The Local Church Feeds the Hungry

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

feed-my-sheepby Adam McLane

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. – John 21:17

Michigan

I got back to my hotel room on March 27th completely exhausted. I’d arrived in Grand Rapids in the middle of the night– more like “early morning”, gotten a couple hours of sleep, and had a full-day of visiting with people and getting ready for our youth leader training event, Open Grand Rapids. In the evening, running on fumes, I’d hosted a dinner for our speakers before retreating back to my room to catch a March Madness game, hoping to drift off to sleep before a big day on Saturday.

Even though I was exhausted, sitting on the couch in my room wasn’t relaxing. I looked at the clock, I looked at the TV, and I looked at the calendar on my phone. “10:00 PM – Visit Cornerstone’s Famine.” I couldn’t sit anymore. I needed to go.

I hadn’t exactly promised Chris McKenna that I’d pop-in and check out his 30 Hour Famine, but I’d certainly intended to pop-in on him because he’s a friend and a room full of middle schoolers raising money for children around the world is exciting to see for a life-long youth worker.

So I put my coat on and drove 20 minutes over to his church just in time to catch the end of their talent contest. It was instantly worth the drive. There were about 75 middle schoolers laughing and cheering, there was a volunteer upfront dressed in a metallic jacket challenging a 6th grader to a rap battle… one he lost badly. Within a few minutes there was a skit which ended with another group of students lifting a fully grown man above their heads and carrying him out of the room [after they’d spilled water on him] to a Katy Perry song.

Maybe this should have been disorienting? But it was oddly familiar and comforting! Youth ministry at it’s finest.

Within a few minutes, students were dismissed to some free time while Chris’s volunteers transformed their main meeting space for a time of worship. Over the next few minutes I got to catch-up with Chris, fully engaged in what he was doing and having the time of his life.

When the students came back into the room the mode instantly changed as they were lead into a time of worship and reflection. Though I couldn’t stay all night I left Cornerstone that night with the reminder that sometimes, even with middle schoolers, when you fast you are filled and in your hunger you are fed.

Haiti

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to travel back to Haiti with our missions partner and a dozen youth workers exploring bringing their students on a future mission trip.

Together, we spent three days driving all over the greater Port-au-Prince area, hearing from local pastors about their ministries as well as opportunities for churches to partner with them. At each stop, pastor told us about all that they do on a weekly basis, from leading worship to visiting the sick to evangelism to discipleship programs… sometimes both spiritually and physically feeding people in the community at the same time.

What was so abundantly clear to me was that these pastors, many of whom I’ve gotten to know over the past few years, are just as fully engaged in what they are doing as my friend Chris in Caledonia, Michigan.

Your Church

Here’s the point. Whether you are ministering to middle schoolers in Michigan or preaching to a congregation in Port-au-Prince… there’s something wholly engaging and FUN about feeding the people of God.

I think, sometimes, particularly this time of year where we start to reflect on the school year– we tend to lose sight of just how much fun it is to serve our Great God on a day-to-day basis.

Sometimes we want our job to be more attractive than it is. There are relatively few days which are truly highlights like hosting a group of visiting pastors from another country or leading the 30 Hour Famine.

But every day, whether ordinary or extraordinary, is a blast when we’re fully engaged in feeding the people.

Feed my sheep.