Kudus to Dave Black for linking to this article on meaningful relationships with the homeless.
We don’t just give them a meal, tell them Jesus loves them and then get out of there,” said sophomore music education major Andy Peeler about the first phase. “We sit down with them, talk with them, and develop relationships.”…
And according to senior computer science major Kevin Chin, the director of Brown Bag Ministry, a lot of the homeless already claim to be Christians. He explains that the homeless hear the gospel message multiple times per day, and although this is powerful and important, Brown Bag does ministry differently.
“We do it from a relational perspective,” Chin said. “We ask how they’re doing or how God is providing in their life, and their defences come down.
I have experienced what it is like to be homeless, living out the back of my car for 6 weeks, and yes, I too was a Christian at the time. Since that time, I become a chaplain, and did my internship at a men’s homeless shelter. Now my wife is doing her chaplaincy course and is doing her internship with Hope Street which is an inner Sydney urban ministry, similar to the one in the article. Time to time I will travel with my wife into the city, and sit in the cafe and talk with the local residents about life. Sometimes, we will talk about the gospel, but most of the time is spent building relationships and hearing their story.
18 months ago, while on our honeymoon in Melbourne, we passed a couple of times, what appeared to be a homeless woman, begging on the street. Each time, we passed, I had no money in my pocket to give to her and so walked by. I became convicted and prayed, God, I repent, what would you have me do, what do you want me to do? And I felt the Spirit of God whisper into my heart, Sit and talk with her, hear her story!
I was never to see her again. But since then, I have always been willing to sit beside any homeless person in my travels, and hear their story. For many, their story is the only thing that they have. And within this framework, the reality is, all ministry needs to be relational ministry. For our God is a relational Father, Christ ministered within the context of relationships, and the Holy Spirit continues his work in us, through us and over us, within the framework relationships between God, ourselves and each other.