“It’s really a God story. It wasn’t anything that any one person started.”
Phil Yoder (pictured above) is the Community Development Coach with the Orange County Southern Baptist Association in Orange, Calif. Yoder was consulting with one of the Southern Baptist churches in Orange, and happened on their Friday food ministry.
“I found about 25 or 30 people just sitting in the church, waiting for their food to be served and their boxes of food to be given to them. And I thought, ‘Why are these people not talking with one another, at least getting to know one another?’ So I decided that I would ask the pastor if I could have permission to gather these people together and to have some kind of spiritual impact in their life. And so he said, ‘Go right ahead.’”
That was the beginning of the Daily Bread Church, which is located three miles north of Grace Church in Orange (Mike Sciarra, pastor). The name was inspired, “Because not only do we receive daily bread there on Fridays but we try to live on Jesus Christ, who is our daily bread,” said Yoder. For the last five months, the small group has been meeting an hour before this food ministry starts, reading Bible passages, getting to know one another, praying for one another, and letting God work in their midst.
“One man came who was very antagonistic toward the Gospel,” remembers Yoder. “He stood up and shouted, ‘I don’t believe in God. My life has been so hard! If there really is a God, I wouldn’t have all this pain going on in my life.’ And we had to explain [to the other members of the church] that having Jesus in your life is a process, and that this man just needed more time to experience God’s love. And one of the things he said was that his truck had just blown some tires. And, lo and behold, in God’s sovereignty, another man stood up and said, ‘I just changed my tires, and I have four almost brand‑new tires in the back of my truck that you can use.’ So that’s one way we see God working in and around our midst.”
Now the Daily Bread Church, which started out of a Southern Baptist ministry, is looking to partner with the Grace Church of Orange to reach the community of Orange, not just for physical needs but also for spiritual needs and building of community.
“There are so many opportunities in the city of Orange to do ministry that we wanted our gathering of Daily Bread church people to not just receive but also to be giving,” said Yoder. Daily Bread Church currently has four people in a leadership position, responsible to help coach people through their relationship with Jesus, and with one another. Yoder is hopeful and excited about God’s work within this fledgling church.
“Every time we meet together, we feel like we’re more and more organized. We’re trying to raise leaders and develop disciples. We’re developing into a church.
“All of a sudden there were 30 or 40 people who were sitting there not doing anything productive or spiritual, and it was God’s Spirit that said, ‘Take these people and make them one. They’re in my family, too.’”
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information about ministries in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.