Leftovers. The forgotten stepchild of the food world, they're usually banished to the back of the refrigerator and left to sit and spoil unless grudgingly eaten for lunch.
But leftovers have become a big deal for one Macon small group, so much so that its members purposefully overcook so that enough extra food is on hand after each month's "Family Feast" potluck meal that they can go out into the community and serve those who are less fortunate.
The Well United Methodist Church's Footprints small group has met for nearly two years, and a few months ago its members decided that they wanted to add a service component to their gatherings. They eat together on the second Sunday of each month, and during a conversation about what they could do to serve their community someone suggested they pack their excess food onto to-go plates and in plastic containers and serve it to people in need.
Now the group prepares extra meat, vegetables, dessert, and bread each month to serve dozens of men and women who are homeless. After they eat, they gather, pray, and head into downtown Macon to share their food and the love of Christ.
"We're a church that believes in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, and God calls us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, and to love each other, and He told us to go out into the world and share the good news," said Rev. Sue Jackson, pastor of The Well, a United Methodist congregation in Macon. "The food is simply an avenue; we end up talking with people and praying with them and engaging with them. We're teaching each other as we do God's work, and it's great to see His work come alive."
The Footprints group is comprised of mostly 60-something-aged adults, but a handful of college students and youth have accompanied them as they served the homeless. On Sunday, April 10, one young man even gave a homeless man the shoes off his own feet after seeing that the man's shoes were riddled with holes.
"(It was) the most joyful and humbling event," Barron said. "Immediately Matthew 25:36 came to mind."
"Some were really hungry, but others weren't as hungry for food as they were for love and attention," said Bonnie Barron, Mike's wife and another member of the Footprints small group. "God says we need to take care of one another, and we just feel that this is one way we can do that."
A young, small, revitalized congregation born out of Doles United Methodist Church in June 2013, The Well is a church where outreach ministry and serving others has become ingrained in its culture.
"We share God's love by sharing our resources," Rev. Jackson said. "We want to continually have a focus on outreach and missions."
Kara Witherow, Editor, South Georgia AC
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the World Service Fund is the financial lifeline to a long list of Christian mission and ministry throughout the denomination. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the World Service Fund apportionment at 100 percent.