Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Ministry of Pizza Inn

When chronicling the history of my time at Springfield Friends Meeting, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the impact of Pizza Inn.  I am aware that every youth ministry is impacted by pizza is some way.  I know that food is an important part of most every ministry.  Why do you think churches love potluck dinners so much?  In some ways our attraction to Pizza Inn was not unique.  In some ways, however, it was an amazing part of our success.

The Pizza Inn located in High Point was only about a mile from Springfield (as the crow flies!) and so it was convenient.  They had a wonderful lunch buffet at a reasonable price. The words "all-you-can-eat" are always good to hear when feeding teenagers!  We would go, eat salad, pizza, pasta, dessert pizza and bread sticks. And we would drink sweet tea.  The sweetest sweet tea you have ever tasted.  And we would drink it by the gallon!  In the beginning it was just something we did every now and then as a group for Sunday lunch, and we called it Pizza Break.  Eventually it became the place where groups of us would eat most every Sunday.  During school breaks and summers I would often eat there 4 or 5 days a week, usually with a different person or group each time.  It was such a safe place for all of us.  Some days we would laugh so loudly that we expected to be thrown out.  Some days my lunch partner would share deep pain or hurt, and tears would be shed.  Some days we would just bask in the glow of spending time with people we loved.  In the truest sense of the word, Pizza Inn became the place where we would have Communion. We would pray around the table; we would break bread together; and we would share our lives.  When students would go away to college, they would come home and call and want to go to the Inn.  The managers and wait staff knew us and loved us.  It was truly a second home for our student ministry.

Although I shared this experience with many students over the years, when I think of Pizza Inn my mind first jumps to Ken Hill, Todd Farlow, Danny McCorquodale and Jamie Robinson.  We ate there together so many times over so many years, sometimes staying for hours.  I cannot even imagine how much tea we drank or how much pizza we ate.  I do know this- we could all walk into to Pizza Inn today and it would be just like no time had passed at all.  Communion is like that.  It is never ending, not just a sacrament to be shared on special occasions.  It is unfailing.  Because Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever!  Just like the Pizza Inn buffet...

Because of Jesus,

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