Church: Coon Rapids UMC
District: Big Waters
Submitted by: Damon Stubbs
Four years ago, I told the two ladies that this dinner ministry would not be about making money. It would be to minister to the church body. Using our newly remodeled kitchen in the church, we set the price at $3 per person, five and under ate for free. We put an advertisement in the weekly bulletin, and got set for our first dinner. We served a total of 79 people that first Wednesday. The menu included italian sausage with baked penne in a red sauce, garden salad, garlic bread sticks, milk, coffee and donated treats. Our pastor was awestruck that we would try something other than spaghetti! Other menus included baked potato bar, breakfast for dinner, soup and salad, taco bar, and ham and scalloped potatoes, to name a few.
Then the Lord started to bless the ministry. We were serving people who did not belong to the church. We developed a ticket process, so it would be easy to hand out tickets to donate a dinner to families in need and they would not be embarrassed to come. Over the years, we've been able to bless the local homeless shelter with donated food, given money to the Pastor's Emergency Fund, helped misions in Mexico, and local ministries in our church. We are in the fourth year of our ministry, and the price has remained the same. God is faithful! We are averaging around 140 to 160 people every Wednesday. Our record was 212 on taco night! We've had local churches stop in for dinner to see how we do it. The friendships and fellowship that has transpired because of this ministry is amazing! Youth sitting with senior citizens, families opening up their table for singles or new people has been a bonding experience for our church like no other.God continues to bless the ministry. This year at our annual "trunk and treat" event, we handed out over 50 free tickets to Wednesday Night Dinners. I am truly blessed to have been chosen to participate in this ministry that God has allowed to grow.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church