SAN ANTONIO—As members of Christian Family Baptist Church in San Antonio began praying for ways to connect to the surrounding middle-to-upper class community, they discovered a need for food, which caught many by surprise.
"In an area like ours (the need for food) is not apparent. It does not stick out like a sore thumb," said Rob Johnson, pastor of CFBC. "But the economy has forced people to move in with their parents. Some are students with degrees and are just between jobs. They just have this temporary need for food."
The church began to realize that providing food would not only meet nutritional needs, but it would provide opportunities to show Christ's love in a tangible way and connect with the community—an answer to their prayers.
"What we're doing is trying to help them through a temporary period where we can help people have hope during a time when they need to be loved the most," Johnson said.
In early 2014, the church raised the first $350 needed to host a food distribution. Around 140 community residents came. Through trainings, funded by the Christian Life Commission, the CFBC leaders learned how to develop and strengthen the food distribution ministry in their community.
By the end of the year, CFBC hosted 11 distributions, providing a total of 110,000 lbs. of food to 1,485 families with the help of 600 volunteers.
The church makes it a goal to come up with $350 each month to purchase the food from the San Antonio Food Bank and invites volunteers from the military to serve alongside them.
Johnson reaches out to military personnel in San Antonio, knowing firsthand, as a veteran himself, that serving the community also helps meet a need for the military volunteers who are mostly based at Lackland Air Force Base and Fort Sam Houston.
It is a nurturing ministry that also helps people who have a need to reach out to other people, Johnson explained. Military, for instance, is more about guns and warfare. It is also about compassion, and they strongly desire to serve the public.
Johnson said the church family has no doubt God's hand is in the ministry as He continues to provide finances and volunteers each month. As a new year has begun, they look forward to growing the ministry to run five to six days a week.
While it meets a physical need in the community that was unapparent before the ministry began, Johnson said they are most enthusiastic about the relationships being built.
"We're moving just at a pace where we can build healthy, Christ-centered relationships where you're constantly connecting with the needs of the people," he explained.