"Lord, even as we enjoy the Super Bowl football game, help us be mindful
of those who are without a bowl of soup to eat."
That prayer was offered by Brad Smith, at the time a seminary intern serving at a local Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. He was praying to start a meal, but a movement was birthed, as well. Brad and others had an idea, 'Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy?' Youth could collect donations at their schools and churches in soup pots, and then send every dollar DIRECTLY to a local charity of THEIR choice.
In 1990, just one year later, twenty-two local churches participated, reporting their results so a total could be determined, and then sending all $5,700 they had raised to area non-profits. Since then, ordinary young people have generated an extraordinary $70 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities in communities across the country. In addition, hundreds of thousands of youth have experienced for themselves the joy and satisfaction of giving and serving, inspiring people of all ages to follow their generous example. Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush serve as National Advocates, along with owners of 6 NFL teams. And to think it all started in youth one night! You can read more at souperbowl.org.
Sam Matthews, the senior pastor I served under in Fayetteville, used to say the best ideas for ministry come from the pews and not the pulpit. He was right, and this is a classic example. We have a chance this weekend to continue the great story started just a few years ago.
Our youth will be standing at the exits of our worship services this Sunday with Soup Pots, ready to accept donations to go directly to Open Door Community House, one of our key partners in serving our neighbors in Columbus. Consider giving $1, or more, to a great cause. This is one of the ways we are living lives of significance out in the world.
Grace and Peace to you, Scott