Because of its warm winters, Florida has a large population “in transition”—people without steady jobs or permanent housing. Since last summer, First Christian Church in Kissimmee has worked to connect with this group in new ways.
Each Sunday afternoon, FCC holds a worship service designed especially for the transitional individuals in their community. Around 80 people attend this Community Outreach Service, which includes music led by a praise team and a sermon by preacher Jim Book or another member of the staff. The church provides coffee and refreshments for 30 minutes before each service and treats every worshipper to a hot lunch afterward.
“Small groups, Sunday school classes, and even members of the athletic program at Florida Christian College take turns preparing and serving the meals,” Book says. “In months with a ‘fifth Sunday,’ we’ll have fun with a theme, such as our recent Italian lunch which included accordion players strolling among the tables as people ate.”
Although the process has been smooth for FCC, the church is learning as it goes.
“We installed bike racks because so many people arrived on bicycles,” Book says. “We don’t always know what is in people’s backpacks, so we ask everyone to stow their bags in one designated spot before the service. We also have a small security team.”
But he says any church could start a similar outreach.
“It doesn’t cost us anything but some time,” he says. “Our church members have jumped at the chance to contribute, and it’s completely paid for by donations.”
For this downtown church, the weekly services are a natural way to extend ministry into the sometimes-forgotten corners of the city.
“Some people are there because of bad luck, others because of bad choices,” Book says. “But they all need the redemptive power of Jesus.”