Imagine the grill is smoking with sizzling hot dogs and hamburgers. Tables are set with various salads, some fruit, a few homemade dishes, and, of course, cookies. You notice a handful of people milling about the park, some are sitting on benches, and children with their parents watching are climbing on the playground.
You’ve already made the rounds to introduce yourself as Pastor Chip. You recall that most of these enjoying the park are broken and live rather messy lives and at this hour, some are certainly homeless. Now, in a few minutes a meal will be ready. You've told everyone you've met, “Come join us when you hear me shout, ‘The hot dogs are ready!’”
2019 CPC in The Hill Summer Park BBQ Ministry Fundraiser
You’re hoping for a good crowd, but at first you don’t see a high turn out this evening. The park crowd seems small. But, in time, that changes.
Our Nigeria, at the grill says, “We’re ready.”
You shout out, “Hot Dogs are ready. Come join us!” And in a few moments a small crowd of teens, children, and adults appear (as if out of no where) around the tables. Some even know you’re going to preach a little; but, yet, they still come. Now, you’re surrounded by 40-plus families (sometimes 80+) and a number of parentless teens. You welcome them and tell them, “We are Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill and thank you for letting us be your guests in your park this evening.”
You open your Bible to Psalm 23 and begin, “The Lord is my _____________.” And, the crowd without being asked fills in the blank: “Shepherd.” You continue: “I shall not _____________.” They add, “want.” And then, you declare, “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of _________.” “Death!” they fill in. “I shall fear no ___________.” “Evil,” they shout without hesitation. You identify with them: “We all have seen too much ‘death’ in our neighborhood. We all know what “evil” looks like.” They all nod in agreement. Some even say, “Amen.” You have their attention. You let them know there is a Shepherd who wants to walk with them through that valley of the shadow of death so they can brave and even deliver them from that “evil.”
This happens every Wednesday evening, with different messages, throughout the summer. For nine weeks Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill shares a BBQ meal in a nearby park. For some, it’s their only meal that day; for some, the only meal in a few days. This is what we call our “In His Midst” ministry—to show up where Jesus is already working, seeking to change lives. The good people of CPC in The Hill is in that park to share the love of Jesus over a meal, spending time listening to their stories and offering prayer, sometimes a scripture, and, mostly, encouragement. This year we have had many more intentional conversations about God and what Jesus has done for them. The “In His Midst” ministry is a natural megaphone to our community that CPC in The Hill cares about its neighbors. I even receive some calls during the week with requests for prayer or just to talk. Pray that the relationships we are developing in that park move toward Jesus, the Shepherd ready and open to change their lives.
Please consider helping us >> 2019 CPC in The Hill Summer Park BBQ Ministry Fundraiser
Wasted Blogger, Chip M. Anderson
I am the pastor and church planter for Christ Presbyterian Church in The Hill; a flawed practitioner of Wasted Evangelism. I am learning about Wasted Evangelism through my experience in The Hill and through the good people of CPC in The Hill.