Jesus Dogs: Behind the Scenes

Did someone say free hot dogs?

Located in a prime position to reach students, members from His House church have a home on the corner of Main and Bellows Streets where they serve free hot dogs, which have affectionately been known as  “Jesus Dogs” each weekend. Since it’s known that college students have a small budget and a large appetite, this act of kindness doesn’t go unnoticed.

The ministry doesn’t seem to be gaining any tangible benefits, so what is their motivation?

Their answer is a humble one.

“We do the hot dog ministry as a way to give back to the community and connect with students on campus,” said group leader and Spring Lake senior Shelby Shafer. “We chose to do this through hot dogs, because who doesn’t like free food?”

Based on student reactions, His House has found that this technique has proven to be a successful way to connect. During Welcome Weekend this year, more than 950 hot dogs were given out during a mere three hour time period.

This weekend operation is run by members of the His House ministry, but could not survive without help from members of the student population, like Midland senior Matt Meyer.

“We serve these hot dogs each weekend because we believe in creatively reaching the emerging generation to encourage them to become active followers of Jesus,” Meyer said. “For some, this is the gateway to that – and is much less intimidating than coming to church.”

Behind the scenes, a Bible study takes place prior to serving the hot dogs, where the ministry prays for the community. Shafer said the group has a great appreciation for CMU’s campus and prays that their efforts will positively impact students.

“We serve the hot dogs as a way to show Christ’s love for our campus through this simple act of kindness and giving back,” Shafer said.

With all that free food going around, who foots the bill?

The Saturday meals are funded through His House church as a part of their community outreach. Being that the operation is almost entirely student-run, the ministry is able to connect to CMU students on a personal level using something that everyone loves – food.

On Welcome Weekend, over 950 hot dogs were given out in less than three hours. (Photo | Andrea Henk)
Over Welcome Weekend, more than 950 hot dogs were given out in less than three hours. (Photo | Andrea Henk)