Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)
TITLE: Cookie Cutter Ministry
By Kevin Ingram
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"They look awesome - and smell even better," he thanked her.
"Oh, its nothing," Norma replied. "I'm just glad you like them."
"Nobody ever turned down a plate of your cookies," he returned. It was an easy encouragement, as the products of her kitchen were always exceptional.
She sat down in front of his desk, but he couldn’t help notice the look of concern on her face.
"Pastor, can I ask you something?"
"Of course," he replied. "What's the matter?"
"Well, you know how the church has grown so well the last few months. It seems like every week there is someone new. Two weeks ago the Lewises brought a whole new family, and I heard they are thinking of joining."
"Yes, it's great!" He studied her burdened expression. "So what's the problem?"
"Well, I have tried to figure out what I can do to help, but I'm just not a cookie-cutter Christian."
" A what?" he asked.
"You know, someone who fits into one of the 'regular' roles in the church. Preachers, teachers, singers, youth workers, all the normal positions people fill to help build the church. I just don't fit in - I feel like I'm cut from a different mold. I can't sing or play an instrument, so I can't be in the choir. I get all flustered in front of people - I get so nervous I lose my focus and get all my words mixed up - so I can't teach Sunday School. I tried to go door to door with the witness teams, but I feel so uncomfortable with a handful of tracts confronting people about their eternity, it just seems so awkward for me." She paused and looked at the floor, dejected and troubled. "I just feel so useless."
Pastor selected a cookie off the plate and nibbled it slowly, savoring the rich taste while deep in thought. She had such a good heart and a sincere desire to help... but how? She was right - she had no traditional talents or typical ministry abilities, yet he knew God could use her somehow. He studied the broken edge of the cookie, then suddenly looked back toward her.
"These cookies are wonderful," he began. "Do you really like making them?"
She beamed with pride and blushed all at the same time from the compliment. "Oh, yes," she almost blurted, "I love baking. It brings me so much joy to create things in the kitchen, things people like."
"Then that's it." He pointed to the plate. "How about a real cookie cutter ministry?"
"What do you mean?" she asked.
"Well, I imagine a plate of these would be a welcome treat at any door in your neighborhood. Everyone would love them! They might even get you in to someone's table where a handful of tracts could not. It could be the key to sharing your faith, your own special ministry."
If Norma was beaming before, she was absolutely glowing now. "I could pick a new neighbor every week!" she exclaimed excitedly. "And make special holiday treats for the kids!"
"And take a recent church bulletin to give them, to invite them to the services."
"Is that enough? I don't really know how to witness. What else would I say?"
"That's all it really takes," he replied. "Just let them know you care, and they will see God's love in you."
Norma's eyes were shining as she thought through the possibilities. "Do you really think people would like it?"
"Nobody ever turned down a plate of your cookies," he reminded her through a new nibble.
She smiled broadly and rose to leave.
"Thanks, Pastor, thank you so much. I'll get started this week."
She turned and left the office, still glowing and bubbling with excitement.
Pastor Roy silently thanking the Lord for the right words to say. Then he sat back and smiled, took another deep breath of that beautiful, sweet aroma and helped himself to another cookie.
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