Homeless Ministry: On This Side of the Pond
In our “almost” monthly updates, we’ve brought to life stories of life-change that God is accomplishing around the world (out there…) through our partnerships with you. Today I want to share with you the life changing work God is doing on “this side of the pond!” We like to say Jesus wants us to blossom here, there, and everywhere, quoting Acts 1:8. God has amazed us in what He has brought about right before our eyes, here!
One of my friends sent me an hour long video entitled, “Seattle is Dying.” It was difficult to sit through both because of its length but more so due to the stark reality of its content: homelessness, drugs, and a deteriorating society all happening right before our eyes. It was disturbing to me and Dorie as we viewed it last Sunday, parked and overlooking the ocean in Pismo Beach, drinking our coffees, due to being “early” for our church service that morning. Our thoughts went from Seattle to our little own town facing the same issues and the reality of drugs and the homelessness they continue to bring into a disturbingly larger percentage of our population.
As followers of Jesus, how do we address this? There are different options:
• Ignore it (as if it will go away).
• Give out one-way tickets to Arizona (they love us for that).
• Get on the cases of our city council (as if it’s solely their problem).
• Ask local churches to address the issue (but many are too busy keeping their numbers up).
How does Global Sharing address this?
In 2003, I gathered a team to start Celebrate Recovery, a Christian 12-step addiction program that introduces Jesus into the equation of lives gone wrong. In 2015, several brave souls started Tunnel Vision: an early Sunday AM attempt to connect the homeless with a cup of coffee, a hot breakfast burrito (thank you Scott Lipscomb), and a huge heart of love. No one would have ever dreamed we’d be where this ministry is today. During our first days, policemen would drive up and say we were wasting our time. We’d respond, “But if just one of these folks gets turned right side up in life, your job would be easier, wouldn’t it?” Reluctantly, they had to concede. Today, they support, recommend, and give us a thumbs up sign as they drive by, seeing typically 10 ministry workers and about the same number of homeless. And lives are being changed too. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to see a life transformed by Jesus before your very eyes.
Several weeks ago five of us went to visit our homeless friend Neil who’d been hit by a car and was now paralyzed from the waist down. He had been transferred to Southern California to recover from the accident. More satisfying than the look in his surprised eyes when we showed up was seeing the three men, themselves transformed by Christ and off our streets, ministering to a dear brother whom they’ve come to love. Only through the powerful love of Jesus!
It’s all about raw ministry: pizza, drugs, alcohol, anger, deception, love, belonging, laughter, Spirit sensitivity, more pizza, transparency, crying, simple prayers, genuine worship, did I mention pizza? Everyone discovering God for themselves and what He is saying to them through the Word. This is our Thursday nights called “The Gathering.” I believe it is one of the closest examples of Jesus’ description of His Church. It is such a joy to do it with many of YOU. Thank you.
Global Sharing is:
Challenging God’s people
to Connect with God’s Plan
to Change God’s World
I like that. A lot of God, a little of us! He’s doing it through us, together!
Come check us out on a Thursday, 6:00pm, The Gathering, at the Global Sharing Office, 5850 El Camino Real, Atascadero.
Come check us out on a Sunday between 6:00-8:00am, The Tunnel Vision Ministry, at the Atascadero Sunken Gardens.
If you’d like to help with the costs of this outreach click here.
Again, thank you for your partnership in these things. We could not do what we do without you, and God is using you in mighty ways to change the world…around the globe and right here at home too.