3 Simple Ideas for Street Ministry

Meal:

Take a meal to the streets.  I am not saying food distribution here; I am saying a meal (like a picnic) that you share with others, if they accept your invitation.

You have heard it said: Don’t give money; give a sandwich.  I am saying: Share the sandwich.

You might not find anyone to share it with.  Sometimes I don’t.  If that happens, take your meal to the corner of a busy intersection (think: 50 & Slide, Ave Q & Broadway, 82nd & Quaker) – somewhere a picnic normally does not belong and yet is highly visible to the public.  Then sit down on the curb, offer a prayer of thanks, and eat.

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You will wonder why you are doing that.  So will the public that sees you.  Some will mistake you for homeless and give you money.  Some will mistake you for homeless and sneer.  Most will not notice.  But you will have walked a mile in the shoes of Jesus.  You will see Lubbock in a different light.  You will have a new insight to share with the poor.

Cigarette:

Take a pack of cigarettes to the streets.  Find people in parks, street corners, behind dumpsters etc., and give them a smoke.  You will make a lot of smiles happen.  You will break the ice between yourself and the poor.  You will find that more than 85% of the time, someone will go eat that meal with you after you do this.

Worship:

While you are sharing the meal with someone you gave a cigarette to, ask if they will pray too.  Lead them in The Lord’s Prayer.  Sing the first verse of Amazing Grace (everyone knows the first verse!) or sing Jesus Loves Me.  Share a bit of cracker and grape juice in thanksgiving for the body and blood of Jesus our Savior.

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Then you have communed with Jesus on the streets of Lubbock.

Go home.  You are done.  The whole ministry outing only cost you $10 if you are frugal.  It will be seen in Heaven and remembered on Judgment Day.  No one can convince you that your Helping Hurt.  It is all good.

….

Alley Jesus

….

Easter Tent City II

….but your imagination is now expanded beyond the borders you ever thought possible…

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and you will find yourself wanting to go back and do it again and again and again…

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8 comments

  1. lisaostreim · November 8, 2016

    I really love the idea of sharing a meal. Honestly, I’m having a hard time with the idea of buying cigarettes and offering a cigarette to someone. Can you help me understand that better?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · November 8, 2016

      Thanx for responding!

      Yes. I love the meal idea too. I see it as central to relating with others, to ordering the world (for after all, who you eat with says a lot about how you order your world), and central to worship. Jesus instituted “the Lord’s Supper” at the upper room during Passover (another worship feast) and intends his disciples to share it still. Taking this meal to the beggars, bums, and prophets of the streets illuminates God among the poor (see Matt. 25:40) and elevates/esteems them too.

      The cigarette … I am not sure what is hard about understanding that. Homeless people with RARE exception smoke and crave cigarettes. When you want to approach strangers you don’t already know it is good to have an ice-breaker and cigarettes definitely do that!

      I just discovered a post that analyses the idea at length and I was thinking about reblogging it. Your question prompts me to do that. In the meantime, here is the link:

      https://jonathanturley.org/2016/10/08/learn-empathy-for-the-homeless-give-them-cigarettes/comment-page-2/#comment-1561739

      I hope this clears things up for you. If not, please ask again and discuss it further.

      Tnanx again for reading and responding.

      X

      Liked by 1 person

      • lisaostreim · November 8, 2016

        I’ll read it soon. Thank you. I guess what’s hard for me is it seems to be supporting a very destructive habit. I understand the idea of having an ice breaker. Is offering food an effective ice breaker?

        Liked by 1 person

      • lisaostreim · November 8, 2016

        Ok, I couldn’t wait to read it. I’m pretty naive. Thank you for sending that link. It makes sense. I’m not sure I could hand out cigarettes when with my young impressionable daughters. I’ll pray about that. What really struck me was thinking about homeless people making the choice between other basic needs or buying cigarettes which they are going to smoke anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · November 8, 2016

        Yes, Ma’am. Read it when you can. I think it will give a lot to think about. I will not say I would have wrote it, but it does lend itself to similar thoughts I would offer and expands some I probably would not have.

        As for supporting destructive habits… I reckon it does support such habits. But then I am a staunch supporter of the idea of giving money to the poor who often misuse it for destructive habits. I cannot stop that, nor is it my problem.

        When it comes to smoking, this is an activity MOST of these folks already do, and they will do it with or without my help. (The link explores other facets of that same line of thinking worth considering.) However, the value in ice-breaking is tremendous! I believe the benefit far outweighs the damage of which my support is miniscule at most. Sharing the cigarette is a matter of “meeting people where they are…” as we say. But it also puts me on a more equal footing rather than a top down, let-me-tell-you-how-to-live mentality. Basically, it shows respect and does so in a language that is easily understood.

        Since the concern is contributing to destructive habits, let me direct you to Proverbs 31:6-7, which deals with wine and whiskey in just such terms. Applying the principle to cigarettes is not a big leap, I don’t think.

        That said, I would say there is NOTHING wrong with not doing it! And in fact, it really is only a way of making ice breaking easier and faster. If you are willing to put in the time and patience, you can work around it. I do all the time. I have ministered both ways, and they both work.

        In my view, it is the meal that is indispensable. The meal achieves the same goals and more really, just generally a little slower.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agent X · November 8, 2016

        Ms. Lisa,

        By way of replying to your responses yet again, but this time taking us back to the effect I desired when I wrote the post… I do not present the simple idea as a MUST DO ministry activity. It is optional. HOWEVER, I must say that IF you try it, I think you will be AMAZED at the response it gets! People will flock to you in droves. It has happened to me many times. Almost like feeding 5,000! Fishing with cigarettes for bait means fishing with nets as opposed to fishing with a pole!

        But no… it is not necessary.

        Like

  2. T. F. Thompson · August 9

    Bottled water is great on hot days like these as well. At any rate, going with empty hands is almost useless. Bringing a little joy to someone who doesn’t have much is splendid. Even something such as a candy bar is a real treat. And finally, don’t forget to invite them to your church for some special activity. Even you’re even more brave, then invite them to visit your home. For me, this is a source of outdoor barbques. But then again, I know everyone isn’t up to this.

    Like

  3. Kelly · August 25

    Wow…I never would have thought to do any of that. I love your faith and your ideas to reach out to those in need in a way that makes them feel supported not through handouts but through sharing .

    Liked by 1 person

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