Simply Serving: Alabama Church Posture Shifts with Fall Focus

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Loving and Serving, Southeast

By Mark Butzow

Turnout was terrific last fall when New Harvest Church of God in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, chose to organize a grocery giveaway just before Thanksgiving. About 85 members volunteered to help, from a congregation that draws about 200 weekly to Sunday services.

“We are grateful to be able to make an impact, to [each] be an ambassador,” said Pastor Anderson Walker. His church is located about a mile from the University of Alabama campus, an economically comfortable area, but in the other direction is a deprived part of the city.

“What we did is begin to look at how we can serve our community, to be a blessing to them,” Walker said. “We did a food drive on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We partnered with the local food bank and others to get groceries.”

On the day of the event, about 85 church members met when the truck arrived at 7:30 AM and worked fast to sort and package the food so recipients wouldn’t even have to get out of their vehicles.

Once the groceries were bagged, “we had one group direct traffic, one to get contact info, one to take prayer requests, and one to place items in vehicles.”

Food distribution on Serve Day at New Harvest.

The food giveaway started at 9 AM and they gave out the last of their 185 bundles just before 11 AM, sadly having to turn away several vehicles at the back of the line. But people were blessed and encouraged, and saw the love of Jesus on display through the people who chose to look outside themselves and invest in their community.

“The church learned something, deeply—how to be a servant. There was a noticeable change after the Serve Day. We shifted to a servant mentality,” Pastor Walker said. Volunteers also asked food recipients “if there is anything we can pray about for you,” Walker added. He said three people started attending the church after the food drive.

New Harvest has plans for more Serve Days. The church will most likely do a food distribution again near Thanksgiving, but “we’re going to add a backpack giveaway this year when schools are starting back at the end of summer.”

Mark Butzow operates Mark My Words Ink, a freelance writing and editing service, and is a former journalism instructor, broadcast journalist, newspaper reporter, and copy editor. He lives in Madison County, Indiana, with his wife, a first-grade teacher at Liberty Christian School in Anderson.

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Feature (top) photo: New Harvest Church of God volunteers working hard at Serve Day.

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