Ask Pastor Rudy
Dear Pastor Rudy,
My church is involved in mission work around the world, but every day I pass a homeless man on the corner near my job and wonder if there is anything I can do to help. Can you offer some suggestions?
A Concerned Believer
Dear Concerned Believer,
First of all, thank you for caring. When Jesus walked on earth, He taught about the kingdom while He healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, and fed the hungry. Today, we are called to meet the physical and spiritual needs of people – all the people – in our communities. In fact, hurting and hungry people won’t believe we care if they hear only our words but don’t see our actions to provide tangible help for them. Here are a few things to consider as you take kingdom steps toward the poorest in your community.
Common sense: When helping defeated and desperate people, be aware of your surroundings and consider developing a group from our church to help you approach the need. There are solidarity and safety in numbers.
Collaboration: Local government and non-profit agencies offer a wide variety of resources for hungry and homeless people, such as mental health services, clothing, food, and legal assistance. Discover the help that’s available and team with agencies that can assist your efforts. Enlist them to train your volunteers, and ask for their advice as you clarify your strategy for your outreach efforts.
Commitment: Look for people, agencies, and corporate partners who will join you for the long haul in this ministry. People on the street need to see familiar faces on a regular basis so they can believe that you truly care about them. As they see you and your team as consistent and reliable, you’ll earn their respect. At that point, they might listen to your message of hope and forgiveness.
If God leads you to take on the challenge, enlist the support of your church’s leadership, build your team, and take action to touch the lives of “the least of these.” It will be one of the most fulfilling things you’ve ever done. If the time isn’t right for you to take group action, simply pray for the homeless, smile, and make eye contact when you see them. Restoring a person’s humanity is simple work.