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Batesville church taking ‘food truck’ approach to help others

Using individual passions to make a difference

(BATESVILLE, Ind.) – The Batesville United Methodist Church has 11 food trucks, but they’re not selling food. 

The church also doesn’t have 11 trucks. 

‘Food trucks’ is a term coined to describe the church members who go into the community and use their passions to make a difference. 

Reverend Chris Renick says this approach was developed after the church previously used the traditional model of multiple committees, however that wasn’t efficient. 

“We’d have members want to get involved in something like a Main Street event, and in order to do that, they would have to go the outreach committee, and then to another committee, before that committee chairperson would ask the administration for approval, and many times the event would be over before the church member even got approval,” Renick said. 

It led the congregation to adopt a single committee model to streamline the process. 

From there, the premise of ‘food trucks’ was created. 

Renick added that it stems from a pastor in Columbus who compared the church to a restaurant. 

It’s no secret that churches, of nearly all denominations, are experiencing a decline in attendance. If that was a restaurant, the owners would certainly be concerned. 

So, how do you turn around a struggling restaurant? Perhaps, buy a food truck and go where the people are. 

Rev. Renick and the 'food truck' committees

“Now, if someone comes to me and says they want to get involved in the Main Street event, I say that I know some other people who would be interested in that as well. Hence, they form a food truck,” he said. 

Renick laughed that it took some time to convince some church members that they would not be operating actual food trucks 

The 11 current food trucks revolve around individual passions that some members have. 

For example, there is the “Share A Ride” food truck. That’s where volunteers provide transportation for someone who can’t drive. 

The “Cooks On Call” food truck provides meals for community members who might be going hungry. 

There are also ‘food trucks’ dedicated to the homeless, veterans, teachers, Department of Child Services, and another group that makes crochet octopuses for NICU babies, and more. 

“Rather than join a committee you’re not passionate about, this is an opportunity to not spend countless hours in meetings, but to use that time and passion with active ministry,” Renick said. 

Another initiative underway is showing church members how the Methodist faith goes beyond Batesville.

First 'Taste of Culture' event held last Saturday

One member of the church, who is a native of Singapore, has launched the ‘Taste of Culture’ food truck. That committee hosts four events a year where they cook traditional meals from other countries.

The church is also seeing a growing number of Chinese natives attend their services. They are planning to soon record their services and translate them into Mandarin. 

Renick has also been teaching English as a Second Language to a resident who speaks Chinese. 

The ‘food truck’ concept will continue to grow based on the passions of individual members of Batesville United Methodist.


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