Oregon Adventist Stories: Pastor Sam

“I pastor two churches. One church has an open weekly breakfast for the community where we have connected with people who walk in for the free breakfast provided, but then stay back to have conversations and study the Bible together. At the end of the day we want to foster relationships with no strings attached.

"Every third Sabbath we close the other church I pastor. We don’t have a regular service. Basically we took a map of our community within a 2-mile radius, everything around our church. We said that we were going to spend every third Sabbath doing acts of practical kindness. Last month we went and bought a bunch of donuts and took them to our local fire station, then to the different areas that probably get forgotten about. We dropped off donuts, we went out into the local park and started handing them out. We went to where all the buses come in, the metro. Some of the drivers came out, and we had prayer with them. It was a really unexpected, unplanned type of thing.

"That’s something we’re doing intentionally — not regular church. We closed it and said, ‘We have to go beyond these walls.’ We’ve done it now for about six months, and we’ve really started seeing the benefits of this. We’re trying to experiment with some different things.

"When we first started, we asked, ‘Do we want to hand out, like, flyers with what we give out?’ Like, ‘Here’s a donut, here’s a flyer about the church.’ The more we thought about it, the more sure we were that we wanted to do this with no strings attached. If people ask who we are, we tell them. We have cards in our pocket; if they want to know more then we can talk about it. One time we got an ice cream truck. We just pulled up to a park. People started lining up with money, and we said, ‘This is free. It’s on us.’ Some people said, ‘Thank you,’ and left. Other people were like, ‘Who are you? What are you all about?’ So that was cool. But that’s the first thing — we don’t want to do this with the intention of, ‘Hey, if I give you this will you show up to church?’”

Subscribe to the Oregon Conference Facebook page or Instagram to read two new Oregon Adventist Stories each week: facebook.com/OregonAdventists/ or @oregonadventist.

Featured in: September/October 2019