We had a dilemma in our College Sunday School class. We would pass around sign-up sheets for snacks on Sunday mornings, and they would come back empty. I didn't have the time or budget to provide something every week. Yet, everyone knows that, when it comes to college ministry, "if you feed them, they will come." What were we to do?
Then, one afternoon, I had an idea. What if we bought an electric griddle, some pancake mix and a supply of syrup and made pancakes in our classroom every week? The supplies would be easy to stock. Students could cook the pancakes, and we would be sure to have something to feed hungry students every week. It was a great idea. What I didn't know at the time was just how great an idea it really was.
The pancakes didn't just solve the food problem. A couple of students, who usually came early and waited patiently for class to get started, became the pancake makers, and inadvertently, the greeters. Instead of students coming in and sitting in chairs awkwardly looking for something to talk about, they were eating, talking and laughing about the pancakes, classes and life in general. The pancakes had helped us build community.
In a couple of months, I noticed something else happening in our group. As we would run out of pancake supplies, students would volunteer to bring them, and sometimes extra things. We had more days that students would bring doughnuts, or muffins, or chocolate chips for the pancakes. Then, a few months ago, when our class was asked to donate a basket of items for the youth auction, students went out of their way to give. It was a breakfast themed basket, of course, that included pancake mix. The pancakes had helped to make us more generous.
This month we promoted the newly graduated high school seniors to the College Sunday school class. They were excited to be coming to our class, because they had heard we have pancakes every Sunday. On their first Sunday, the students of the class greeted them with an extra-large batch of pancakes and other breakfast goodies they had brought, and smiling faces that said, "We’re glad you're here." The pancakes had helped us become welcoming.
It is true that God works in mysterious ways. I have seen him do many wonderful things in my life. But I could have never imagined all He could accomplish with pancakes.