Recently for a Wednesday night meal at church, the menu was fried fish with all the fixings. After everyone was fed and the Bible study was about to start, there was a good amount of fish left, so someone suggested we freeze it and cook it sometime soon and take it to some of our older members for lunch. Fast forward about two weeks, and a group met at the church, cooked the meal, and we started delivering. I say “we” because at the point of delivery, the staff and a couple of deacons got involved.
After returning to the church and discussing the many smiles and words of appreciation, someone suggested the same thing be repeated the next week- with a different meal. I use the word “suggested” lightly, because it was actually a comment that this group was going to continue to provide a meal each week.
Yesterday was the third week that meals were delivered, and I discovered that others in the church have heard about it and got involved. Someone concluded that it is one of the best things that we are doing as a church- and I agree.
As I have delivered some of the meals each week, I have thought about how it all started: someone saw an opportunity to meet a need and put a plan in place. It was impromptu ministry- and it continues to grow. Here a few things that stand out to me about this and other opportunities for impromptu ministry:
No one asked for these individuals to be involved. There was never an announcement made, a sign-up avenue developed, nor a ministry team formed. None of the normal things that happen in church regarding ministry occurred. They saw an opportunity to serve and took advantage of it.
An overlooked need is met. The people that receive these meals are either shut-ins or some that rarely get out. Some live alone while others are a married couple that spend most (if not all) of the day with each other. I have found that people in these situations often do not cook for themselves, choosing to “make do” when meal times come. For some, physical difficulties make getting around in the kitchen nearly impossible. These people can benefit from a warm meal that they did not have to cook.
There is regular contact from the church. I do not enter most of the homes because I have to get to the next place. I hand it off at the door or lay it down on the kitchen counter, but in that short time, I get to ask how they are doing and explore if there is anything I can do further. It has also created an opportunity to pray and encourage those who are struggling.
No one wants the credit. Those who have received the meals do not know who is cooking them, and those cooking do not want anyone to know. It is simply from “the church.” Isn’t that how things are supposed to be? I tire of those who love the limelight and quit when no one gives them the desired attention. When some on staff suggested that maybe we only do this once a month in order for the cooks not to grow weary, the cooks balked at that notion!
Opportunities for impromptu ministry are all around us — if we will take the time to see them. It may not be something that grows and continues, but if the Lord places it in front of you, take advantage of the opportunity. And do not care who gets the credit.
Hebrews 6:10, “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.”