Saturday lunches transition to new area, still serving the community
Some of the best programs and activities of any church happen outside of the walls of the church. Vine Church is no different, and a perfect example is the church’s Saturday lunch program, a longstanding outreach that meets the needs of people in the community.
Part of Vine’s Project Compassion program, the Saturday lunch effort has changed to better reach people while serving them.
“Over the last few months, we’ve developed more of an evangelistic thrust,” Kristin Gregory, director of Project Compassion, explains. “We’re still grilling out and providing lunches, but our hope is to build relationships and community with people so we can teach them about Jesus. It’s a significant shift in what we’re doing.”
The program’s location also has shifted to the Evergreen Terrace apartment complex. Evergreen Terrace serves as family housing for SIU Carbondale. Its residents include families and couples of all cultures.
“Evergreen Terrace is the most diverse and culturally rich area in all of Carbondale. It’s a neighborhood of people from all over the world. It is diverse in age and ethnicity and it’s full of students,” Gregory says. “It’s exactly what God has called us to be as a church. That’s exciting.”
During the once-a-month Saturday lunches, some volunteers grill hotdogs and hamburgers pass out chips and ice cream treats. Others welcome and talk with guests. A new aspect of the program involves a program specifically for children with lessons, games and giveaways. Gregory says it takes several dozen volunteers to make the event a success.
“This is an opportunity for people from the church to do service evangelism. It’s great for those who have a heart for internationals and it’s really a fun way to serve,” she adds.
Gregory says the efforts have brought new families to the church, but it’s also a way to reach out and care for people in the community.
“It’s an opportunity for us to be able to show God’s love in a practical way to people who are in need.”
Those who serve also gain from the program, says volunteer David Fox, who helps with the Saturday lunches alongside his wife and children, ages 9 and 13.
“I want my children to grow up knowing that we need to do for others,” he says. “I never saw that as a child and I want to make sure that my children see it and pass it on.”
Saturday lunch teams meet at the church at 11:15 a.m. on scheduled weekends. For more information about the program, call Gregory at (618) 351-8463 or email her at email@example.com.