The year 2020 was a milestone for many people. We remember who we were before then and now after. I’ve been a pastor for 24 years. My specialty has been rebuilding youth ministries and helping other youth pastors shift their ministry to reach more young people. I loved hearing youth leaders say, “I IMPLEMENTED YOUR PLAN, AND WE DOUBLED IN TWO WEEKS!!!” I lived for moments like those.
COVID CHANGED EVERYTHING
Then 2020. Everything changed. A good number of us picked up hobbies or other things to pass the time while we stayed away from people. I bought a smoker and started to barbecue everything on it. I would see something in the store and say to my wife, “I should smoke THAT!” Soon, I was hooked and couldn’t stop.
One day, I was smoking a prime rib roast and felt God tell me to start a church based on Barbecue.
I even started a Facebook group called “Barbecue Assembly of God.” Barbecue Facebook groups can be weird places, but I wanted one where we could share pictures of food and recipes without all the crazy mess. We quickly grew to over 500 members from all walks of life. Some aren’t even Christ followers, but they love barbecue.
One day, I was smoking a prime rib roast and felt God tell me to start a church based on Barbecue. I figured that I would post recipe videos. However, God said, “No, you are a pastor. Introduce people to Jesus using barbecue as the connection point.” I began to think about the number of women who attend church, but their husbands don’t. Many of these men didn’t feel like church was for them. They didn’t like the typical church service, and I’m not your typical pastor, so everything started to take shape.
We have so many people who watch our services without connection to church or God.
I never wanted to be a Lead Pastor. I liked the supporting role. I don’t play the church politics game well, but I knew this was what I was supposed to do. God didn’t ask my opinion, so we began to plan. What was almost surprising was how fast the doors opened for me to present the gospel to people daily!
“What do you do, Andre?”
“I pastor Barbecue Church.”
“That sounds amazing! So do you just cook?”
“No! I love barbecue and wanted to provide a place for people who don’t typically go to church to hear the word of God and connect to Jesus. I want to see people win!”
CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE THROUGH BARBECUE
We have so many people who watch our services without connection to church or God. People I work with across the country watch weekly and give me honest feedback. They ask questions. They want to grow and move forward on their faith journey. We are reaching people who would never walk through the doors of a church!
One guy asked me why I would help other churches grow through events when I could do it for myself and build a church in my community.
I grew up in the church. My Mom taught me that we must build the Kingdom of God, not our kingdom. We are set up so that other churches can send men to watch our services and not take away from what the local church is doing. Our goal is to help churches across the world reach more people. Phase two of our plan is to buy a food truck and start doing barbecue events at churches across the country and helping them set up small barbecue groups to continue reaching the barbecue community.
Many church planting organizations couldn’t wrap their heads around our concept. I was told we weren’t a “real church” and that I wouldn’t make the money I needed to live. One guy asked me why I would help other churches grow through events when I could do it for myself and build a church in my community. BECAUSE I’M NOT BUILDING MY KINGDOM!! We are building the Kingdom of God! I stopped reaching out to people for help. I knew I had to obey the call regardless of not having support or money to move forward.
Seeing God move and reach people through what He has called us to do is amazing.
One of my coworkers lit a fire under me. Phil doesn’t have a relationship with God. He sees what God does in our company through me and experiences the goodness of God at events that he runs. One day, he cussed me out. I won’t repeat what he said precisely, but the basis was this: “You walk with God. You don’t need anyone else to validate you. Get off your butt and stop looking for approval. Do what God called you to do and move forward. Stop waiting.” He used a lot of expletives, but you get it.
BARBECUE ACROSS THE GLOBE
That’s what I needed to hear. Barbecue brings people together! We launched on May 29th, 2022. We reach between 500-1,500 people monthly at twelve national and overseas campuses. Missionaries are beginning to use our model to reach the people in their neighborhoods. Our Turkey campus can’t preach openly, but they are reaching people using barbecue.
Since launch, I’ve received multiple texts and messages from people telling us how God is using Barbecue Church to shift their thinking and move them forward. Messages from people who are churched and those who aren’t. Seeing God move and reach people through what He has called us to do is amazing.
If God has called you to do something, do it.
I just did a men’s event for a friend, and they thought they were there for a Barbecue. The Pastor allowed me to share my vision, and I began to pray for those men. You could feel the presence of God increase at that moment. God began to do a work in them! I live for those moments. I’m called to help men grow and become better husbands, fathers, sons, and friends. I have the heart to help the fatherless connect to God and heal from the wounds left because of the absence of a dad. It’s what I’m here to do.
Our current goals are to raise enough money to purchase the food truck, upgrade some of our tech equipment, and begin supplying smokers to other church planters and campus ministries. Smokers will equip themselves to feed people and make money for their ministry by attending fairs and other community events. If you want to support or be a part of what God is doing through Barbecue Church, go to barbecuechurch.com.
If God has called you to do something, do it. Don’t look at what other people have done or try to figure it out yourself. Follow God’s voice and let Him give you the details. He will work it out!