I was thinking about a time that I took a group of people to a church in Atlanta. They seek to meet the needs of the poor and the desperate and the homeless in a way that most churches would never. You see it is easy for our churches to go to the inner city and feed the homeless, it is a little harder to actually set up lunches and make hot meals and serve the homeless, but it is very radical to invite the homeless into our Sunday Mornings and our church service and invest in their lives on a permanent basis. Well, this church in Atlanta did this.
On Saturday we got to see the city of Atlanta from the perspective of how a homeless person views it. We ministered to over 150 kids from the projects across the street with a Kid’s Jam and rode on buses to pick them up and take them home. My heart broke as we rode with them on the bus and realized that they all were getting ready to be kicked out of their homes so that they could build homes that were for higher income levels. After we were on the bus for a while some of my students called to me and told me that there was a boy who missed his stop. I went to him and asked him to come up front with me so I could tell Pastor Mel where he lived. He came up front and I asked his name and he told me. I could tell he was young and seemed a little scared. I told him that I was glad he didn’t get off the bus yet so we could hang out for a few more minutes together. I looked at him and asked him how old he was. He held up his hand with just 2 fingers and said he was 2 years old. He told me he would be 3 in Nov. This 2 year old boy had no one that was watching him, no older brother or sister or friend that was with him and didn’t even know if there was someone at his house. My heart broke as I realized that there was a 2 year old boy out there that had to grow up faster than he ever wanted.
My perspective changed as it always does when you take time to see life from people who are desperate and hurting. How often are we so afraid to do ministry in a way that invites the hurting and the desperate? How often are we afraid to do more than just go serve a hot meal at a homeless shelter? Are we willing to actually live in such a way that our lives invest in those who are hurting? I pray that our churches will move from feeding people and helping the hurting at the back door and start investing in them and moving them into the front of our churches. Let our people see that there is so much more to our lives than feeling comfortable. It is about doing the ministry of Christ for the Glory of God. Are we willing to get dirty and touch the untouchable?
This reminds me of the parable where there was a man with Leprosy that stood outside the gates and was calling out for Jesus. Someone with Leprosy couldn’t be touched and had to yell out all day to people and let them know that they had leprosy so that people would stay away from them. Someone with Leprosy usually didn’t have anyone every touch them and I would say one of the hardest parts about being a leper was there was no human touch. Well, on this day, he heard that Jesus was near and so he was calling out for Him. Jesus came to him and he asked Jesus if he would make him clean. Jesus did the unthinkable, he reached down and he touched him. He told him that he would be made clean and the man was healed. You see Jesus did the unthinkable, the radical! He touched the unclean. Are our ministries filled with students who are good kids? Are our churches filled with people who are the popular and the accepted or are we teaching and equipping our people to get into their schools, place of work, neighborhoods and get a little dirty? Are we teaching them to seek out the desperate and the hurting? Are we teaching our people to love the unloved? I would say if we did we would see our churches full of the desperate who have found hope. I challenge each one of us to take time to invest in the unloved and let’s do the ministry of Christ.
Here are 2 ministries I recommend:
Compassion International – Sponsor a child and change their life forever.
American Leprosy Missions – Motivated by Christ’s love, American Leprosy Missions works in some of the world’s poorest places to bring healing and hope to some of the world’s most marginalized people.
Seek to connect with ministries in your community that are reaching the poor, homeless, and unloved.