When people encountered Jesus, they often went away changed, usually in more ways than one. Certainly there were the spiritual changes when Jesus was teaching and ministering. Yet, often Jesus’s ministry was material—it revolved around physical needs and tangible objects

So it is with the warehouse ministry, Agape West, at Wesley United Methodist Church in Union City, IN.

Wesley UMC partners with Agape Distribution out of Sidney, Ohio, to source merchandise to meet the needs of people. The distribution center has a gamut of corporate sponsors like Amazon, Pottery Barn, Target, etc. Non-profit partners, like Wesley, pay a yearly $100 partnership fee which allows their organization to “shop” with Agape Distribution. The goods are donated, and Agape West simply pays for shipping to their warehouse in Union City.

Each month, Wesley UMC receives two semi-truck loads with overstock and returned items which are then distributed to bless and serve others. 

Ten years ago, Local Pastor Geoff Grow felt moved to start a warehouse ministry. He had even tried to buy a warehouse, but the deal kept falling through. The plan was set aside until more recently when the Union City Mayor approached Wesley UMC about starting a daycare. They were left with half of a building that needed a purpose. Around that same time, Pastor Geoff reconnected with John Geissler of Agape Distribution

In what Pastor Geoff describes as “what could only be God’s work,” John approached him about starting a warehouse ministry. John said to Pastor Geoff, “We’d like to bless your ministry and give you the first ten semi-loads of goods for free.” On top of that, through the end of 2021, when Agape West buys a truckload, Agape Distribution pays for the next, which will total nearly $3 million dollars. 

“When it was time,” said Pastor Geoff, “God just opened up the floodgates.”

Shopping with Agape West is akin to finding the clearance rack on the best day—items are usually 80% off retail price. The 20% charge covers the “shared access cost” of shipping and administrative expenditures. 

Wesley UMC uses revenue generated by Agape West to fund ministries in and around the local community and beyond. In their six months of operation, proceeds have funded missionaries to Pakistan and Haiti, contributed to clean water projects in Honduras, and purchased 20,000 masks for local schools. 

While some may claim that “stuff is just stuff,” the items received through Agape West at Wesley UMC are a tangible reminder of God’s love and provision. 

When they received 10 pallets of brand new Eddie Bauer coats that retailed for $250-$350 each, Wesley UMC connected with another local church in town that does a coat drive. Many of the elementary and middle school children in the community received new winter coats as a result. One mother shared with Pastor Geoff how meaningful it was for her to give her child a new coat for the first time. 

When they received 150 brand new Nike football gloves, Wesley UMC took the opportunity to minister to the high school football team. “We invited the team to service to sow a seed of the Gospel message into their life. When they left, they got a pair of Nike football gloves.”

Pastor Geoff said, “God says He will give seed to the sower. Well, God has given us the seed, and we are sowing it. It’s amazing to see the congregation dream the dreams of God. This whole thing has opened us up to endless possibilities.”

Are you interested in seeing if a warehouse ministry might fit your congregation and community? Reach out to Pastor Geoff Grow at geoff.grow@inumc.org.