Kansas Church Adopts Innovative Strategies to Reach Families for Christ
By Brian Ramsey
Adopting four families for a Christmas celebration of clothing and gifts is not just another event on a long list of Kansas City Community Church of God’s “to-do” things; it is an expression of outreach-oriented vision, and it permeates the youth ministries, as well. The Kansas church believes in its mission of caring for community families and, for a congregation of a few hundred, their efforts to be the hands and feet of Jesus have an incredible impact.
This Christmas love gift was the creation of the church’s youth coordinators: Phillip Brown and his wife Gloria, and Lashaunta Madison. The church was already reaching out to groups in the church, such as the Senior Saints, and the leaders felt that the young people could benefit, as well. The youth group responded to the call, and now several families will feel the benefit of Christ-like service from Kansas City Community. The toys and clothing, which are stored in various areas around the church—even on the pastor’s couch in his office—have become a reminder of the importance of reaching out beyond the church walls and finding people whom God wants to bless.
Pastor Charles Cofield Jr., the senior pastor, has a special heart for the young people, as his ministry there started in the youth department and lasted for almost ten years. “I may not be physically able to keep up with them, as in the past, but my heart is energized by serving together with them,” he notes. For over two decades, Pastor Cofield has served the church, and he is continually amazed by their creative spirits in determining different ways to meet the needs of the community. The last two Thanksgiving days, the church parted with the tradition of the past in meeting for a service and, instead, showed up at 7:00 AM to prepare meals to deliver that morning to people in the area—both in houses and high-rise dwellings. Many retirees are unable to enjoy a good Thanksgiving feast each year, but the church this past year delivered between 150 and 200 meals. The residents loved it!
Like the rest of America, COVID-19 dramatically changed the church’s ability to meet and perform the established programs. Kansas City Community went to a social media platform and continued to bring clear preaching of God’s Word, along with meaningful worship and strong encouragement. Pastor Cofield explains why: “When we shut down, we shall go live.” He is not just referring to the inability to meet and the subsequent online services. For Cofield, these unprecedented times call for a strong resolve to stay on mission and, in fact, ramp up purposeful caring, serving, and reaching others with the gospel. The virus may have changed the norm for a time, but the members of the church refuse to lose focus, and they never tire of thinking of new ways to extend the love of God.
Recently, a member of the church, Libe Rush, approached Pastor Cofield, wanting to keep the tradition of a monthly breakfast meal. Pastor explained the necessity of keeping the rules from the CDC and of protecting the community, which had previously escalating numbers of positives for the virus. Rush went back to the drawing board and created the “Drive-Through” breakfast. The church’s large overhang served as the delivery zone, and members brought packaged meals to the cars that came through—even including warm smiles from the church behind their masks. What started as a plan for 50 to 75 meals escalated to over 150 served. It was their pleasure!
Charles Cofield knows that one of the greatest needs of people (especially now) is a personal touch. The problem is that we cannot touch! Still, he challenges the church to continue creating a culture of personal touch without physical contact and with social distancing. He wants them to serve others by also helping them to feel God’s love and the love of the church, with no obligation. He explains that Hebrews 13:16, which says, “And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sweet sacrifices God is pleased,” is the foundation of their biblical methodology, and their events and service are another way to provide a sweet-smelling savor to God—a sacrifice of worship.
Pastor Cofield, like the rest of us, is anxious for life to return to normalcy, but he preaches readiness to his congregation. “When all is said and done, people will begin to return to our churches, and we must be ready to serve! This is not a time for a break, for there will not be a time to re-do things. This is a time to prepare to be intentional for those who will come seeking help, hope, and answers,” he notes.
Help churches like these respond to urgent needs in their communities as a result of recent crises:
Dr. Brian Ramsey resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, with his wife of thirty-six years, Tammy, who has taught as a Kindergarten teacher at Liberty Christian School in Anderson for over twenty-five years. He has two married children and four grandchildren—all girls, and their wishes have absolutely no extra control over him. He currently works with his son who owns a magazine, and he writes for various entities. He is very involved in his church in the Soul Care Ministry, and he loves to read, watch and play sports, and teach college classes.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.
*Feature (top) photo: Pork-Fest-To-Go event hosted by the church.