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God is Festival's most essential ingredient

The recipe for the Broyhill Home “Cookin’ for the Kids” Barbecue Festival is one of success. The annual event, which brings together teams who cook their special pork, chicken and beef brisket secret recipes, marked its tenth anniversary on May 13.

However, the most important ingredient to the festival’s longevity is no secret to members of Ninevah Baptist Church in Waynesville who organize the annual fundraiser. From the beginning, they put God at the center of the event.

“I was taught to learn what gifts God has given you and then use them,” says Mike Leslie, pastor at Ninevah. “One of our church’s skills is cooking, and we enjoy doing it.”

The festival benefits Broyhill Home, Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) campus in the mountains near Clyde. It is held on the Broyhill Home grounds inviting the community to see the ministry up close. It was inspired by Ninevah church member Larry Inman who approached Leslie about the idea.

“We wanted an event that would bring churches and others to Broyhill,” Leslie explains. “We felt like if they came it would encourage them to be more involved year round.”

That involvement at the festival has extended beyond the barbecue cook off. The event has a car/truck/motorcycle show, 3-D bow shoot, live Gospel musicians, and a variety of vendors.

The festival is unique in that it is one of the few BCH events that is entirely volunteer driven. Church volunteers and event sponsors make the annual festival possible.

“This group has taken it upon themselves to do the work and pull the community together to raise funds for Broyhill,” says Linda Morgan, BCH Statewide Director, Child/Residential Services as well as the director of Broyhill Home. “It’s a high and holy moment when you stand at the top of the campus hill and see all the people coming in and knowing it’s all for the kids.”

“Part of what we first envisioned was serving Broyhill Home in a way that they could enjoy without any burden,” Leslie says.“They have enough pressure every day. We wanted to be the ones to do the work.”

And that work has paid off. Throughout the decade, Leslie and his church have seen the event grow. “We didn’t know what would happen when we started, but what we did know is that if it was a God thing then He would take care of it. We saw God in it when we cleared more than $10,000 that first year.”

This year, Leslie, Inman and other volunteers presented Morgan with a check for $26,032.26.

The Barbecue Festival shows no signs of slowing down even after reaching the decade mark. If anything, Leslie and the members of Ninevah are more determined to keep the momentum going.

“We want to continue on and see it grow,” says Leslie.“I tell my church every year to serve at the festival like it’s the last one – like the rapture is about to happen.”

Learn more about the Broyhill BBQ Festival by visiting

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