"God works in mysterious ways. He's worked through fish before, hasn't he?" Members of Grace United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. have discovered the secret ingredient to attracting new faces at church: fried catfish.
For more than 25 years, the congregation has been hosting a monthly fundraising event known as the Gifts of Grace Fish Fry. The cooks claim it's the best fish dinner in town, and it also brings out the best of the people involved. Brad Cather says "It brings the church members together; it brings the community in; it takes the church out into the community."
(Locator: Mt. Juliet, Tennessee)
Andrew Klahn: I never thought that a program like the fish fry would be a reason for me to attend a church.
Judy Waggoner: God works in mysterious ways. He’s worked through fish before, hasn’t he?
Jeff Streszoff: I think it’s really appropriate that it’s fish because, God through Jesus Christ called disciples fisherman, to be fishers of men. And then, as they went on and they took fish and they broke it and they took loaves and Jesus broke it and he was able to 5000, and the really cool thing is that we’re still watching God use fish today to feed many, many people, both physically and mentally.
Judy Waggoner: This is Grace United Methodist Church, here in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. We serve the best fish in Wilson County — maybe in the state of Tennessee.
Brad Cather: There have been folks that have started coming to the church because they came to the fish fry first. They liked what they saw, they liked the ministry, they met the people.
Andrew Klahn: One of the main reasons I love this church and attend this church is because the fish fry. And for me, my family, I know that finding a church that gives back to the community is very important to us.
(Congregation greeting one another)
Jan Freeman: I like the idea that Grace United Methodist Church takes the proceeds from this dinner, and they help the local community pay for their medical bills.
Jeff Streszoff: Over the years at this fish fry, we’ve been able to raise over $325,000 to help people with in this community with unexpected medical expenses. For me, I think this fish fry is what it means to be a United Methodist. The partnership that we have, whether you’re standing on one side of the serving line or the other side of the serving line, it’s not just the church serving people, but by coming participating in the meal, you're helping raise the funds together.
Bill Collman: The fish is absolutely wonderful.
James Askins: In the last two years, I've only missed three times.
Andrew Klahn: My encouragement to other churches would be start something that’s important to you. Start something that’s fun, and if you love it and you enjoy doing it and if your committed to it, it’s going to grow.
Brad Cather: It brings the church members together, it brings the community in, it takes the church out in to the community. It doesn’t have to be a fish fry. It can be anything.
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.
This video was first posted in May, 2015.