer of clothing. In many parts of the nation there is always the need for winter or fall clothing. Some of those who are hungry today and are homeless have to find shelter where they can, and they probably can’t remember the last time they had a hot meal, so the next time you have a clothing give away, offer them a free hot meal to go along with it. That will warm them, inside and out, plus it’s a great opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bar-B-Q in the Park
Our church elder is one of the best cooks I know and he loves to Bar-B-Q, so what better way to bring in those who don’t have much to eat than to have a cook out in the city park. Our local city park has several outdoor Bar-B-Q’s already and so all we need to do is to buy the briquettes and starter fluid and buy some hamburgers or hotdogs and let the smell draw people in. Many of the poorest of the poor live outdoors, or if they do have a home they have a limited income, so put out some flyers or advertise in the local paper about a Bar-B-Q in the park that’s open to the public. You could even ask other churches to help participate and make it a broader, more comprehensive community event.
Dry Goods Donations
We have a lot of food in our church’s pantry and probably more than we will ever use so I thought we might try to give away some canned goods along with our clothing giveaway every year. A lot of people who are struggling financially usually come to our clothing giveaway, so maybe the next time we should offer them some canned goods to go along with their clothing. The Boy Scouts usually take collections during the fall for one of their campaigns to feed the poor so why can’t we do this too, and as we do, we can publicize this event by going door to door in the community. Tell them that these items are going to be given away to local citizens who have a need and tell them where and when it is in case they want to come and participate, so be sure to invite them.
About every other month our church has a potluck meal after services. It allows us to have fellowship in the dining hall and to get to know one another better, so the next time your church has a potluck, challenge each member to invite at least one person. Even if they don’t make it to church services, invite them anyway to come and enjoy a hot meal. If they don’t have a ride, then offer to pick them up and bring them. If everyone in our church invited at least one person to a potluck meal, I believe we’d have more people coming to enjoy the fellowship. Even if they don’t accept, at least we’re giving them an opportunity. This shows them there is someone who cares enough to ask.
Have you ever considered these different ways that you can feed the poor in your community? Of course there are more five ways that your church can feed the hungry, but the important thing is, Jesus equated doing for others as doing it to Him when He said “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt 25:35), so the way Jesus sees it is, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40). James brought attention to this area when he wrote “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17). Talk is cheap, but actions speak louder than words, so make your actions speak into the hearts of the poor about the love of God and the command for believers to “do unto the least” of these, particularly, those who are unable to help themselves. Maybe they’ll come and be filled, and by chance, take in the Bread of Life which satisfies forever. As Jesus said “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.