I have talked about the Business of Homelessness before – see here. It really disturbs me that the church doesn’t just do its ministry. Rather, the church (aka the Body of Christ) turns her ministry over to “non-profit” organizations which stand to make vast sums of money off the work they supposedly do for the poor.
This literally just came up in conversation for me a few minutes ago all over again. I visited with a homeless man selling papers down on the corner when I was pumping gas, and he described the state of yet another major, “non-profit,” para-church ministry in this town. He told of all the shake up going on, the contracts with other organizations and with the federal government. And I am seeing careers getting launched while my street friends languish.
I do not mean to suggest that a 501c3 is inherently evil, but I am saying “BEWARE!” There are nasty, ironic pitfalls down that path that no one wants to acknowledge. We need to get honest about them and confess our shortcomings. After all, if we are truly successful, then we should eventually work ourselves out of a job. But of course that is not a good business model.
Of course you could do like the premier homeless church and try to have it both ways. (I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret. It’s not really a church at all.)
Oh, sure, they post signs up on the property and on the website saying such. But when push comes to shove and my street friends are standing around in the cold and rain of night, the rhetoric moves from calling the place a “church” to calling it a “day center.”
Sorry, Peter. If you are still alive in the morning, Jesus will save you then!
Think about it.