“Everybody in society today hears frequently what the church is against. We as a church wanted them to hear what we are for. We are for them, we are for their families, we are for our community because God is for all of those things,” says Matt Plott, former pastor of Rosemont Grace Brethren Church, a Charis Fellowship in Martinsburg, W. Va..
Matt has led the charge for For Martinsburg, a ministry that was born out of the vision of finding new ways to reach the community in a positive way. Launched in September of 2018, For Martinsburg began a free monthly spaghetti dinner ministry, which is held at the church. The dinners are a chance for the people of the church to share a meal with those who may not have a loving community who cares for them otherwise.
“My first thought was that we would be serving the needy and homeless in our area. As it turns out, we do see the homeless but there are many who have homes of their own and need just need a little extra support to get through the week,” says Lisa Dutko, a dedicated volunteer to the ministry.
“We have single women who bring their children because they are too exhausted after work to put a meal on the table,” says Lisa as she describes being able to bless the single mothers by allowing them to relax with their children. “My hope is that we feed their hearts as well as their spirit,” says Lisa.
While the ministry welcomes new faces every month, they also welcome returning community members. “It’s been a blessing to get to know the ones who come regularly and to be able to greet them by name when they walk into our church. For some of them, that matters more than the food,” says Matt. After a recent For Martinsburg event, a man from the community who had been coming to the spaghetti dinners expressed that he wanted to serve his community, too, along with the church. He will be helping with grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for a future For Martinsburg dinner this summer.
By continuing to put on For Martinsburg dinners, the church hopes to take the idea of relational evangelism to the next level. Since September 2018, For Martinsburg has served approximately 1,100 free meals to the people of the Martinsburg community.