Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Cooks Up Food and Fellowship for Local High School

Students from Central Gwinnett High School prepare to listen to a message from Jackson Tucker, youth leader at Central Baptist Church, after eating hamburgers at the church on Sept. 11. CBC/Special

Central Baptist Church in the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville sits right next door to Central Gwinnett High School. The close proximity sparked an idea among the small body of believers — an idea that has grown tenfold.

The church’s Wednesday night program rebooted this fall when the church took a new approach in connecting with students at the high school, giving them a space to spend time.

“Because of our location we get a lot of students crossing our property every day,” said Central Baptist’s pastor Steven Greene. “I had run into a group of them a couple times and asked them if they’d ever been in our church and they said ‘no.’ Then I asked them if they had ever been in any church, and for the most part it was a ‘no’ all around. So I offered to open up for them on Wednesday afternoons right after they got out of school.

“We went from about five kids the first week, and it’s grown to as much as 50 or 60,” Greene said, “that’s really how we got a youth ministry at this church. Because we started opening up the gym on Wednesday afternoons.”

Before long, the church’s minister of recreation had arranged for the church to feed the school’s football team after practice once a week, a tradition that lasted until the season ended earlier this month.

Each week, a group of ladies from the church handled the logistics involved in feeding so many. Two teams alternated every other week planning the menu, buying the food and preparing the meal.

Soon, church members weren’t the only ones involved. Restaurants, community members, and students started helping in the kitchen.

Greene said, “We’ve had two restaurants fully provide dinner on Wednesday. We had another provide a good discount when we bought dinner from them. Recently, the football players’ parents stepped up and volunteered to cook a meal.”

Kay Cook, another church member who volunteered to prepare the meals on Wednesday nights, says, “There are some students who come in to roll the silverware, and they come into the kitchen and help open cans and chop vegetables. That’s a big help for us.”

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Source: Baptist Press