Homelessness and the Church
According to recent statistics 564,708 people are homeless within America. These people are made up of individuals, families and children. Some have disabilities that prohibit them from working, leading the individual to become homeless for at least a year or longer, defining them as "chronically homeless". Did you know that about 8% of the homeless are our veterans? That is roughly 45,176 people who risked their lives for this country, living on our streets, constantly looking for shelter and begging for food. 50% of the homeless population is at or above the age of 50.
Now, recent statistics show there is nearly 800,000 churches across the United States- so what are we doing to help? Sure, we have people who volunteer at food banks. We have people who will collect money, shoes, clothes and furniture to donate, but are these thing really facing the issue of homelessness head on?
As the church, what can we do to help the homeless?
Well, the Bible tells us this in Matthew 25:35-40:
"Then the King will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you? The King will reply, Truly, I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters, of mine, you did for me."
God is calling us to feed the homeless, give them water, give them clothes, give them a place to stay and be their friend. It is our job to share God's love with everyone in every circumstance. Therefore, as the church, we need to be willing to do more. We need to step up and be the change, share God's word and allow these people a second chance at a much better life.
Now, I know that we may not be able to correct and change the lives of each and every one of these individuals' lives and struggles, but I do believe that God can. Therefore He is asking us to willingly be His feet. If we all came together to fight this cause, as the body of Christ, think of how big of a difference we could honestly make.
Ways We Can Beat Homelessness:
1. Donations- Clothes, Books, Money, Toiletries, Toys, etc.
2. Volunteering- Local Homeless Shelters & Food Banks.
3. Be on the lookout for jobs in your local area and post them at the local shelters.
4. If you are qualified, offer free training in the area of job qualifications- phone etiquette, computer skills, problem solving, organizational skills, etc.
5. If you are qualified, offer free counseling for victims of abuse.
6. If you are qualified, offer free tutoring for simple skills such as reading & writing.
If you are unable to offer any of the above, simply offer kindness, and say a prayer. Praying has the power to change so many things that are out of our control. Offer a listening ear and non-judgmental heart, because every evening when the sun falls we are all merely human, put on this earth to serve a much bigger purpose. Therefore, be kind. Do whatever it is that you are able to and realize that you're not only out to change the world, but souls.
This Week's Challenge:
We challenge you to take action and fight homelessness. As mentioned above, "think of how big of a difference we could honestly make". We are asking you to do just that- think. Try one of the six suggestions above, or come up with your own! The point is, don't live the same week, and don't wait for your church to host an event or leave a bin for donations. YOU have the power to make a difference in this world, remember that.
Make sure to share your stories, adventures, photos, videos and more on social media!
Don't forget the hashtag! #OperationBeautifulNation