On Sunday, April 25, 70 families showed up to eat tacos and mingle with members of the church located in the suburbs of Chicago. | Photo credit: Ivy Rodriguez
“What’s the catch?” “Why are you doing this?” “No one does something like this without wanting something.”
The questions came from Bolingbrook residents who stood in disbelief that a church would rent a taco truck to provide free food to their community. This happened on Sunday, April 25 when 70 families showed up to eat tacos and socialize with members of the church located in the suburbs of Chicago.
The idea sprouted from Bolingbrook Church leaders sensing that God did not want them to simply go back to the pre-covid normal. Throughout the pandemic as they set out to reimagine what the next iteration of their church would look like, the phrase used among the staff and leaders has been, “How do we not waste this crisis?”
Bolingbrook’s Lead Pastor David Oceguera said that God reminded them that the church was not the building but the people. “We were convicted that God was not just wanting us to build a bigger, better church," he said, "but instead build better relationships with the people He placed among us.”
Initial conversations discussed what that would look like, with homes literally lining the perimeter of the campus. Plans were made to invite neighbors to a barbecue on the church lawn where they could play lawn games, enjoy really good food and organic conversations would happen.
Several weeks later, Oceguera said they felt God asking them to change plans. One of the sermons during this time explored the words of Jesus when he said, As the Father has sent me, so I send you (John 20:21, NRSV). “We realized that even though our barbecue idea was a good idea, that an even better idea was for us to go to the neighbors,” he explained. “By inviting them on to our campus we were still asking them to meet us on our terms, in our home. Instead, God was saying, 'Go to them.'”
This is when the idea of renting a taco truck and parking it in front of the clubhouse. Unfortunately, the homeowners’ association would not give permission to use their parking lot. The decision was then made to park the taco truck at the furthest end of the church’s lawn, which was 20 feet from the closest house.
The day before the event, members went door to door and dropped off flyers with a map of where the taco truck would be. Signs were made and placed in high visibility areas. The next day, members went out two by two, knocked on doors and invited residents to come eat tacos.
On a partly sunny, cool Sunday afternoon, the families arrived--some took the food and left but many stayed. As questions were asked about the reason for the free food, members simply reassured them, “We just want to be good neighbors and bless you. We hope this community is better off because we are here.”
David Oceguera with Herald staff