Cooking for Dinner Church

With my dad having studied to be a cook before he became a pastor, I never had any need to cook anything growing up because what he made was already delicious—I didn’t realize how delicious until I headed off to college. But now that I was married, I was beginning to realize that I needed to learn how to do it myself.

Since then, I’ve really gotten into grilling. I’ve got a handful of cookbooks I love to experiment with and have learned a lot through the countless errors I’ve made. But I love every second of it.

And that’s the kind of volunteers I wanted to fill our cooking team when we launched Dinner Church at 1208GREENWOOD. We’re not a soup kitchen—we’re a church looking to cook people up some love—and in our case that includes the homeless and impoverished in our city who regularly attend. After they’ve visited us I want them to be full with something that took some effort to make.

There’s a quote that’s inspired me for some time in this direction. After spending some time with Mother Teresa, Shane Claiborne witnessed that Teresa served with the

deep conviction that when you give to the poor, you should give your very best, because you are doing it to Jesus. Don’t give your scrap clothing; give your best pair of pants or shoes to the homeless. Don’t feed them rice with a skimpy amount of gravy and no vegetables—you are feeding a king… so do it with excellence. (Claiborne, Shane, and John Perkins. Follow Me to Freedom, p. 242.)

And that’s why, amidst the many other things I need to do on a Sunday, I’m busy losing sleep over checking a smoker in the middle of the night to make sure that 30 pounds of brisket are cooking correctly. I want to use something as normal and mundane as cooking to serve God.

There are, of course, weeks where that is harder and times where what I was cooking did not go to plan. There are times where my food is nowhere near as good as I hoped it would be. There are times I have to do something simple for the sake of time. But so long as there is heart in what I’m doing, I think people can feel the love.

Suggested Reading: Gray Matters by Brett McCracken, Part 1: Eating.

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