Over the past couple of years, one of the questions we’ve heard many times from our church family is “How can we better serve the campus community? What need does the ISU community have that we have the gifts to respond to?”
I’ve heard that question stated in multiple ways. “We’re here, practically in the center of campus, for a reason. What is God calling us to do here and now?”
Questions like this can often lead to a formal study and new committee. But we didn’t do any formal study to try to answer that question. I suspect there were more immediate issues taking our time. But the questions didn’t go away. For me, I’d say, they just seemed to linger and simmer in my soul.
And I’ve come to appreciate the work of “lingering and simmering”, allowing our minds and spirits to work on something without forcing it. I believe this is one of the ways that God leads us. We reflect on the questions and then step back, giving a little time and space for the direction to unfold or become a bit clearer.
This is what happened to make way for the creation of the School Street Food Pantry.
The question was there in the back of our minds . . . when Kent and I were at a Christmas party and met someone from the Normal Township Office who had been talking with others about food insecurity for ISU students.
The question was there in the back of our minds . . . when ISU Social Work and Student Government students wondered if the church would have room for a Food Pantry for college students.
The question was there in the back of our minds . . . when one of our members learned of a $5,000 grant for start-up ministries focused on issues of justice.
“We’re practically in the center of campus. What is God calling us to do?”
We didn’t set out to open a Food Pantry. We set out to discover the answer to the question, “How can we better serve the campus community?” And just by allowing that question to linger and simmer in our souls, we were available for God to make connections and lead us to offer space and support for this ministry.
This weekend in worship, we will have the 4th in our series of Community Conversations. In worship we’ll focus on food insecurity and I’ll be “interviewing” Jeanna Campbell, Chair of the School Street Food Pantry Board, and Pat Turner, Director of the Center for Hope.
I wonder . . . what questions are lingering and simmering in your soul? Where is God leading you?
Look forward to seeing you in worship.