by Ron Perry, Restoration Church
The only miracle that is repeated in all four Gospels is the feeding of the 5,000. John 6:1-15 is one of those accounts. The fame of Jesus was spreading like wildfire. He was a man performing amazing miracles, teaching with authority, and attracting large crowds wanting to be in His presence. People often came with nothing, hoping to receive physical healing and/or wanting to hear His preaching. The crowds and the disciples often did not have any provisions with them. Jesus recognized that these men, women, and children were not only tired and hungry, but also spiritually hungry too. He was setting the example for His disciples and for us today to have eyes like Christ, always on the lookout for opportunities to care physically and spiritually for those in our path. This is where our Community Outreach efforts are rooted. Restoration Church exists so that every man, women, and child will have repeated opportunities to experience the restoration of the gospel.
This ministry work has been birthed through Scripture but inspired from within our members and leaders. It is ongoing and continually evolving. Through the latest global pandemic, the necessity and the awareness of feeding the needy has come to the forefront of our mission’s work. For a few years, one of our faithful covenant members has been working with a small missions group called Friends Feeding Friends. With a servant base of two dedicated women, this ministry faithfully feeds men, women, and children in downtown Buffalo three times a week, every week, regardless of the weather conditions. While Restoration is not responsible for this ministry, the passion and commitment of these women has spurred our leadership on to meet the needs of our community.
Earlier this year, we contacted Feed More of WNY to see how Restoration could help meet the growing needs of families in the community. With more and more people becoming unemployed, the need to provide food became paramount. Initially, Feed More had a great demand for volunteers to drive for Meals on Wheels. With this targeted opportunity, we quickly compiled a substantial list of volunteers to be available drivers. While some of us started driving right away, others were waiting to be called. After contacting Feed More again, we were advised that their needs had shifted. They had been flooded with volunteer drivers and had now turned their eyes to a rapidly depleting food pantry. With the increased needs of families coupled with the cancellation of normal spring food drives, they were looking to churches and the community to host food drives.
We brought this new urgent need to Restoration and we were quickly able to organize a successful food drive involving church members and our surrounding neighborhood. Our efforts involved youth volunteers, families, individuals, seniors, and neighbors. We have become a stable presence in our neighborhood, sharing and showing the love of Christ through our serving. Each person involved in this ministry work was refreshed by being able to donate food to meet the needs in WNY. In Matthew 9:36-38 (ESV), “Jesus saw the crowd and had compassion on them because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” We at Restoration have tried to focus our members to see the world through this lens and allow God to use us to share the gospel through missional outreach opportunities such as this. By following Jesus’ example to meet physical needs, we have made opportunities to nourish the spiritual needs of the community as well.
Restoration Church exists to give every man, woman, and child repeated opportunities to experience the restoration of the gospel. It is our desire to be a part of saturating our region with the gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . Equally so, it is our desire to see all of Christ’s people formed in the gospel to live a life fully pleasing to God and on mission with Him in the world within the context of their daily lives.