A Small Church Big on Community

Daniels Lutheran Church is a small church tucked in between hay fields and soy bean fields. It’s a church that worships around 70 people a Sunday. Small churches often get the reputation that they are dying. If you believe that I’ve got some ocean front property in North Dakota that I’d be happy to sell you. Small churches can also be thriving churches. I honestly believe that Jesus cares less about butts in a pew than he does about how many people our churches are feeding.

Daniels has always had a food pantry, where if someone were to come into the office we could send them on their way with some canned goods. The council has used The Annual Roadmap for a couple of years now, and it helped us to focus on the needs of the people around us. Nearly thirty percent of the city of Lincolnton’s population is in the poverty bracket. I’d guess it’s much the same on the western end of the county.  There are a few options for people who live in the city, but not so much for those who would have to make the ten to twenty mile round trip to get a box of food once a month.  What could we do to help? Well, we could continue to look at ourselves and say “Poor little ole Daniels can’t do a thing.” But to say that we would be lying to ourselves and we would be cheating the community in which we are so deeply rooted.

I tossed the idea out there about opening our food pantry once a month, allowing folks to swing by on a Wednesday evening to pick up food. A pastor tossing an idea out is often like taking a net out into the water hoping to catch something, anything really.  I was amazed when I pulled in not just one person into this dream, but a right many.  They then told me, “We don’t think once a month will cut it; we’re going to open the food pantry twice a month.” We then decided that we would open The Food Pantry at Daniels starting after Easter 2018. We did it once that April and then have been open twice a month since that time. It has been a blessing. We have stocked the food pantry with donations from our members and with the help of Thrivent Action Teams. We are to hear back from Second Harvest Food Bank this month to see if we can begin to shop at one of their locations in order to better serve our community. The shelves are stocked, boxes packed, and cars loaded by our members, both youth and adults.

It’s been 13 months since we opened our food pantry. We have served 651 people through The Food Pantry at Daniels (443 adults and 208 children). We may be small, but with the Holy Spirit working in and through us we are mighty.

Pastors and deacons, keep tossing out those ideas. Children of God, never allow yourself to say that your church can’t do something. It might fail. It could fail. But if you don’t give it a shot you will never know if it will become the largest ministry your church has ever conducted.

Submitted by Pastor Dave Fox.