Iowa Congregation Starts New Ministry To Feed College Students
First Christian Church in Spencer, Iowa recently adopted a new ministry strategy, called Whole People, Holy People, in which the congregation seeks to invest their resources and efforts into ministries that focus on loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and on loving neighbors as ourselves. Shortly after adopting this ministry strategy a brand new ministry was born. Dan Mayes, pastor, and a lay leader, Dick McCord held a meeting with administrative officers of nearby Iowa Lakes Community College to share their ideas for feeding the college students. “There are no campus dining services available on weekends,” Mayes said, “so many of these students are faced with challenges of transportation and finances over the weekends. The college was very receptive, even excited about the idea.”
Now, every Sunday evening while school is in session the church bus transports students between the dorms and the church and smiling church members provide a home-cooked meal, a place to relax, and conversation. Each week 20-40 students show up for the ministry aptly named Not Dorm Food: 101. “We weren’t expecting that many,” McCord said. “We thought we would have to start small. But all of a sudden here’s all these students!”
So far Not Dorm Food: 101 has been underwritten by individuals donors in the church and the church's Outreach ministry. More recently, the region has gotten involved. First Christian Church submitted a grant request to the Christian Church in the Upper MidWest and received a $500 grant, which will go to help support the ministry, including the addition of care packages to send back to the dorms with the students. Karen Fausch, Moderator of the Christian Church in the Upper MidWest, expressed excitement over Not Dorm Food: 101. "In a day when young people are skeptical of churches to have this success was truly a God moment. "