THE “LOVE LOAF LEAGUE”
By: Doug R. Rose
The reason we have so many men in our church is that we women prayed them in” was one of the wonderful statements we encountered in 1985 as new pastors at First Assembly of God, Belleville, Illinois. Since then the attendance has grown from 250 to a high of nearly 1,000.
The reason? The empowering of the Holy Spirit upon men’s and women’s hard work.
Since the church’s founding pioneer pastor was an ordained Assemblies of God lady, the church ladies have always done their
fair share of work – not just behind the scenes but active evangelism. This is a wonderful role model for teens to see both moms and dads working for souls.
The pastoral leadership challenges each department and organizational activity to stress soul winning. This began in 1985
with the television broadcast, “Welcome to Worship That Heals.” Women and men have manned TV cameras to help evangelize the metro-east area.
Both work side by side in our “Love Loaf League” ministry, which delivers homemade bread to newcomers and visitors and also visits nursing homes, shut-ins, and hospitals. Over 2,000 calls were made last year with over 58 won to Jesus Christ.
An exciting example of this ministry is Betty, a “Love Loaf League” member, who won her friend Sharon to the Lord.
“I first met Sharon in “1976 when I, a new Christian, had to change jobs,” Betty said. “I was a barmaid when the Lord saved me. It
wasn’t long before I was under conviction and knew I had to change jobs. The pastor told me to take a step of faith and quit my job -God would provide a better job for me. He did just that.
“I met Sharon at my new job,” Betty continued. “I told everyone I worked with what God had done for me and asked them to go to church with me. Sharon went with me and liked it, but she wouldn’t make a decision to receive Jesus. Eventually she stopped “attending.”
Betty didn’t work after 1983, so she didn’t see Sharon much. When she saw her in 1988, Sharon told Betty she had cancer. Later she was placed in a nursing home where Betty visited her and pressed the claims of Christ. Again Sharon said, “Not yet.” When Betty visited her a second time, Sharon said, “Come on; let’s get on with it.” She prayed to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior that day, December 20, 1990. She went home to be with the Lord January 22, 1991.
In 1990 Betty made 1,220 visits, and 40 were saved – the oldest, a 99-year-old lady. People are never too young or too old for Jesus to save them.
Our women also sponsor an annual Easter activity fair for the church and surrounding neighborhoods. Held the Saturday before
Easter, the fair follows an Easter egg hunt sponsored and planned by our Men’s Ministries group. New people come and bring their neighbors. Our youth pass out free tickets to the “Living Cross” musical drama production, which our Music Department presents several times during Easter week.
Our ladies began door-to-door witnessing 2 years ago in the church’s neighborhood. Enthusiasm ran so high they extended
visitation to many other areas, visiting over 1,000 homes. They have seen over 25 make professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
Our Decade of Harvest coordinator assigns the names of new Christians to other leadership in our church for follow-up. The discipleship program includes the following:
1. Sending names to Illinois Correspondence Institute to receive “The Great Questions of Life” free.
2. Teaching new converts in Wednesday night Bible study.
3. Attending pastor’s Sunday morning newcomers class.
4. Inviting them to home Bible fellowship.
5. Enlisting them in ministry service to our Lord through the ministries deacon coordinator.
Many newcomers join the evangelism outreach to reproduce themselves with more fruit for His kingdom. It is exciting to be a part of the Lord of harvest’s plan: “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me… bringeth forth much fruit” (John 15:5).
(The above material appeared in the February 1993 issue of Advance.)
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