NEWLAND — Pastor Keith Russell of Big Meadows Baptist Church in Newland is spreading the word of God through a new ministry that seeks to bring people together over a common delicacy: hot dogs.
The outreach ministry, Russell said, will take place each Wednesday at 1 p.m., beginning on May 12, in the parking lot of Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home located at 296 Ash Street in Newland. The ministry, which is called Feeding the Word, will center around Russell and members of Big Meadows Baptist, among others from neighboring churches, handing out free hot dogs to those in attendance and sharing the message of hope found in Jesus Christ.
“People can come by and get a free hot dog and get as many as they want. But if you get more than eight, you’ll have to get back in line,” Russell said.
Russell said his church has done other outreach ministries in the past, specifically through its afterschool program, which operated until the pandemic. Church members would pick up kids from school, take them to fellowship, feed them, let them do homework and then take them to church on Wednesday night before taking them home.
Now, the new outreach ministry will allow the church to evangelize to and have fellowship with a greater swath of the community. Beginning at 1 p.m. each Wednesday, Russell says he will stand on the back of his pickup truck and preach for about 15 minutes before feeding those in attendance.
Russell says he takes his inspiration for the ministry from the passage in the book of Matthew when Jesus feeds the 5,000, as well as aspects of the Sermon on the Mount: “But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” (Matthew 4:4).
Russell added that this new ministry comes at a particularly important time and senses that many people are searching for something in the wake of the chaotic state of the world.
“With all that’s going on now, people are looking for where to turn when everything else is running out. That’s one reason we wanted to do the hot dog ministry,” Russell said.
Big Meadows Baptist Church is located at 1985 Horney Road in Newland. Pastor Russell can be contacted by calling (828) 447-8301.