Tuesday Noon Church is my favorite thing I do as Minister to Senior Adults. This mid-week gathering at our church activity center began as a ministry to downtown workers. Leaders at First Baptist Church recognized an opportunity to provide physical and spiritual nourishment to folks who worked at the courthouse, the jail and other downtown businesses. For years my mother-in-law, Frances Chappell, headed up the cooking team that served up what she called “a pretty plate” every week.
We still serve up fellowship, encouragement and a “pretty plate” to anyone who stops by. I love the atmosphere of Tuesday Noon Church! My 92 year-old mother is a regular at TNC. Her comment about TNC is, “Everyone there is so happy!”
The people in the picture are largely responsible for why everyone is happy. Some of these people spend hours creating menus, buying groceries and cooking fantastic meals. Some greet people at the door, making every single person who enters feel like this is a party just for them. Others are staff members who have joyfully taken on the role of waiters, serving meals and hugs and smiles as they move from table to table.
Each member of this team plays a vital role. Each one makes the day better, the church better, the world better. I mean that. There are a lot – I mean a lot – of negative things happening all around us. If you can go somewhere where you know you will be welcomed and loved and uplifted, it can change your perspective on the day. And I believe that changed people change people.
The happiest people you will see on Tuesday are the ones in the photo. They have discovered that joy comes from serving others and the more they pass out joy to others, the more joy they receive. Jesus said, “Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing.” (Luke 6:38 MSG)
It is important to find a place “where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came,” as the theme song to Cheers rightly notes. It is also important to find a place where you can help create that atmosphere.
Church is often a good place to start – even if it’s on Tuesday!
By Dr. Jim Baldwin