OUR LAST SUMMER PARK BBQ was this evening. As I usually do each Wednesday evening, I made my way around Trowbridge Square Park, inviting new people to join us for some hot dogs and talking with old friends who’ve joined us throughout the summer. There were lots of people this evening—and after Nigeria (our grill person) said, it's time, I shouted out, “Hot Dogs are ready, come and join us!” They all came. I mean THEY ALL CAME . . . the park literally cleared out and gathered around me at our tables.
Before eating, easily over 50 people (adults, kids, and teens) stood and heard a short message on John 14.
By the end of the evening had we served well over 80 people. But I will not forget the initial crowd that had gathered to hear the word on this last In His Midst Park BBQ evening. We thanked the good people, grateful they allowed us into their park. And, thankful we could serve them this summer. I offered a final summer prayer and asked God to be with them this Fall and school year.
And, then they ate.
We handed out bags with some school supplies (not much, but something). The parents appreciated it and the kids just just getting something. After we cleaned up and put the grill away, we invited the children to line up and sit down. Lots of kids. Good thing we had 60 bags, thank goodness. Hands up for those going into pre-school . . . kindergarten . . . 1st . . . 2nd . . . and on . . . freshman year . . . and on up to senior year . . . hands went up as their grade was called.
I taught them a shout out prayer. I asked them all to think of that ONE subject they need God to help them with this year: one, two, three . . . “SCIENCE!” (Definitely #1 this year.) “Math!” “Writing!” “Reading!” And I am sure there were a few others mixed in there as well. It was quite the moment. God heard them. Then they got the bags. Everyone seemed happy.
Plenty of people asked for our church-cards or mine. A number admitted they really should be going to church (going to worship). A few told me, "Don’t give up on me, pastor, I am planning on coming." One gentleman in a wheel chair, who lives across from the park, asked me to drop by sometime (I will).
Thanks to all who prayed for this summer’s BBQ park ministry. I am so grateful to all our CPC in The Hill family who pitched in and made this happen. So appreciate our wider Hill family that also added to our strength through helping and serving. A shout out to all the kids (and yes, I mean, kids) who were there almost every time to help us unload and carry the stuff from the cars and truck.
One neighbor called me over to say thank you for what our church does here in the park. He then said, “You are a different kind of pastor, aren’t you?” I smiled and said, "I think I am exactly who I am and I am so glad I’m here with you." He said, “I will have to check out your church to see what kind of preacher you are.” God make it so.
And may God add to all the blessings we witnessed this summer in the park.
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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.