Complications Not Covered In A Simple 27-Point Plan To Party With The Poor

I am quite aware that reaching out to the poor as a matter of outreach ministry is not simply a simple matter.  There are legitimate complexities and concerns that cannot just be overlooked and left unattended.  However, in pointing them out, I in no way suggest they are daunting complexities.  No.  As the old saying goes: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  How much more The Way when the Spirit of God empowers it?  Churches engage in far bigger complexities all the time!  So, let’s not blow this out of proportion.

And anyway, the single biggest hurdle to caring for the poor is our own contempt.  Let’s not be in denial about this.  Acknowledge and accept that we must get past our contempt and stop blowing complexities out of proportion as a way of hiding it behind a smokescreen of excuses.

That said, let us address a few complexities, at least in the broad strokes.

Right off, I am mindful that street homeless people in need of a warm, dry, safe place to crash for the night bring complications with them.  The first thing I note is that this will be an overnight ministry, which is unusual for most churches.  We will need to deploy night shift ministers!

I expect that at least one or two ministers will need to be trusted, responsible people in charge.  And getting someone like that to take on a night shift may be a challenge, however, I am sure that shepherds in The Lord’s Church are familiar with sacrifice, and hopefully will be willing to rotate a schedule.  But Lubbock hosts two Christian universities that educate hundreds of young people who stay up late regularly and who would love to join adventuresome ministry such as this.  I have not mentioned the major state university which also has hundreds of young Christian people who might well volunteer, and there is a local junior college too.  I expect that finding help chaperoning the homeless will be fairly simple.

I am certain that some churches are closer to homeless areas than others, and it may be difficult to attract them.  However, those youth group vans that haul our kids to all those ski trips can be used to round up homeless people just as well as take kids to ski trips.

People living on the streets and taking refuge in shelters (whether a church building or somewhere else) are apt to bring drugs, alcohol, and/or conflicts with them.  There will need to be a list of rules, though hopefully it is short, and someone with clout to inform and enforce.  Some real forethought is important along these lines.  But honestly, those lock-ins with the youth groups may or may not be more wild or less tame.

I think the bulk of the remainder of complexities have more to do with UNLEARNING actually.  Most people think that in order to offer ministry to the poor and homeless, it is important to give some sort of job training assistance, drug rehab, and a concern for showers.  And I don’t mean to suggest there is no value in such ministry, but neither is it all necessary.  Let us not smuggle this mentality into the Matthew 25 or Luke 14 directives.  We really can throw a party and take in a stranger AND THAT BE THE MINISTRY!  So, let us just focus on those matters for this proposal, and shed all the cumbersome concerns that go beyond that focus.

Basically, we will help these folx love Jesus and sense the love of Jesus for themselves rather than try to FIX them.  This is a goal we actually will achieve, and it will surprise you how often their lives will show signs of healing when we stop trying to FIX them and just love them “where they are at”, as we like to say.

Honestly, offering a warm, safe place to stay the night, where a celebration of Jesus (worship) involving a meal (cheap pizza), space on the floor to sleep, and a couple overseers, to make sure neither the sleepers nor their few belongings are molested, is actually not only adequate, but once experienced begins to open up hearts and minds to the love of God in surprising ways.  Grace at the Table of the Lord is not actually a new idea, but actually full of dynamite power that usually goes unnoticed.  Let me point out that in the famous story in Luke 24 about the encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, it comes to a climax when Jesus is revealed in the breaking of the bread!  Communion is powerful like that; try it sometime.

Please, let us discuss these complexities and discuss them along these lines.  I think you will find the Shalom you are seeking!

Advertisements

8 comments

  1. T. F. Thompson · 9 Days Ago

    Right on point. No, we don’t need to FIX everyone no more than we want others to FIX us. Your concerns are well illustrated and actually not complex at all. Now that you have your resolutions time to ram it home. All i can say is Good Luck. God Bless you, friend. Tom

    Liked by 1 person

  2. T. F. Thompson · 9 Days Ago

    Reblogged this on Hard Times Ministries and commented:
    AGENT X Brings out his 14 Points Peace Plan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Agent X · 9 Days Ago

    This comment sent in anonymously:

    Well said.

    Like

  4. clashofcashntrash · 9 Days Ago

    Like the old man in Cool Hand Luke said, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

    Your post is very well balanced, caring, and meaningful. Where is your church? Why are your class mates not responding to this? Are they still reading it? You had a big uptick in viewage a few months ago when that class was getting started. You refuted the garbage that ENABLES your church to keep its doors closed on Jesus in the name of “Shalom”. But not one of those cats responded to you. Instead, they go whining to the teacher and church leadership because they are upset with you for calling them out. Meanwhile the brand of Shalom they seek keeps the doors locked and Jesus freezing outside through the end of winter. And not one responds here. Why not? Why not either defend your position or surrender it?

    Because they don’t have to.

    X, you are getting played. If you really had their feet to the fire, they would either defend it or change it, but they still think they can silence you somehow. Maybe just ignore him and he will go away. Maybe they have some other plan. Whatever it is, the fact that you are not engaged says to me that they are working you instead of dealing with the issue.

    Mark my words, brother.

    Be shrewd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent X · 8 Days Ago

      I don’t know how Mrs Agent X will take it, but I sense you are right. I speak with no clout for those with no voice.

      Fact is… they don’t care. If they did, they would have already.

      I remember how just before I got kicked out of the Premier Homeless Pseudo Church (not its real name), I managed to be stern enough and unyielding enough that they finally decided they had to get rid of me (or threaten to in hopes it would get me in line with their agenda to throw the homeless out into the cold), and I wouldn’t do it. But just before it came to a head (or actually the signal that it had) leadership there suddenly sent me a dozen messages seeking me out (you know, as if they wanted to talk finally), and they even stated that they wanted (at long last) to discuss the concerns I was having! Ha!

      Funny. I smelled the rat then. When suddenly they were wanting to discuss my concerns so eagerly, I knew it was bogus. They were looking to muscle me into shutting up or getting out.

      Fact is, I met with these people at my request twice before (and attempted meetings even before those) where they made absolutely NO concession and no compromise. I showed up making concessions… offering concessions… but even the concessions I offered were flatly denied! And yet they characterized me as the jerk!

      Yeah, I sense that as a standard ploy.

      In this more recent case, I repeatedly made my case in the class refuting the garbage they are passing off as a Bible class in class, on the web (the webinar), and on my blog. I got a very small bit of reasoned feedback. My initial refutation, no doubt, was unexpected. Passively accepting the garbage offered from the Lupton Center was expected entirely, but when I stunned the teacher with my refutation, he shot off the cuff and suggested I lead an open door ministry at our church. I, of course, jumped at the chance, but suddenly he backpedaled saying it would need to be discussed first.

      Well, I get that.

      But I don’t think his money was where his mouth was. Before it was all said and done, he began saying we couldn’t discuss it further with all my vitriol and attacks etc…

      Hmmm…

      Seems a bit spineless to me. Would have been appropriate to set up that meeting, I think, and if my vitriol and attacks really had no merit, the leadership could have addressed that as part of those discussions. As it happened, he just unilaterally back pedaled.

      He did tell me though that there had been complaints about me and discussions about me and that my “voice had been heard”. He told me my voice had been heard two times in fact. And with summer creeping up on us, I told him I would relent during the warm months. This should show good faith, respect, and reopen the possibility of discussing the open door ministry – NO???

      And wouldn’t you know it? A few days later, I have 3 shepherds from church inviting themselves over to my house to “discuss my concerns”. But by this time, I am holding out hope that maybe this is the opening round of discussions about starting an open door ministry. But a few minutes into our very cordial meeting, I am informed that we are not discussing that, instead we are discussing how “unloving” I was in Bible class!

      REALLY??? People who lock the poor outside in the freezing cold of night in direct violation of the word of Jesus in a Judgement passage no less call me unloving???

      Yeah. This is not about opening a door. It is all about managing Agent X.

      And the kicker is that the shepherds are telling me in no uncertain terms that my “voice had not been heard” and they tell me this in the guise that maybe with their help it might be. But meanwhile they want to talk about how unloving I was, not about my message/desire to get the door open.

      Ironic, huh?

      ANYTHING to avoid dealing with the issue!!!

      They are playing a game. The game is to not see that they are playing a game. If I tell them they are playing a game, they will punish me!

      I don’t really care about the game except that it is interfering with getting some cold people into the warm church.

      Point being, Larry, the ship has sailed. All that is left is a mopping up operation… try to manage the PR. Some very warm, rich Christians from the Bible class need to be satisfied that I was thoroughly sanctioned by the shepherds for calling out their game.

      But thanx for the advice.

      I just think it is too little too late.

      X

      Like

  5. Patrizia Blondett Veen · 5 Days Ago

    I agree with you about not trying to fix anyone and just do something real!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debi · 5 Days Ago

    I feel as if I’m missing some crucial details here, however I think I still get it.

    The only answer I can see is planting one’s own church, which has a nighttime worship party and “meditation.” A completely different set-up, where various folks lead prayer, share the party scripture, break bread, maybe some music, and then begin the “meditation,” which lasts as long as each attendee sees fit for him/herself – up until the morning hours.

    But you already knew that my version of “church” is way different from any other I’ve (we’ve?) seen. 🙂 ♥

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s