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Doug & Peggy Vagle | The Waters Church

One of the core values of the Waters Church in Sartell is authentic community, and Pastor Doug and Peggy Vagle model it from the top down. Since the beginning of the church, they have invited newcomers to a dinner called “The Entry” that they host in their own home. It’s been over ten years since the church was planted and they have now shared a meal at the Vagle residence with over 3,000 people.

This intentionality to connect personally with their community is also reflected in the ministries and events of The Waters. Another part of their vision states, “Families are our passion. Kids are our priority.” They invest in next generation ministries and focus much of their outreach toward families throughout the year. They hosted their annual Walk Through Christmas event during this past holiday season which featured the Grinch and Who-ville sets. They recently had a Family Nerf War night and also had 75 couples attend a marriage conference.

Another one of those events took place last month following the Sartell Summerfest weekend events. Seeing so many great women’s events at the Waters Church in Sartell inspired the men of the pastoral team to come up with an event geared toward men. The idea was centered around the one thing almost every man loves: meat.

They called it “The Meating,” and the plan was to cook a ton of meat – literally 2,000 pounds. It was a free event held in the church parking lot that was geared toward any guy age 15 or older and as Doug put it, “It’s not for our church. It’s for our community.”

There was no preaching or church service. It was simply a place for authentic community.

Leading up to the day they gathered meat from different connections in places like Long Prairie and Elk River. A local Cash Wise was kind enough to store 1,250 pounds of meat in their commercial freezer. When June 9th arrived, they started early Sunday morning prepping the food and smoking 750 pounds of pulled pork to have ready for the 5:00pm start. Once the event began, it was non-stop grilling with fresh meat cooked every thirty minutes. They grilled 500 pounds of chicken, 1,000 all-beef hot dogs, and topped it off with 500 pounds of rib-eye steak.

As advertised, it was “Meat, Motors, Music, and Man Games.” Throughout the evening, a Smashing Pumpkins tribute band, Muzzle, cranked out music while attendees could check out the car show or bonfire. They also had eating contests and man games like Hammerschlagen.

When it was all said and done, it took about 100 volunteers and a whole lot of grills to pull it off. Nearly 1,000 guys consumed 1800 pounds of meat.

What motivates The Waters to consistently engage their community? Doug says, “We want to be known for generosity and for giving back.” They’re striving to make a difference in Sartell and a significant impact for the kingdom of God while keeping their church values front and center. “People matter to God. Even if they don’t know it yet.”