In a creative move that combines ministering to both the material and spiritual needs of their community, the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist in New Orleans, Louisiana, will be giving away free gas to their community on Good Friday while supplies last.
Executive Pastor Donna Williams told The Christian Post Friday that come April 19, the church will give gas away from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Sterling Express station located at 1667 Tchoupitoulas Street and the Gentilly-Paris Shell located at 2035 Gentilly Boulevard.
“We do this as a way of giving back to the community. This is the second year that we will be doing it. We call it [the] Greater Good Friday Gas Giveaway,” Williams said.
Community members hoping for a shot at the free gas will have to make sure that they are among the first 250 people to show up at the gas stations.
“We plan to service 250 people and we have two different gas stations that they give the gas away, so once we reach the amount that we expect to giveaway then unfortunately we just have to turn some people away,” she said.
Williams explained that if people miss out on the free gas, the church will also be offering prayers and an invitation to join them at Greater St. Stephen Baptist for worship on Easter Sunday.
“We’re there and we witness to them. If they want prayer we offer prayer and we invite them to celebrate with us on Easter Sunday,” she said.
When the church first held the event which was the brainchild of Senior Pastor Debra B. Morton last year, Williams said they were able to invite many people to church and about 20 percent of them showed up for church on Sunday.
“I would say maybe 20 percent [showed up],” she said. “We give them cards and we ask them to bring the cards and we have a small reception planned for them, those who show up.”
Beginning next Wednesday as well, Williams said the church will kick off a more traditional Easter event in which they will host early morning services from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. until Good Friday.
“We call it a Holy Week Symposium service that starts on Wednesday morning. We’ve been doing it for like 50 some odd years. It’s a one hour service on Wednesday, Thursday and Good Friday morning. And that is just overwhelming, so many people come,” Williams said. “They look forward to it because it’s something that we’ve done traditionally.”
For the gas giveaway, Williams said Morton wants the community to know that the church cares. She explained that the church conducts other types of community outreach like feeding the hungry and providing clothes to those who are in need but “we just thought that the gas would be something that people needed [at this time].”
For this Easter, Williams added, Greater St. Stephen is promoting the theme, “Jesus, the Cross: The Salvation factor.”
“We just all want people to know that Jesus Christ died and He was crucified and He was risen so that we can all have a better life,” she ended.