“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”1
Thirteen weeks ago, I was engulfed in a story God wrote into my life where He explicitly showed me that He can and will place me wherever He wanted whenever He wanted. During that time there was the first night of worship at the Wilder conference held at Newsong2, God ignited a passion for the spiritually starved in a young woman’s heart. She left the night of worship early to go home and bake muffins. I’m unsure of exactly what God wrote on her heart, but from what I heard she wanted to reach out into the homeless of Santa Ana—not to just feed the people with food, but ultimately feed them with the love and justice of Jesus Christ.
I first heard about the outreach to Santa Ana early on when I joined Newsong. It was an idea that was in the hearts of the leaders at the church. When talking about where the new physical home of the church will be, there were always talks about going into Santa Ana. Everyone felt there was a huge calling that our church ought to dive in headfirst and do outreach to the lost and hungry in that city. But even with the murmuring with Santa Ana, I didn’t have the same heart as the leaders.
During Lent, a number of Newsong Young Adults held a 6AM morning prayer meeting twice a week. That is dedication from a group that most likely don’t sleep any time before midnight. I had to go check it out for two reasons: 1) who is crazy enough to pray at six in the morning; and 2) the girls constantly outnumbered the guys every morning.3. I witnessed amazing things happening almost every morning prayer. For one, I knew with absolute assurance and clarity when the Holy Spirit would speak to and for me. There were mornings where multiple prayer warriors would wake up without any assistance to get up and to pray as part of this community. There were times where a number of us would have vivid visions in dreams that occurred at the same time in the early mornings. The Holy Spirit would speak into our hearts and show us the same things so when it was time for us to share with one another, we would constantly share the same pieces of God’s living Word. This was happening. It was real. God was moving in our midst in prayer and communion. And it was there when we brought up the outreach to feed the homeless and needy of Santa Ana. But even with that prayer on our hearts, no one moved until muffins were made.
After Kiana baked muffins, she went out into Santa Ana with two other—Jane and Caleb—with the purpose of meeting individuals and showing their love of Christ. They understood their purpose. They were made to love and to show said love to all they would meet along their path.
I didn’t hear any of this until nearly a week later. There were two other girls in my small group—well, they’re both named Sarah—that wanted to do the same the following Saturday. When I found out that just the two girls were going, I absolutely insisted that I would go with them. I know that most likely absolutely nothing was going to happen, but earlier that month I was going on this weird chivalristic kick.4 I went with the Sarahs, and I pretty much just stood around being a mule and carrying food for them to distribute. I don’t do well making friends. I didn’t know what I was doing. When the girls needed food, I gave them food. When they asked me to lay hands and pray, I did just that. I figure this whole feeding ministry thing was just going to be a one-off kind of event. I was wrong.
The following week, the group became bigger. It consisted with the original group that started the week before, Sarahs and myself, and there were a number of others that heard about it (mainly through the morning prayer meeting) to come out and serve. More people from the young adults heard about it. More people came out. This happened week after week.
Both Kiana and Jane felt like they needed to pass the leadership torch of this Saturday morning feeding ministry. They passed it to Virginia—who seemed completely on fire and passionate about the ministry. She’s outgoing and loves connecting with people. The other leader? Well, yours truly. I couldn’t be more opposite of Virginia.
We immediately found connections to help us out with the ministry. There was a local church that reached out to the same area we were present every Saturday. They actually fed the people there for breakfast. What they didn’t have was the kind of group of people to go out there. So from the get go, we wanted to keep the vision simple and true to how it began—show the love of Christ by loving these people. We held on to the muffins as a catalyst to start a conversation We wanted to create meaningful relationships. We didn’t want to be a single-serving friend. We wanted to be a familiar face and that we can be accepted into their community and in turn tell them a love story that they are also accepted in the community with God’s family.
While Virginia worked the front-end of things such as increasing exposure so more young adults would come out as well as connecting with other people with the same heart to donate resources; I worked the back-end of things such as making this ministry official at Newsong and receiving our own church’s help. I also met another servant with the same heart for the same location at our church: Vinny. Vinny is very connected in the Santa Ana community and greatly aids us every week with free coffee and pastries from the local Starbucks.
It’s been an amazing three months serving in this ministry Saturday after Saturday. I don’t know how long this ministry will go. I don’t know how long I’ll be placed as a leader. The one thing about these people who are actively serving in this ministry is that we’re in this fluid life stage—post-college but not married. Many of these servants are still finding their identity and place in God’s story. It’s an amazing life stage because you really can do anything your heart’s desire. When we’re all in for something, we are all in for it. But without any real anchor (like family) keeping us in one place, we can move at a whim. This ministry—dubbed the Muffin Ministry—will not look the same today as it will be by summer’s end. About a third or more of the core group will not longer be serving just because they won’t even be in the area. Also, I don’t know how long the fire in their eyes will burn for this ministry. What do I need to do as a leader to prevent something feeling like a chore and keep them motivated that what we do here every week is out of love for our Savior?
The only constant I know is God. He placed us here in this place at this time to serve. I pray that He blesses me as well as the other leaders with a passion and wisdom to keep serving no matter where it takes us.
There are actually a number of stories that came out of this ministry. More of them need to be written, but here’s another blog.
- Matthew 25:34-40 NLT [↩]
- Mar 16th, 2013. I also mentioned it briefly in Unexpected friends [↩]
- I am doing my part to represent the young adult men in our church! [↩]
- I was finding my identify of what it meant to be just a man. I figure one of qualities I failed to express is a “chivalristic” one—but really just as simple as being outward protective like walking a girl to her car in a dark parking lot, walking on the street side, facing the exits in rooms, etc. [↩]