Profiles in Faith: Desperation Church kicks off Passion Week with community meal at just the right time


On concrete pavement still marked by thousands of large hail strikes, a volunteer invites shoppers at the south Wal-Mart to enjoy free lunch provided by Desperation Church on Saturday. / W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – In the wake of this past week’s weather disaster, it would be a blessing to have one less thing to spend money on at the store, to get a free lunch with hot food fresh off the grill, or just to spend a few minutes among smiling faces and encouraging words.  On Saturday, all three were available in one stop, as Desperation Church kicked off Passion Week with a free lunch in the parking lot at the southside Wal-Mart in Cullman. They didn’t come out in response to the disaster; they were planning to be there anyway. It just turned out that they got the chance to feed a bunch of storm victims and recovery workers- a happy coincidence that some might even call providential.

“Honestly, we’re just loving our community,” said Desperation Kids’ Pastor Adam Whitley.  “That’s what we’re about. Our Pastor, Pastor Andy (Heis), his heartbeat is to serve the communities that we have churches in, and, honestly, outreach is always going to be his number one priority.

“And so we’re just here loving everybody. We’re giving them free lunch–hamburgers, chips–and just letting them know that God loves them. That’s where it’s at.”

To begin the observance known as Passion Week, which memorializes the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, leading up to the celebration of Easter Sunday, Desperation Church is taking on community service projects around each of its three campus locations: Cullman, Jasper and Arab.  

On its website, the church said: “At Desperation Church, we are passionate about seeing the need and being the answer. Throughout the year, we strive to meet needs in our local communities. The week leading up to Easter is called Passion Week, in which we focus each day on loving the community and meeting the needs of the people. This is an awesome opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ in a real and tangible way!”

Service projects include lunches, block parties, renovation of teachers’ lounges at selected schools, handyman projects at the homes of widows, mentoring at elementary schools, community cleanup and Easter egg dyeing parties at multiple locations including Cullman’s Margaret Jean Jones Center.  During the week, Desperation plans to send volunteers to help out around Cullman at the Good Samaritan Health Clinic, The Link of Cullman County, Recovering Women Outreach and The Grace Place.

Said Whitley, “Our heartbeat is to, honestly, just rebuild, revive and restore.  That’s one of those cheesy taglines that I think everybody always hears, but for us, we want to–the communities that we are a part of–we want to revive them, we want to rebuild them, we want to restore them.  And we want to pour into the people of the communities, and we want them to be able to experience everything from the presence of God to just healthy relationships, to freedom from anything they’re dealing with and struggling with. That’s pretty much where we’re at.”

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