Caring Communities
by Wayne Luman

When we look into the New Testament, we often see Jesus as a guest at a dinner, or we see Him sharing a meal with His disciples. We have miracles around sharing food, like the feeding of the multitudes with the simple lunch of a young boy, using two small fish and five small barley loaves of bread. By breaking bread, partaking of communion, we share our lives around a community table.

The Connect Dinners we started a few years back touched a desire in many people’s hearts—a desire for community. This was a night when parents and children sat down together with no concern for cooking, no concern for dishes. This was a night where single people could join a group at a common table and have a good meal and, more importantly, connect.

It is beautiful to see the generations coming together to share in a common experience—connecting. Keith Jones Hall provided the kitchen we needed and the space we needed to make that connection meaningful on Wednesday nights.

There is going to be a hole in the ministry this year. Not only are we missing Wednesday dinners, we won’t be able to serve the community Thanksgiving Dinner this year. We had been making inroads into the community with this dinner and I am “bummed” that we won’t be able to offer a Thanksgiving plate to those who might not have anywhere else to go.

To this point I have spoken mainly of Keith Jones Hall. However, I am also looking forward to having more space in other parts of the Marsh Building. During many of our planning sessions, we have bumped into space issues. I believe the condition of the Marsh Building has hindered ministry.

As the Director of Community and Care, I want you to know that our goal is to have every person participating in a life group, and I dream about the possibilities of adding all sorts of new groups. Think about it: caring communities, like a support group for troubled teens or a single moms’ group. We could offer special groups to help strengthen marriages, or add recovery and support meetings for adults—all Christ-centered, all biblically based, all happening at First Church!

Jesus said in John 4:35: “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” And my prayer is this: that we would have a remodeled and updated fully useable Marsh Building with new ministries filling every room, preparing for the harvest!

Wayne Luman is an Associate Pastor and the Director of Caring Ministries.