If you are ready to maximize the ultimate measure of your life, you can rest assured that Feed the Need Missions is an avenue through which you can make a major impact on those in most need and also reflect the character and values of Dr King.

In case you hadn’t heard, the first seven days of January have officially been dubbed “New Year’s Resolution Week.” This week the entire internet has been inundated with “new year, new you” messaging, social media posts touting ‘words of the year,’ and other similar personal goal setting.

Taking time to reset and self evaluate truly are so important. Personal Bible reading plans and a restructuring of priorities are vital for growth. But if 2020 gave us anything, it was ample time to do this. Last year, as we learned to adapt to quarantined living in the wake of COVID-19, we became homeschool parents and remote office workers. We focused on family. We gardened. We crafted. We became digital media pros. What was sorely missed, in all this inwardly focused time, was a sense of community. 

A New Year Shift of Focus

In 2020, loneliness was off the charts. People felt disconnected, so much so that the CDC published resources, warnings and health ramifications associated with isolation. We missed our friends, and churches, and our coffee dates. We longed for unmasked smiles, unreserved hugs and high fives. Personal contact. Togetherness.

As we move in to a new year, consider trading the typical personal resolutions for a commitment to personal involvement in community revitalization. If ever there was a time, this is the year to shift our focus outward toward others. Should you need biblical support for this, you need look no further than this charge from the Apostle Paul:

 

Selfless and sacrificial service should be the daily norm for every Christian— but we don’t often incorporate it into our New Years goal setting. And it’s too bad, because it has some pretty incredible perks. In addition to the obvious spiritual priority the Bible gives it and the benefits for others, a service oriented lifestyle is proven to decrease depression, add skills to our personal tool belts, reduce stress and help us build new friendships. The ironic truth is we could achieve most of our personal goals more effectively by focusing less on self and more on others. Just food for thought.

A New Year Commitment to Community

So what does resolving to be others-centered in 2021 look like? Glad you asked! First, let’s talk about the need.

We know our communities have healing to do in the wake of 2020. But defining that more specifically helps us to articulate how we can be part of the solution. At Feed the Need Missions, we define the needs based on what we call the Four Levels of Poverty:

  • Physical poverty – This is the more obvious understanding of poverty, including a lack of tangible resources impacting food, clothing and shelter. This lack occurs for a myriad of reasons, but many individuals experienced heightened poverty in 2020 in the wake of job losses and furrows.
  • Emotional poverty – This type of poverty manifests itself through loneliness, mental challenges, relational issues or difficulty with life or coping skills. As mentioned above, there is a heavy sense of isolation and anxiety related to 2020.
  • Social Poverty – Often social deficits go hand in hand with physical poverty. Most often, social poverty is the desire to feel valued, to simply be seen, to be heard, and to have someone speak into their lives.
  • Spiritual Poverty – We believe the most dire need of all people, in the era of COVID or otherwise, is for the forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. He is the ultimate solution, meeting every need associated with physical, emotional, social and spiritual poverty.

Feed the Need Missions is about meeting people in every one of these types of poverty. Our organizational mission is to feed people physically and spiritually. We do that through weekly pop up style dinner sites, where we distribute hot meals. As we address the physical need, we initiate personal interactions, offer prayers and proclaim the Gospel to anyone who is willing to listen.

A New Volunteer Service Opportunity

We do all this via an ever expanding army of volunteers. People looking for a way to make an impact. People just like you.

We often say, “the burger is just the tool.” We’ve found that, just as we see it play out in the Bible, physical needs being met opens the doors to fulfill every type of hunger. It gives us an opportunity to connect them to a Savior, Provider, Friend and Wonderful Counselor.

If restoring community in 2021 sounds like just the ticket for you, and you’re looking for a way to get started, we want to invite you to get involved in this vital mission as a volunteer, church partner, prayer warrior or donor. All you have to do is show up to one of our sites, and we’ll get you plugged in.

Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Are you ready to level up from Bible reading to Bible living? Are you ready to take Jesus outside the church walls? Then you are exactly who we’re looking to team up with in the new year.

Fellow believers, we’ve had our time to retreat and reflect. Now is a time for heroes to step up, ready to take action and be the healing hands of Jesus.

About the Writer

Amanda joined our staff in September of 2020 as the Marketing Director. She is a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher and public speaker, and former church staffer. In her 10 years of adult ministry experience at one of the largest churches in the U.S., she fostered a passion and proficiency for church program development, discipleship and sharing the love of Christ.

 

Church Volunteerism in the Age of COVID-19

Even in the best of times, churches have to work creatively and proactively to keep volunteerism up.

In fact, 50% of pastors feel like this is the biggest challenge they face. One unique advantage churches have over other nonprofit organizations is the ongoing sense of connection fostered by weekly face-to-face interaction in classes, events, worship and other activities.
In 2020, however, that advantage has dwindled. 
Unprecedented closures due to COVID-19, decreased programming and staff, and long-term social distancing plans have made it difficult to maintain that sense of connection. Nearly half of worshippers are now attending an online churchservice. With the decreased accountability and visibility come the temptations to disengage, to shop around, and to become spectators rather than participants.
Wouldn’t it be nice, in times like these, if someone outside your organization could step in and help? 
That’s exactly what Feed the Need Missions loves to do – empower and activate the Church to meet physical and spiritual needs. As a faith-based nonprofit organization, we have been partnering with local churches and harnessing the power of volunteers for a decade. Despite the COVID outbreak, we have seen nearly 200 volunteers show up each week to serve rural communities across Texas. 
Our President, Jonah Beyer, often consults with pastors looking to grow a passion for service among congregants. The following are a few suggestions – and some practical solutions – from our family of faith to yours. 


Volunteer Opportunities Are Vital For Church Growth

If you haven’t embraced volunteerism as a huge opportunity for church growth, this is step one. The impacts begin with the individual and blossom outward to affect the temperature of the entire church body. The process begins as active volunteers begin to experience personal benefits: 
  • They feel purpose and belonging
  • They cultivate new friendships
  • They discover gifts and passions
  • They experience the satisfaction that comes with helping and influencing others
From this experience springs loyalty to the church and personal ownership over its success. These individuals are no longer just spectators. They show up faithfully each week, ready to invest in the overall vision. 
This translates into great things for the church as a whole. Staff members experience less burnout as they give away ministry. And as members attend services regularly, they mature spiritually. Part of this maturity includes members replicating themselves and giving away ministry to others. 
Ultimately, then, enabling volunteerism promotes overall church growth.

Practical Ways to Cultivate the Volunteer Spirit

Once you understand why building up volunteers is important, you can get to work making it happen. Below are three postures and practices we suggest for building a successful volunteer base. 


 1. Make It Personal

If you want to grow volunteerism, here is a rule of thumb: people over projects. “People are one of our greatest assets,” Jonah shares. “But when the task becomes more important than the person, you lose your ability to lead.” In short, make sure that the leader at the helm is someone who is personable. Don’t delegate and disappear. Check in with people. Get to know them. Listen to their stories, experiences, and suggestions. Celebrate them. Thank them. Investing in volunteers, rather than just using people up as a resource, will build excitement and loyalty into your team. 


 2. Make It Meaningful

People don’t want to do busy work. They don’t get excited about doing “anyone can handle this” jobs. Trying to make it sound innocuous may be tempting, but it will not incite interest and passion – or attract the right people. What will, however, is an understanding of the overall vision and the impact it will have. Help volunteers see that, big or small, visible or behind the scenes, their offering is changing lives for Jesus Christ. In our annual Gobble Kits effort, for example, volunteers aren’t just handing out food or collecting canned goods. They are providing hope by donating Thanksgiving meals to families who are in desperate need in their own communities. They are the hands and feet of Jesus. The way we frame things makes all the difference in the attitudes of the people we lead. 


3. Build a Partnership 

With many churches still planning programming conservatively these days, your staff may simply not have the bandwidth to organize a project or mission right now. If this is the case, find a local mission you love and build a partnership. This way, the facility, details and supplies are handled by a third party; you can simply show up, serve and grow together. Feed the Need Missions would love to help you begin the process of engaging and developing a volunteer spirit in your church. 
Feed the Need Missions Church partnerships take many forms:

  • Home groups or classes choose a night to serve dinner at one of our weekly sites 
  • Mini-local mission trips take place for ministry areas to practice testimony sharing, Gospel sharing, and intercessory prayer
  • Members with administrative skill serve as site coordinators and church ambassadors
  • Church facilities are opened as a donation supply pick-up centers for seasonal missions


Partner with Feed the Need Missions

If you are interested in how a partnership with Feed the Need Missions might benefit your church, we’d love to connect. Let us host a Church and Burgers informational event at your location. Here, we share our vision and cook a delicious, free meal for your congregation. You can also schedule a strategy session with our president, Jonah Beyer or visit our website

Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.

Remember:

– Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
– Older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
– Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

Check out the link for helpful information on Beating the Heat this summer. https://www.ready.gov/heat

Feed the Need Missions will continue serving water during the summer to our guests and volunteers. Stop by our sites for a cold refreshment and splash yourself at our hand washing station to cool down.

“Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

Feed the Need Missions has always strived to love unconditionally. Our ministry was started to serve ALL who come, no matter what. Our hearts want to echo 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” In fact, this is not just a calling to us as a ministry, it is a calling to all Christians.

It is clear that evil is present. We can see it in the form of racial oppression, political divides, and using patriotism and religion as license to take action out of anger or personal gain. This is the chaos that Satan creates, thrives in, and conquers all who allow it to enter. This is not the time for the Church to be silent. This is the time to show the love of Jesus, not the judgement of men, to all people.

Do not confuse Black Lives Matter with putting one race over another. This isn’t the point. The point is that Black Americans are hurting and need support right now. If you have multiple children and one of them tells you “I love you,” you don’t respond with “well I love all my children, not just you!” Even though this is true, this is not what our brothers and sisters need to hear in this moment. They need to hear that we love them, and that we’re here to stand in the gap for them and be the voice that needs to be heard in solidarity alongside of them.

What can I do? This is often the first question we ask. Many times we don’t get the answer we want or it is too hard to find out, it’s easier to try to ignore it and sit idle and return to things that feel comfortable.

But when you are comfortable there is no progress, there is no fight, there is no battle. The only thing defeated in comfort is the spirit of love that lives inside you. It’s time for that spirit to stay alive. Not just for a short time, but until Jesus comes back.

Start getting uncomfortable. Here are two things you can begin to do today.

    1. PRAY. Time and time again, Jesus shows up when we ask. Pray for our Black friends and neighbors. Pray our eyes would be open to the injustices happening, big and small. Pray that your heart would be empathetic and broken for the pain that people have experienced. Pray for direction in what steps you can take to make a difference.
    2. LEARN. There are so many great resources out there – books, voices, etc. Here is a great place to start. Listen to your Black friends. Talk with others about what you are learning. Have uncomfortable conversations. Read books that make you rethink about what you were taught about race. Try to truly understand what the changes and policies people are fighting for, not just what you hear from sensational news headlines. And approach all of this with a humble heart. It is okay if you were wrong, and it is okay to change.

When you start diving in and really focus on these two things, the actions you need to take will come to light. Don’t be idle, this is important.

In this time of racial injustice, we need to let God’s love show through and guide all of us to unity. The worst thing that can happen is that when the uproar has quieted, we go right back into the comfortable lives we were living before. Don’t let that happen, love is difficult, love is often awkward, love is uncomfortable. Do the hard thing. Love.

To our Black brothers and sisters, we love you and we want to support you. We want to learn and listen. We ask for your forgiveness in places we have failed, and we are willing to do the work to make things better.

There is nothing special about Feed the Need Missions. We just try to instill doing small things well again and again. God doesn’t need superstars, he needs ordinary people that He can do extraordinary acts through.

We hope you join us in praying and learning. We can’t wait to see where God leads us to love others.

This is an uncertain time for all of us. Feed the Need Missions is doing our part to help ensure the health, safety, and food security of all of our sites and communities. We’re focused on the needs of the people we serve. We’re incredibly thankful and blessed for the outreach from our community wanting to support these efforts!

Feed the Need Missions is continuing to work with partners across our service areas to find innovative ways to serve our friends and neighbors. We currently changed our focus to provide a safe “to-go” serving style. As guests arrive in their car, or on foot, they are handed a meal to take home. Janice said, “I am thankful you guys are still doing this. With hours cut back at work this is going to help us get through. You guys have been a blessing to Stanley and me for a long time. Right now, we are in desperate need of prayer and food. We were worried you weren’t going to be able to do this.”

We understand that during this time our communities need to be served physically and spiritually more than ever before. Current volunteer sessions are being kept much smaller than traditional volunteer groups. This is to best accommodate the social distancing guidelines, while still serving our community safely. We will continue serving in this time of need and are so grateful for the support we’ve received in doing so. If you would like to serve with us during this time, please contact Jason Bray for important information on ways you can be involved.

Everyone’s affected by what’s happening right now with COVID-19. What we also know is that the needs will be continually changing throughout this pandemic. Right now, the efforts of Feed the Need Missions are for those that are hungry and needing spiritual filling. We serve many families at our sites with a hot meal, a listening ear, the love of Jesus, and will continue to do so.

Site Coordinator Jack Gilmore mentioned, “All but four cars asked for prayer. People are hurting and confused by what’s happening. We needed to be there to comfort them,” he said. “We had a guy who pulled up and handed me money, he didn’t want food. He just wanted to thank my team for being out there and encouraged us to keep going.”

Since the pandemic started, our organization has mobilized volunteers to serve to-go bags to those who come to a site. Local restaurants are partnering with us to help feed people in need for the interim because of food shortage in our feeding areas. We appreciate those who have come alongside of us, to continue to serve those in need.

Feed the Need Missions is not only complying with CDC guidelines and local government requirements, we have also been encouraged by the local officials to continue serving in our communities.

by Michael Warden, Board Member

Anytime we are faced with widespread suffering, the first question that always comes up is “Where is God in all of this?” The good news is that the answer remains that God is where He always has been, on His throne, and in complete control.

At first, this can seem disheartening. If bad stuff can happen, even when God is in control, why should I trust God? But consider the reverse. If God were incapable of stopping bad things from happening, would that make you feel better or worse about the situation?

The reality is that we as believers can feel confident through hard times precisely because we know that our God will use this situation for our good and His glory.

Disease and Death Enter the World

Let’s back up. Scientists believe Coronavirus first infected humans in a market in Wuhan, China, but where did this virus come from, spiritually speaking?

God did not create the world for death and suffering. After God had finished making Eve so that Adam would not be lonely, Genesis 1:31 says:

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (ESV)

But Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3, and through that sin, we see that death and suffering enter the world. We were not made to separated from the ones we love, or to suffer through painful disease, and so the emotional and spiritual tolls are often as great as the physical ones.

God Uses Suffering for Our Good and His Glory

But God, being all-powerful and all-knowing, did not just leave His children to suffer in vain. The pattern in scripture is clear. He is Lord, even in our sufferings. We can see the promise made in Romans 8:28, among other places.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (ESV)- Romans 8:28

But this promise is not idle. Repeatedly throughout scripture, God fulfills His purposes for the good of His people through trying times. In Genesis, Joseph is sold into slavery, sent to Egypt, only to redeem His people by leading Egypt through a tremendous famine. In the end, Joseph declares:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (ESV) – Genesis 50:20

In Job, God allows Satan to take everything away from Job but his life. His possession and his children are destroyed. In the end, Job confesses:

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (ESV)- Job 42:2–6

In this case, God restores Job’s family and possessions to him, and, in fact, doubles them, but more importantly, Job trusts God through all of His suffering, and through that trust, it is counted righteousness to Him through Jesus Christ.

We could take nearly endless other examples of suffering from the Bible to make similar points, from Jonah, to Paul, but the most obvious example is Jesus Himself. Through Jesus’ suffering, God reconciled the world to Himself. Jesus’ death on the cross was not Satan’s defeat of God, as the men on the road Emmaus wondered (Luke 24:13-17), but God’s defeat of Satan once and for all (John 19:30- “It is finished.”).

For the Unbeliever

The reality is that the world is like this, full of disease, suffering, and death, whether you believe there is a merciful God on the throne or whether you believe that this is also just random chance. The difference between the two outlooks is whether the reality of the current world will produce hope or dismay.

For the unbeliever, suffering and loss in the only time you believe you have could easily lead to dismay. This world, you believe, is as good as anything ever gets. If it’s not so good to you, what hope might you have for something better?

For the believer, however, we are included in the promise of Romans 8:28. All things work together for our good, whether in this life or eternity, and this world is the worst we must endure. All things will be made new.

If you have not yet put your faith in Christ, this is an opportunity to enter into His promises. Ask us how.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (ESV)- Revelation 21:3–5

How are we as Christians called to respond?

As believers, because we can be confident in the promises of God even in the midst of suffering, we do not have to respond from a place of fear. We are free to demonstrate God’s love for us, by loving others. Ministering to people’s physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs continues to be our response.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (ESV)- Romans 12:15

 

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. (ESV) – John 21:15–17

 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (ESV)- James 1:12

Feed the Need Missions’ ministry is simply to feed people both physically and spiritually. We provide a hot meal on a weekly basis in communities across Texas. This weekly meal allows us to build long-lasting relationships and proclaim the love and message of Christ.

Scott from Bastrop South shared this, “The encouragement that I receive here has helped me grow socially. I am able to talk more about my personal struggles and about God to other people. I’ve had a problem with going to church since my mom has passed away and you guys have helped fill me spiritually.”

Feed the Need Missions depends on our volunteers. Without our dedicated team of volunteers, we would not be able to serve our communities like we do. Debbie from Giddings said, “We get more out of Feed the Need Missions than what we give in to the ministry.”

We need your help! Come make a difference in your community or surrounding area. Be a part of what God is doing through those that serve and those being served.

Check out what a few more of our volunteers and those we serve have said about Feed the Need Missions:

“I’ve never had anyone ask me if they could take my picture,” Jimmy said in tears. “I’ve been coming around here since you started behind the Lumberyard years ago, and now I live on this side of town so I come here on Sunday’s.”– Jimmy from Bastrop North

“We needed something more,” he said “I didn’t realize that I was stuck in the social poverty aspect of my life and my family as well.” – Justin from Smithville

“The encouragement that I receive here has helped me grow socially. I am able to talk more about my personal struggles and about God to other people. I’ve had a problem with going to church since my mom has passed away and you guys have helped fill me spiritually,” – Scott from Bastrop South

“We want to be the church and to love people where they are,” – Jack from LBA

“I’m plugged in now. I come here and do Table Talk to our guests. I translate it to them in Spanish for them to understand the gospel. It feels great to help out, and share God’s love, and it’s also helping me grow,” – Nat from Stony Point

“Feed the Need Missions is about the relationships and sharing the gospel. It’s not about the numbers it’s about a personal connection with them and Jesus Christ,” – Josh from Justin

“I love being able to serve in the ministry. We can’t all go on mission trips due to funds and vacation time, instead me and my family can serve here,“ – Nick from Newark

Come out to one of our communities and be a part of the great work the Lord is doing!

As parents and children were standing around at the sites talking about going back to school, I overheard a conversation of a mother who was nervous about sending their kids off to school this year. “There’s so much going on in this world, you never know when our schools will be next” she said. She has three girls and two boys who will be attending school this year.

Most parents I’m sure feel the same way. As August draws to a close, the minds of parents turn to all-things back-to-school. This time of year can definitely be filled with anxieties but it can also be an exciting time too. In honor of back to school, we asked a few families to share how they feel about going back:

“Life always brings its challenges whether your in school or out of school”– Mike

“My boys are strong enough to make it a good year and I believe they will. I am very involved in their schooling and I do believe that plays a big part in it.”– Philip

“I’ve been teaching for 18 years and each year brings it’s own challenges, but I have faith in God to get us through.”– Miss Garcia

“I’ve never had any issues with the schools here. I think our school system does its best with what it has to work with. Of course we can fear the unknowns, but that takes up to much brain power. So I just keep moving forward and hope for the best.”– Annette

“I love my school and all my teachers. Sometimes kids can be mean but it’s a part of life.”– Pablo

As a community we need to serve our schools. There are countless opportunities available to get more involved. Visit your locals schools webpage to find out how you can stay involved and make a difference in the lives of our educators and students.

And pray. Every single day. Pray.