Delphi UMC serves a picnic lunch in the park as community outreach.
As part of our outreach efforts at Delphi United Methodist Church in northwest Indiana, we implemented a Picnic in the Park ministry in the summer of 2010 and have continued it this summer. Each Wednesday, we take a picnic to two different parks on opposite ends of town. We realized that there are areas of poverty in our community, where children and families are unable to get to the parks yet could benefit from the meal.
In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said to “Go into all the world” so this summer we added a mobile unit to the Picnics in the Park. Each Wednesday, volunteers come in to pack sack lunches and we take the church bus to three different neighborhoods in the area surrounding Delphi and deliver free lunches to anyone who needs one. We also give out Bibles to anyone who would like one.
Relationships are being built and the love of God is growing in disciples and in the community. We’ve had children receive Bibles for the first time in their life, adults who have “never heard of anyone giving out free food before,” who now say, “I think I want to check out your church” to a young mom in poverty making a connection to some of our disciples who are empowering her and mentoring her in her parenting.
The church has served anywhere between 40 and 120 people between the two parks and the mobile unit. Since there is really no way to know how many people we’ll serve in a given day, one of my prayers has been, “Lord bless the food like you did the fishes and the loaves. We’ll be your hands, you feed your people.” God has always provided what was needed.
One Wednesday, while packing for our mobile picnics, one volunteer thought we were short one sack lunch for our goal of 60, so we packed one more just in case. We wrapped the chicken fingers for that meal separately in order to keep them warm in a cooler but forgot to mention to those packing the meat to throw in an extra chicken packet.
Toward the end of the route, those delivering the lunches that day each noticed independently of the other, carefully and deliberately counting what was left, that there were three sack lunches and two chicken packs left. When the bus got to the last stop, a mom had come out needing exactly three lunches. The volunteers went to pull the lunches and were ready to explain that perhaps they could share the chicken. She pulled out the first chicken packet and placed it in the lunch bag, pulled out the second and there it was, a third packet of chicken! If God can multiply fish and bread, God can certainly multiply chicken!
I truly believe that when God’s people are committed and passionate about serving others in the name of Christ, God takes care of the rest! I praise the Lord for His work, power and presence, and the disciples God works through at Delphi UMC!! God is good all the time!
Pastor of Outreach and Connections
Delphi United Methodist Church