|Pastor Jimmy Flanagan holding bottles of his Yulee BBQ Sauce. Source: Baptist Press|
Yulee BBQ sauce is not just “finger-licking-good,” it’s a ministry.
Created by Jimmy Flanagan, the pastor of Duval Station Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Flanagan uses the sauce and personal deliveries to neighbors and stores as a way of spreading the gospel.
Striking up conversations with customers, Flanagan explained, when individuals order Yulee BBQ Sauce, “They’re getting a chaplain and pastor.”
“I could knock on doors, do outreach programs, but when I go with the barbecue sauce, it totally opens everything up for ministry and witnessing,” Flanagan said, adding: “It’s not about me at all and it’s not about the sauce, it’s about people and it’s about Christ.”
Growing up in the rural Duval County community of Yulee, just north of Jacksonville, Flanagan credits his love of cooking to his parents. As a child, Flanagan assisted his father grilling in the smoker and the pit.
Since childhood, he dreamed about making his own barbeque sauce and as a teenage hobby began tinkering with recipes.
Flanagan remarked, “I prayed over every try. It was just a hobby for years.”
In 2007, Flanagan and his family returned to Yulee when he became the pastor of Duval Station Baptist, about 10 miles south of his hometown. After years of experimenting on his family perfecting his recipe, Flanagan felt he had finally landed a hit.
From 2007-2009, Flanagan served the sauce to neighbors and friends at local events and parties.
Concerned that his passion for cooking might lead him to a path outside of his pastoral vocation, Flanagan said, “I had prayed over every test batch and I realized that God gave it to me and that I should do all things to the glory of God.”
In 2016, Flanagan and a partner obtained the necessary licenses and began bottling their sauce, marketing it as Yulee BBQ Sauce.The sauce comes in three flavors: original, sweet, and hot. Additionally, the recipe is available as a rub.
During the first year, ten stores carried the sauce. Now Flanagan is bottling 600-800 containers of sauce every three months and selling them at more than 23 stores ranging from hardware stores to vegetable and meat markets.
Flanagan said, “I pray before I make every delivery, that God will have His will with communications and relationships.”
During one delivery, Flanagan noticed one of the cashiers was upset. Upon learning from the cashier that her supervisor’s spouse had passed away Flanagan prayed for the cashier, supervisor, and other store employees.
Crediting these ministry experiences to opportunities afforded by the bbq sauce, Flanagan hopes that as his business expands he will be able to reach more people not just with good barbeque sauce but with the love of Christ.
Source: Baptist Press