MT. COMFORT — While it’s often a finale to a meal, at Mt. Comfort Church, dessert is just the beginning.

Each February, people of the church lug crocks of chili and soup, and plenty of tantalizing treats, into the church’s Mt. Comfort campus for an annual chili cookoff and dessert auction. Cookies, cakes, cheesecake and more draw hefty bids from the cookoff crowd.

Each summer, those funds send the church’s youth group on a mission work trip, where they spend a week serving others, stretching themselves and building a deeper rapport with each other — all while looking for “God sightings,” moments where they see God at work. They share those stories with the congregation on a Sunday morning and thank them for fundraising to make the trip possible.

In July, a group of 16 youth and four adults from the church’s Lighthouse Student Ministry traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, where they worked in various non-profit settings. They cleaned stalls a horse farm offering therapy to children recovering from trauma. They taught crafts to children at a community center. They gave out boxes of food to people in need.

A similar trip is planned for this year, but to help make it happen, bakers of the church are hoping to whip up something desirable to the chili cookoff crowd. It’s not unusual for bidders to drop $200 or so on, say, a chocolate cake.

While people of the church recall some outstanding desserts over the years, bidders’ generosity is also prompted by their desire to support the youth trip and the church’s Joyful Days childcare and preschool.

“The Chili Supper & Dessert Auction is one of our favorite events of the year,” lead pastor Ethan Maple wrote in an email, “because it brings our congregation and community together in a fun and focused way to support our youth mission trip and highlight our Joyful Days childcare and preschool ministry.

“With 20-plus crocks of chili to taste, out-of-this-world homemade desserts to bid on, our Little Bakers bake-off, and door prizes throughout the evening, there’s something for everyone.”

Chili Supper & Dessert Auction

When: 5 p.m. Feb. 18

Where: Mt. Comfort Church (Mt. Comfort campus), 3179 N. County Road 600W, Greenfield

Why: Dessert auction bids are donations toward a youth mission trip and the church’s daycare and preschool

Featuring: 20+ crocks of chili, homemade desserts to bid on, kids’ bakeoff, door prizes