The Arnold, Mo., Corps is reaching out with new initiatives aimed at sharing Christ and welcoming the community to its table through a weekly Dinner Church and a monthly women’s ministries group called “Coffee, Crafts and Friendly Chats.”
The fellowship hall is set for Dinner Church each Wednesday evening. Guests and regular attendees receive a warm reception, a hot meal and a serving of the gospel message. Dinner Church is advertised in the food pantry and on the corps Facebook page, inviting people to come for a delicious home-cooked meal, conversation and worship.
Since introducing Dinner Church, Captain Amanda Hellstrom, corps officer, and several soldiers have welcomed with open arms those who attend on Wednesday evening. The blossoming relationships have led to community care ministries like providing rides to medical appointments or to the community college for classes, assisting with homework, or sharing information on community resources.
“We are all one congregation,” said the captain. “Whether we attend Sundays, Wednesdays or both, we are all church members.”
The captain compares the Wednesday service to what historically was the Sunday evening “salvation meeting”, which was geared toward sharing the salvation message and testimonies of God’s grace. Around the table organic conversation with intentional witnessing brings Christ to the forefront, and the captain gives a short message. Many of those who visit begin attending regularly for both the physical and spiritual nourishment they receive.
The corps’ other endeavor, “Coffee, Crafts and Friendly Chats,” is a relationship-building outreach intended to provide women with a few hours of respite, companionship and friendship within the warmth of a safe, Christ-centered environment. On the second Friday of the month, women are invited to join the captain for conversation and crafting over a good cup of coffee. So far, the response has been positive, with as many as 10 in attendance.
Through each of these initiatives, people are being reached with the gospel while building meaningful relationships which point them to Christ.