On the Cutting Edge: West Virginia Church Offers Free Haircuts
By Carl Stagner
We were created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). The best kind of good works are the kind that meet real needs. In July, Teays Valley Church of God in Scott Depot, West Virginia, hosted a day of free haircuts, free hair products, and plenty of free hugs and expressions of God’s love. In a culture that often questions the authenticity of churchgoers, the compassion behind these friendly faces was genuine.
“Anything that you do for someone else, with all praise to Jesus, is a demonstration of God’s love,” Cassie Escue explains. Cassie serves as the CARE Ministry director at the church. She is also responsible for the idea to offer free haircuts to area families. “This particular ministry blessed each individual personally, not just the one being served, but also the one doing the serving.”
While families were waiting their turn, church volunteers mingled with them,
invited them to church, and talked with them about Jesus. “We even gave a Bible to a lady that had never owned one.” Though the church’s goal was to simply offer God’s love to the community, a couple families did attend subsequent church functions.
The best kind of good works are the kind that meet real needs but are also done well. “We are the hands and feet of Jesus and he would expect us to give only our best,” Cassie explains. It was necessary then that the church wouldn’t just round up some volunteers who once trimmed the hair off their toddler’s ears. Teays Valley Church of God recruited licensed professionals. “Just because something is free doesn’t mean it is supposed to be cheap. By using only licensed stylists and barbers, we let the guests know how important they are to our church and that we care for them.”
Cassie knows the impact of this kind of outreach. She knows the feeling of having to juggle financial obligations on a tight budget. “This idea was near and dear to my heart because I have been in their shoes,” she reflects. “I have had to put off a haircut for me or my children because new shoes, school supplies, etcetera, was needed instead. I know how it feels to finally just grab a pair of scissors out of the cabinet and start chopping. I can imagine what a relief it would have been if a church in the area offered free haircuts.” In addition to the free haircuts, Teays Valley Church of God supplied each family with a gift bag containing shampoo, conditioner, mousse, hairspray, children’s shampoo, lotion, shower gel, a brush, a comb, and other hair accessories.
Teays Valley conducted a total of eight service projects that weekend. The church also offered free soccer lessons, took bags of goodies to area hospitals and nursing homes, delivered boxed lunches to the Sheriff’s department and tax department, held a block party for a low-income neighborhood, served lunch at a local park, presented a kids program at a nursing home, and entertained families with a free movie. For families benefiting from the Cassie’s project, however, the idea to provide free haircuts was sheer perfection.
“Our prayer for this event was that Jesus would be glorified,” Cassie concludes, “and that we would introduce Jesus to those that do not know him. We desired to represent him in such a way that our guests would know that his love doesn’t stop at the doorway of the church, but that it is ever-present in each one of us regardless of our location.”
The love of Jesus was the motivating force behind Teays Valley’s haircut outreach. The love of Jesus is also the motivating force behind the work of Church of God Ministries. To learn more about what the Church of God is doing in the world to proclaim the Jesus’ love, visit www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.