Pastor Brian McCall of the Grace Brethren Church in Martinsburg, Pa. was helping one of his fellow pastors move into a house next to the Cove Shoe factory, the largest employer in their small town, employing about 350 people.
“As I was helping unload the moving truck, God placed it upon my heart that our church needed to reach out to the people there,” he recalls.
So he collaborated with his fellow pastors and together they came up with an idea: why not serve an appreciation lunch to the workers at the Cove Shoe Company and use it as an opportunity to spread the love of Jesus?
So they picked a day, rented a tent, bought supplies, assembled two dozen church volunteers, and asked the congregation to bake nearly 1,000 cookies for the event.
On July 16, Martinsburg volunteers set up in a vacant lot adjacent to the factory in the morning and prepared to serve three 30-minute lunch shifts. During these shifts, each person received a hot dog, bag of chips, a homemade cookie and a drink. Since many of the employees of the shoe factory get paid by the piece as they manufacture shoes, this allowed workers to return directly to work if they preferred, but also gave them the option of using their 30-minute break to sit in the tent, leave prayer requests at the tables, or pray with and talk to Martinsburg volunteers.
“We made free copies of the Word of God available and ran out,” McCall remembers. “We had to go back to the church to get more!”
After serving nearly 300 people, the volunteers received a tour of the factory.
“Our people developed a great appreciation for their hard work,” saysMcCall. The event was deemed so successful that the church decided put on two more appreciation dinners for the staff at two local nursing homes.
“Many of those in the senior care facilities have cared for our loved ones,” notes McCall.
“During all three, our main words to people coming in was, ‘Thank you for the work that you provide in our community.’ We simply want to express the love of Jesus Christ and bring his church to them.”
Send Pastor Brian a letter of encouragement at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.