Churchpotle – Part II
It all began with one kid…we met him at Chipotle and then took him to church. That night Churchpotle was born! (But you already heard that in Part I of this post.) Now we have 25-35 students that are either picked-up in the church bus or meet us at the restaurant, have dinner and then are taken to church for our midweek youth services.
Our church has fully embraced these non-churched young people and their families – perhaps your church could do something similar? Once kids began to come we discovered some real unmet needs. Not only were kids physically hungry, but they were failing in school, had no dental insurance, and didn’t have the resources to pay for things like outings and summer and winter camps.
Over the years I’ve seen members of my church do an excellent job of meeting the needs of the less fortunate, but it’s always been a challenge inviting the needy to our church. It’s as if these were two separate venues that never merged. Churchpotle has helped bridge that gap. These needy kids are now coming to church, and I’m happy to report… the church has really stepped up to meet the needs of this group.
John was a 6th grader with terrible teeth – in fact his crooked obtrusive teeth were the first thing you noticed about him. I know junior high kids at out local school would tease him relentlessly, and you could already see him begin to withdraw and not smile to expose his teeth. The Pastor’s wife and a caring friend of mine made it their mission to get his teeth fixed. After multiple calls to local dentists we found a Christ follower who wanted to make a difference. John had multiple appointments, none of which his parents were willing/able to get him to, so the church stepped up once again and provided transportation. After several weeks John has a new bridge with bright shinning white teeth – he can’t stop smiling!
Sarah was angry and embarrassed about her home life in the local trailer park. She was failing in school and she seemed destined to follow in her family’s footsteps of poverty and entitlement. An empty nest mother from our church took an interest in Sarah and began to build a relationship with her and her family. She arranged for a tutor, now picking her up and taking her home several afternoons a week. Sarah is thriving! She has made a decision for Christ and recently was awarded a full scholarship to camp! She attends a Karate class at the church each week, now attends each Sunday and continues to draw her friends to our entry point…Churchpotle.
A set of twins that come to Churchpotle recently and unexpectedly lost their father to a massive heart attack. What an honor it was when the extended family asked if we would host the funeral – not in the church – but at the local lake where they felt more comfortable. We hauled out a large barbeque and families of the church really stepped up and provided all the food and fixings. The junior high youth pastor had lost his father as a teen and was happy to share a few words and a brief prayer. The funeral was packed with people who don’t go to church, people that were seeking hope, many of which had given up all together. We were genuinely thanked over and over. People left encouraged knowing that the church down the street really cared.
Families are receiving counseling, a food bank has sprung up, and people’s utility bills are being paid in the case of true hardships. What began as feeding kids a burrito has really revitalized our church and given many opportunities to serve and to get involved.
Be creative. What are you doing for the least of these?
is a 20-year youth ministry veteran who has worked full time for Campus Life for the last 14 years. He serves on two campuses weekly and runs several campus ministries both on and off campus in partnerships with local churches. Rob has been interviewed several times in Jonathan's podcasts on TheSource4YM.com and Jonathan drew from his expertise throughout his book, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. Rob serves on the national Campus Life team at Youth for Christ USA.