I loved that movie with Mandy Moore about a terminally ill preacher’s daughter who tutored a rebellious peer. Both lives (and many other lives) are changed as they learn to see outside their own problems. It takes loving each other to gain that perspective.
Periodically our church hosts a Project Homeless Connect event. Nothing heroic or unusual here, but pretty cool nonetheless. The church simply provides the place and partners with a specialized ministry to the homeless that can help us organize an expo of resources for them. We have everything from clean underwear and dry socks to the state documents they will need to get a job. They are “connected” to the immediate resources they need for health (medical and dental). They receive gifts for their encouragement (free haircuts from top-end stylists) and necessities such as backpacks and tents, along with group home options, employment information, etc.
As a pastor I, of course, love to see the needy filled (we also have a hot meal on site) and clothed, especially when I don’t have to run it. But that is not the best part. You see, every homeless person is paired up with someone from our congregation. There are literally hundreds of church people who walk with those who may be a bit intimidated (the resources can seem overwhelming) or embarrassed (many are recently homeless for the first time). As a pastor, that walk is the most important part of the distribution process. Resources without relationship are just stuff. Receiving without being respected, listened to, and laughed with just results in more to lug around.
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