I want to open this blog post by saying how incredible it is to pastor such an amazing group of people. God has greatly blessed us at the Grace Place and I believe the best is yet to come! As we journey together into this new and exciting season of ministry as the "Grace Place", the priority must remain where it has always been, on serving our community with a genuine love and concern that is only possible through Christ. This focus on genuine hospitality begins here at home. How we treat our own is a good indication of how we'll treat others. This is never more important than when one of our own or a member of their immediate family passes away. It has long been a practice in the church to provide food for the grieving family either before or after the funeral service of their loved one. This small act of kindness gives the broken family a collective "hug" from the church. Usually, I'll get a card in the mail or a phone call from a family member of the deceased saying how special and thoughtful the meal was and how much the family appreciated the kindness shown.

Unfortunately, this once prominent practice has slowly deteriorated over time. Participation has dropped considerably, food is either dropped off uncooked or frozen, and the volunteers who come to serve the grieving family (often in addition to cooking and bringing their own food) are forced to cook the unprepared food, or scramble around from restaurant to restaurant trying to find food to serve because there isn't enough. One particular funeral not too long ago had us all scrambling! It was a pretty large funeral of a church member, and while I was on the stage preparing to speak, I was getting texts saying "Pastor, we have 3-4 dishes total back here, what do we do?" Just what I need while preparing to speak words of comfort to a grieving family! So while I'm on the stage, waiting for my turn to speak, I'm delegating where to go get what and how much is available to be spent on the church debit card... Why? Because as INCREDIBLE as our volunteers are, they were handed frozen and uncooked food and essentially told "good luck". This isn't fair to the volunteers who show up faithfully to serve, or to the family members mourning their deceased loved one, and it's especially not fair to the reputation of our wonderful, amazing church. We have tried sign-up sheets, but that didn't work. People either don't sign up, or they don't follow thru when called upon.

So, after discussions with our incredible kitchen volunteers, I believe we have found a workable solution. We have sourced a local catering service that has agreed to provide a full meal for 40-45 people (Which is a reasonable number for our current situation) for around $8 per plate. This covers all food, prep, serving, dishes, and clean up. Our volunteers will simply be needed to assist with serving. This comes to about $400 per funeral of a church member or their immediate family. This breaks down to about 20 people donating roughly $20 per funeral. If your family is active in the church, please consider donating $20 per family member. This is the most practical solution for continuing the practice of providing meals for grieving families.


How we respond to the call to serve will tell more about our church than any amount of promotional posts on facebook. People are watching to see if our actions match our words, and trust me when I say that it matters to people when they're looking for a church to plant their family in.