Download our HFNY Resource Card as a way to engage homeless and hungry neighbors.
Read Tim Keller's outline of "Wholistic Ministry" and the Biblical call of the church to minister in both word and deeds of mercy and justice.
Watch our workshop on "How to Care for our Homeless Neighbors," outlining practical ways to serve our homeless neighbors and connect them to resources.
Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road
Dr. Tim Keller
|Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just
Dr. Tim Keller
|When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself
To Live in Peace: Biblical Faith and the Changing Inner City
Mark R. Gornik
This post is adapted from a talk by Josiah Haken from NYC Relief as part of our Homelessness Workshop on Jan. 13. Josiah blogs here.
So many of our homeless brothers and sisters are out there without any idea if they matter. They are getting shuffled around from shelter to shelter or soup kitchen to soup kitchen. They are getting abused, harassed, and in some cases assaulted because they are an easy target. Many are suffering from mental illness, or physical disabilities, many are in relationship crisis, and many are medicating the pain that they feel both emotionally and physically with addictive substances like heroin, crack, and alcohol.
God hears the cries of our homeless neighbors. Psalm 34:18 says that “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” God wants to redeem the pain that they feel: the pain of loneliness, the pain of shame, the pain of worthlessness, and the pain of invisibility.
And He is calling His people to step up and respond to these needs offer folks the one thing that we all need to live a life of purpose and meaning: we can offer hope. Here are 3 practical ways to offer hope to our friends on the street this winter:
1. SEE THEM
See our homeless neighbors as the children of God that they are. Ask God to open your eyes to reality of their humanity. We need to see these folks as people, before we will stop treating them like problems. We need God to awaken us to the hurt, the shame, the loneliness, the hopelessness that our brothers and sisters are facing every single day.
2. LISTEN TO THEM
Listen to them instead of speaking at them. We need to create space to hear what our homeless brothers and sisters have to say. If we approach people who are hopeless with advice, criticism, or direction, we miss out on the opportunity to learn where they have been, what they have tried, and more importantly, who they are.
3. RESPOND TO THEM
Respond to the very real needs that they have with compassionate care and humility.
But God’s primary method of redemption in this world is the movement of his people. You and I will not be able to solve the “homelessness problem” as defined by the world and the society we live in. But we can carry someone’s mat to the feet of Jesus.
Related Affiliates: New York City Relief Don't Walk By