With everything your church has going on, do you really need a Food Service Ministry? You probably already have an informal one, in some form or another. You may serve coffee and cookies for social gatherings, or provide lunches for an occasional seminar, or hold a monthly potluck or an annual picnic. But, have you considered taking it to the next level, to develop an intentional, dedicated and focused ministry in this area?
This may seem daunting, and even unnecessary, but let’s explore why this might be exactly what the Lord is asking you to do.
Of course, all other ministries are important, too. The goal for Christians is to bring people to Jesus, and there are all kinds of needs to be met, in all kinds of areas. But serving food to others has a way of actually expanding other ministries because, when we meet others’ physical needs, they become more open to allowing us to address their spiritual needs. Those of us who have ever traveled to a third world country on a mission trip know that, even if our hosts have only a one-room hut with a dirt floor, their excitement and graciousness in serving us a simple bowl of rice and beans can make us comfortable, put us at ease and bond us in the moment. Jesus knew the power of hospitality, and fellowshipping around a meal is one of the primary ways He showed his love and conveyed spiritual principles.
So what does an intentional Food Service Ministry look like? The answer is as individual as your church. Here are some principles I recommend to help you shape and define your ministry, and get off on the right track:
- First and foremost, meet with your pastor and get his vision. He is the shepherd of your church and ensuring that you and all involved share his goals and have his support will be key to your ministry’s success.
- Define your goals. Depending on the size of your church and the scope of your pastor’s vision, your goal could range from ministering to your congregation by supplying them with good-quality food for fellowship gatherings, to hosting banquets for the community, or anything in between.
- If you’re going to charge for meals (and, perhaps, even if you’re not), hire professionals for key positions. It’s great to have church members who have been cooking for their family for years, but—especially if you’re charging for food—you really want to do your very best, and the only way to do that by hiring professionals.
- Build a solid team of dedicated volunteers. Hire well, train well and convey that—if businesses can provide excellence for the almighty dollar—your ministry will serve with excellence for Almighty God. Have high expectations, and lead with grace.
- Have a support system in place. The Global Association of Church Hospitality Professionals (GACHP) was started for ministries like yours, and there is no other organization like it in the world. At the GACHP, you’ll find camaraderie, instruction, inspiration and resources.
Once you commit to launching a Food Service Ministry, you’ll find, as many others have, that it will quickly become an integral part of your church’s community, culture and mission.
It’s not about giving you one more thing to do. It’s about creating an environment where your Church Body can serve and impact others, and truly connect with people, following Jesus’ example.
as told to Christy Kohnle / Founder, Limitless Ministries