One of our key messages in The Journey is that a Disciple of Christ “lives it out” in his family, in his church and in his community.  The Influencers in Bakersfield, CA get this in a big way, as they rally their army of Godly men to help the people in their community on a consistent basis.  This past week, they held their annual “Turkey Tuesday” as they made preparations to deliver 1200 full turkey dinners to needy families in the poorest parts of Bakersfield.  They partnered with 4 local churches in the communities they wanted to serve to locate the people in need and to sustain relationships with the individuals long after Thanksgiving.

It is quite an undertaking to prepare 1200 turkeys.  Just some of the highlights:

  • They dig sixteen 10 foot pits, filled with concrete culverts that can cook 77- 25 lbs turkeys.
  • It takes 30 cords of firewood, which obtain a year in advance, to manage the fire for the 16 pits.
  • They use 47,000 feet of Foil
  • They use 22,000 feet of wire to tie the turkeys
  • 2000 volunteers (Journey members and their friends and family) show up on Tuesday night to help with the effort

All the various tasks needed to cook the turkeys, prepare the box dinners and to deliver the meals are all led by teams formed by the 52 Journey Groups going on in Bakersfield.  Each Journey Group is assigned a task such as managing the volunteers, cutting the wire, loading boxes, doing the clean-up.  Every meal is prayed over and sent with a Bible and a card signed by one of the teams.  Local pastors get involved in encouraging the volunteers and making sure that follow-up occurs with the families served.

The annual event has gotten so big that it has drawn attention from the local news media.  The Influencers make sure that no names are used, so as to not bring glory to any one church or to Influencers but to bring glory to Christ.  They want the message to be, “Christians serving their community.”

Regional Director Les Pearsey believes that being like Jesus to those in need affirms the message of Influencers about having an abiding relationship with Christ.  As men and women serve together, and live out their faith, they spur each other into a deeper relationship with Christ.  And those who show up to volunteer who don’t know about our ministry are inspired to join our movement.  We are so proud of our brothers and sisters in Bakersfield and thank them for representing this ministry and our King so well.