One Monday morning, Twila Schock, pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, Belvidere, Ill., was in for a pleasant surprise when she opened her work email. A mother wrote to thank her for the free ice cream provided by the church’s evangelism effort that weekend.
“My daughter and I had been going through some really tough times. … When my daughter heard the ice cream truck, she was so excited. I didn’t know what to do because our finances are so tight. … My only option was to grab my 5-year-old’s coin purse to buy her a treat.”
Moments later, the mother learned that the church was paying for ice cream for everyone. She said it felt like a big “I care for you from God.”
The idea for the ice cream truck came up during an evangelism team meeting three years ago. The congregation rents the truck, which makes its way through the neighborhood handing out $400 worth of free ice cream to strengthen Christ Lutheran’s presence in the neighborhood.
Members are invited to follow the truck, and youth group members ring doorbells and invite folks out. Many people know Christ Lutheran as “the church with the ice cream treats,” Schock said. Recipients are also given a flier inviting them to Rally Sunday.
“We tried to find a truck that had ‘Amazing Grace’ or ‘A Mighty Fortress’ in its jingle repertoire,” Schock joked, “but alas, we were stuck with ‘Turkey in the Straw.’ No problem, that’s just how we Lutherans roll.”