The mission of Resonate Church is to connect the Gospel to people, people to community, and community to mission. On Halloween, Resonate seeks to connect the Gospel to people on the campuses of Washington State University and the University of Idaho through an event called Frat Cakes.

Every October on each campus, students gather together to flip and hand out pancakes from 10pm to 2am as students pass by on the way to various parties. The heart behind Frat Cakes is much more than passing out free food to strangers, however. Its purpose is to engage people where they are, let them know we care, and by meeting tangible needs, display the love of a God who first loved us.

Sometimes love looks like fried batter, butter, and syrup. Sometimes the combination of those three little things leads to a conversation with a stranger about God, who is the Creator of love and joy and all wonderful things, including pancakes. Sometimes, one of those strangers is a man named Cullen.

Like many others, Cullen was intrigued by the offer of free pancakes with no strings attached. When he began to chat with me and my friend Alyssa, he asked questions about who we were and why we were spending our Halloween this way.  When we told him that we were part of a church, he initiated spiritual conversation covering topics from love to satisfaction to absolute truth. 

Cullen is intelligent and philosophical and a professed atheist. He asked hard, but thoughtful questions. Although Cullen was incredibly engaged in our conversation, his friends were ready to move on to their next destination, so he thanked us for our time and pancakes and went on his way. 

Alyssa and I left the conversation feeling unsure, but hopeful that what was said made sense and landed somewhere in Cullen’s heart with purpose.

As the night was drawing to close, a familiar costume and face strolled back to the corner where we were gathered. Cullen told us that as he was out with his friends he kept feeling drawn to come back. He wanted to continue the conversation from earlier in the evening. He appreciated that we were able to have an intelligent conversation with him and rationally, logically explain what we believed about God and Jesus and why.

He asked us more about Resonate, so we told him about Sunday nights. But we spent most of our time explaining that our church also meets in homes every week to discuss and ask questions about what it means to follow Jesus with your life.  Cullen admitted that, though he didn’t know why, he was feeling drawn to check it out sometime soon.

On Sunday, November 11, Cullen came to Resonate for the first time. He said it was kind of weird, but he was intrigued and wants to come back again.

Handing out pancakes can seem meaningless, but Cullen’s story is a reminder that everything in life has purpose. Frat Cakes is a beautiful picture of loving our neighbors extravagantly and excessively as Christ loves us, because that love is what changes lives.