I can’t tell you how many times over the last year I’ve said, in the words of Payton Manning’s Nationwide commercial, “We gotta’ get the band back together.” We’re not quite there yet, but, hopefully this adaptation of our annual Souper Bowl of Caring can be another stepping stone on our Covid journey. We’ll call it, Souper Bowl of Caring- Covid Style!
I’ve lost count of how many years we’ve (First Baptist Church of Morganton, NC) been partnering with the First Presbyterian Church (FPC) of Morganton, NC and the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) of Morganton, NC for our Super Bowl Sunday event to raise hunger awareness in our small town. The three churches come together for a grilled cheese and soup lunch. After some ground rules, we split into groups and go around town and go door-to-door collecting money and non-perishable items for our local soup kitchen, Burke United Christian Ministries (BUCM). We come back together for a big finish of weighing our collections and organizing the food items in the warehouse. Last year alone we raised $5,186 and 2,422 pounds of food. To finish, we hand the winner the homemade trophy, have a prayer, and leave to start our Super Bowl prep. The three churches join with an organization called Souper Bowl of Caring. Souper Bowl of Caring is an organization our church has partnered with for over 10 years. Their focus is YOUR community. In short, they bring groups all over the country together by encouraging them to help their local charities! You can find our more about them at tacklehunger.org.
So…we threw all of that out the Covid window this year. We’ve taken the tailgate theme and expanded a bit. This year we’ll be outside in our parking lot. Each of the three youth groups will have their own corner of the lot. Each leader will be responsible for keeping their group distanced appropriately. Members from all three churches will be encouraged to bring items to our drive-through drop off. As a draw, we’ll have a Canned Food Costume Contest and a Poster Contest for cash prizes! You’ll also be able to hear our Karaoke Contest and smell the pizza that each group will distribute to their members.
Like many things during Covid, our ministry focus has had to shift. Until Covid, I took the gathering of the saints for granted. Theology, check. History, check. Spirituality, check. Physical presence, please! Yes, I know, not yet! But as an extravert, I look forward to post-Covid times when we can “get the band back together.” I plan to emphasize the importance of working together by pointing out that it’s the only way for us to truly help. Hopefully this will help drive home the fact that BUCM are the real winners of our Souper Bowl Competition!
There is a sad reality that students are having a really hard time. They may not have the words to describe or the vulnerability to share their feelings, but they need us to be paying attention. This event is coming at a crucial time for our youth. With this in mind I plan to ask them to reimagine what youth group can look like when we return to our regular meetings. I plan to have a prayer request box to remind them that we are still here and God is always with us.