This past week on social media our church was implicated in aiding in vagrant activity by caring for the homeless. What I, Pastor Joe, have been reminded of is the simple truth that most people want problems to go away or not be seen. Being apart of Christ means we do what Christ did. Who were his friends? Who did he invest in?
During my bible reading I notice that Jesus was accused of hanging out with sinners and prostitutes. He was accused of hanging out with the unloveable and the messy. And in those moments Jesus was loving. In response to those implications on social media God allowed me to share what we are attempting to do, which is love people and serve our community without expecting anything in return.
People are messy, and I mean all of us. We all have our baggage and idiosyncrasies. We all are made in God’s image. God is faithful to bless those who carry out the mission of Jesus in faith. So in faith, our church is loving on men and women who have fallen on hard times. We are allowing them to sleep on the church grounds under strict rules. We are putting some of them to work. We are getting to know them daily. We are able to have them join us for meals and worship. And you know what…God is working miracles in our midst.
First, the money some of these men have earned through their work has been given during the offering. I saw a grown man tear up at the sight of one of the dear homeless brothers giving a portion of what he had earned as the plate was passed.
Second, all of them are invited and most attend bible study. On Monday nights, Chris Teague and his small group are investing in these men and women to see that they hear and learn the gospel. Not only this, but on Sunday mornings bible studies are seeing the love we show and the acceptance we give lead to growth in our classes.
Third, city council members are reaching out to our church to see what it is that can be done to help alleviate the poverty that these sweet people find themselves in. Please be in prayer for the city council meeting on May 14th as I will be presenting what God is doing through this church with the homeless God has brought to our doorstep.
I don’t know where this will lead and I don’t know how hard it will get, but what I do know is the journey is worth it. Our church loving like Jesus did and getting messy like Jesus did is what being a follower of Jesus is all about.