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Midweek Ministry Matters

 In All Church of God

By Carl Stagner

Fewer and fewer churches across the United States hold Wednesday evening prayer meetings and midweek Bibles studies. While some congregations opt for small group meetings and other special events during the week, others have decided to focus all their attention on Sunday morning gatherings. First Church of God in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, has concluded that midweek ministry—on Wednesday for them—is one of their best weekly opportunities to touch their community for Christ.

Exhausted after a busy day of kingdom work, the apostles returned to Jesus and said, “‘Send the crowds away to the nearby villages and farms, so they can find food and lodging for the night. There is nothing to eat here in this remote place.’ But Jesus said, ‘You feed them’” (Luke 9:12–13 NLT). The Lord has given his followers the task of feeding those who are hungry. When the new Wednesday ministry began at First Church in early 2010, the church’s starting point was to offer meals to the community. “The congregation started with this format of serving a meal for everyone, with emphasis on our children, because so many of them were just hungry,” Pastor Terry Clayton explains.

Many churches of similar size have trouble finding and keeping volunteers needed to help lead and staff programs for varying age groups. Following the meal, the church separates into sessions for children, youth, and adults. Every age group, starting with three-year-olds, is offered their own group. Clayton explains that it’s important that volunteers and potential volunteers see the results of their efforts. “People will give when they see apurpose or a reason. We have four different groups that cook on Wednesday evenings. We have two teams of van drivers, along with an adult rider, for Sundays and Wednesdays. We have teachers and adult workers for each class, who are different from the Sunday school teachers. We have cleanup crews. We have adults willing to sit with children that misbehave. And we are seeing results in their lives and results in ours.”

Before this new midweek program began, only two or three children attended Wednesday evening gatherings. Wednesday evening attendance now runs over one hundred, which includes more than forty children and thirty youth! The church is celebrating and giving all glory to God. “The families of today are so busy on weekends that we have found that our congregation would be missing a great opportunity to minister and love the lives that we have touched through this program on Wednesday nights.”

Clayton says that they bought school supplies for students and took ten children and five youth shopping for school clothes. He explains that the children and youth of the community keep coming back because they know the church loves them. But these kids did not know this love of God until the church moved beyond their four walls. “We cannot wait in our churches for them to come in,” Clayton stresses. “We have got to go out! Jesus told us to do that in the Great Commission.”

Exhausted after a hard day in the middle of what for many is their work week, First Church of God volunteers come together to feed the hungry with food that satisfies the stomach and soul.

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