It is very simple to understand. Ten months ago our ministry consisted of about 15-20 tried and true folks, people who had been on the front line of addiction recovery, some dealing with their own, others helping those get through it. These were the bricks that laid the foundation of who we are.
Now, we are regularly about 3-4 times that size and growing daily and when people ask me why there is one word to describe it, food. Every time a group meets there is eatable food and "edible" food. The real food and the mental banquet that comes from God. We feed the stomach and we feed the soul and that pretty much sums up how we have grown.
In the recovery communities we work with, a real meal is rare. Not much money for food, they may catch a meal here and there but they know when they come to ATB they will eat. And, they will take home a takeout plate of spiritual guidance that will offer hope and encouragement as they struggle to stay clean and sober.
We offer much more than Food For Thought as we go out into these communities as well with meetings, Celebrations and individual studies all geared toward feeding them. Jesus fed the multitude but he also said "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God". Everything we do sometimes conventional, often unconventional is geared toward food.
Last week I did 6 meetings and by Friday I was literally exhausted, but I was very happy. And I realized that having watched some of these original bricks of ATB serve others with their massive cooking, servant hearts and love, that this is working, this is what God intended for us to do, feed his sheep. We try to complicate things in our own way of creatively serving but it all boils down to food.
Last night, one of our own, David who is a chef spent 6 hours cooking for what we thought would be a holiday turnout of 40 maybe 50 people. During that time two of our singers got sick, the 15 passenger van broke down of those who were coming and our elevator broke that would transport the food upstairs.
No problem, more than 65 people showed, most of the food ran out, but we fed the sheep and we fed the soul, everyone got a ride home and when it was all said and done, Santa's message was about the real meaning of Christmas, which when you break it all down, is about food.
God sent food down from heaven to give us Food For Thought! Pretty simple, that's how we roll.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.