We were surrounded by paint brushes, brooms, and mops. The chairs still needed to be wiped down and set out in socially distanced patterns. Our first indoor service after the lifting of the shelter-in-place order was just about 19 hours away. It would also be our first service in our new space, a community center we rented just five days earlier.
Now confirmation rode up on three bicycles.
From the beginnings of our decision to plant a Vineyard church, we sensed a call to invite people to the kingdom feast in a very practical way—by inviting the hungry and hurting to an earthly feast.
Hungry? We’ll offer an open table where you can be filled. Hurting? We’ll offer an open table of connection where you can be heard and comforted.
For many months we’ve been asking God to plant us where he wanted us. We began our first services in January at a taproom. We knew it wouldn’t be our home for long. The area was too trendy, up-and-coming, and professional. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it wasn’t our particular calling.
When COVID-19 shut down the taproom, we continued to pray, “Lord, give us a facility in the community where you want us and where we can feed people.”
Then, some friends told us of a community center that was already serving the addicted, the hungry, and the marginalized and might rent us space.
The center needed work, but we didn’t mind. We decided to rent it!
So, there we were, cleaning up for our first service, when three young boys rode up on bicycles and stopped outside our open kitchen door.
“Would you like some water?”
“Would you like some pizza?”
“How much can we have?” one of the boys politely asked.
“As much as you want.”
They smiled and ate.
A couple of hours later, our paint brushes and mops still wet, the three young cyclists came back. They got more pizza and we told them about our church services.
It was confirmation, sooner than we expected. We hadn’t even had a service in our new home yet, and God was already confirming the location, the mission, and the vision. We had already fed the hungry in our new community.
Those boys didn’t come to our service the next day, but we’re convinced we’ll see them again. We’re pretty sure that someday, perhaps as we’re sharing bread across an open table, we’ll get a chance to introduce them to the One who is the bread of life, who offers bread, that if you eat it, you’ll never be hungry again.
Finding a Building for Our Church Plant
About the Author
Steve and his wife Kathy are planting the Restoration Vineyard Church in Chattanooga, TN. Steve graduated from Bryan College in 1984 and the University of Tennessee law school in 1988. He is bi-vocational and practices law as his “day job.” Steve and Kathy have been married for 29 years and have 3 children: Reagan, Colson and Maura. They are recent empty nesters except when their youngest is home from college. The Duggins have been active in the Vineyard for 18 years.
The views expressed on this site or in this media are those of the speaker(s), author(s), or contributor(s), and do not necessarily represent the views of Vineyard USA or any of its Regions, Ministries or Initiatives. For more information, see the
Vineyard USA disclaimer here.