SUGAR HILL — Who in the whole wide world doesn’t like to sink his/her teeth into a sweet, succulent, scrumptious fudge brownie? From cake brownies, caramel brownies, cheesecake brownies, peanut butter brownies, fudge nut brownies, ultimate double chocolate brownies to chocolate dipped brownies there is almost nothing to satisfy one’s sweet tooth like a savory, luscious, mouth-watering brownie.
Consequently, one effective way to win friends and influence people is to make brownies and deliver them directly to one’s front door. That is precisely what Louie and Phyllis Grizzle have been doing for years at Sugar Hill Church. Furthermore, their “love ‘em with brownies” operation has produced some fairly significant results.
The Grizzles started their ministry under the pastorate of Lex Bowen, current associational missionary of Sarepta Baptist Association. Bowen was the Sugar Hill pastor in the early 1990s when the members of the church council were trying to decide how to connect with the 30 families a month that were moving into the area.
Bowen stated that he had read of a church in New England that would take pies to the new families that moved into the community. The church council concluded that 30 pies a month was a bit too ambitious a challenge for their church at that time.
“The next morning,” Bowen recalled, “Phyllis Grizzle stuck her head in my office and said, ‘Brother Lex, you know that pie thing that you were talking about yesterday?’ I said, ‘yes.’ She said, ‘I have figured it out. We are not going to do pies. We are going to do brownies.’
“Phyllis was a retired home economics teacher and Louie was a retired principal. He also retired from a second career as a mail carrier. She started baking brownies and Louie delivered them and welcomed people into the community.”
Through the years – 15 of them – the Grizzles have continued their ministry in Sugar Hill and continue even to the present day. Louie is almost 87 years old and Phyllis is 82.
Phyllis explained, “Louie would go to the city hall and get a list of the newcomers each month. In the beginning I would bake the brownies and he would deliver them. Now, we generally have 80-90 new families move into the area each month, but we have had as many as 180 in a month. Consequently, Louie has to have some help with the delivering of the brownies, but I still do the cooking.
“Louie figures out the logistics for the delivery process and has it all beautifully organized. Some months he has up to 15 people help with the deliveries. The people who assist him come by our house and pick up the brownies or Louie delivers them to the homes of those who help him with the distribution process. However, Louie always delivers more than anyone else. The others may be able to find all the newcomers they are to visit in one subdivision, but Louie goes all over town to make deliveries to those scattered from one side of town to the other.”
“The brownies are delivered to Jews, Catholics, Methodists, or whoever gets their gas turned on. Louie tells them where to find whatever church they identify as their preference, but they know the brownies are from First Baptist Church of Sugar Hill. Those who deliver the brownies share the Gospel whenever they are permitted to do so.
“Louie has the gift of evangelism and loves to share the Gospel. Those who deliver the brownies take a brochure with the Gospel presented in both English and Spanish. Through this ministry we have had many people pray to receive Christ right in their homes.”
Since 1991 Phyllis has baked 150,000 brownies to be delivered to the newcomers to Sugar Hill. The brownies are boxed into attractive containers that hold six brownies, which means that 25,000 homes have been blessed with loving neighbors from First Baptist Sugar Hill bearing gifts – delectable gifts, delightful gifts, desirable gifts.
Lex Bowen remembered, “When I celebrated my 10th anniversary, the question was asked in the morning service, ‘How many of you first heard of our church through the brownies?’ I think 3/4 of the people raised their hands.
Phyllis added, “Through the years I have worn out four stoves and three mixers, but it has all been worth it. My last mixer kept getting hung up on one speed, so I figured it was time to buy another one, but I decided to call the company that manufactured the product and order a new mixer. When I told them about the problem I had encountered with the mixer I was told that the defect could create a health hazard and they sent me a brand new mixer free of any charge. That was a God-thing.
In fact, the whole story of the Grizzle’s selfless and creative ministry is a God-thing.