This evening a group of us from Radiant Fellowship went out with our outreach program called the Rock. We have had this program going for many years. Each month we bring gently used clothing, toiletries and a warm meal to folks living in very low income housing.
Tonight was a special time as it was one of our larger nights. I had fully planned on grilling but the weather this time of year is very temperamental which caused us to order some pizzas instead.
When we pulled up there were quite a few folks in the lobby awaiting our arrival. We always begin by bringing in the totes of clothes first. We had many helping themselves to those items. There was a new lady that came to see what we were doing. After she heard there might be a winter coat for her, she began to dig through everything. I am please to say that she found a very nice winter coat with a big furry collar. She was thrilled to say the least. This lady and others found pairs of shoes, clothing and more. We never charge for this outreach and to be honest; unless they ask we do not tell them what church we are from. That is not the purpose of this outreach. It is to simply serve.
As we were handing items out I began to joke around with a couple of them. The others from the church also engaged them in conversation. My father comes along and he was so proud to know the jacket he donated is still being used by the man he gave it to over a year ago.
When we arrive I always strive to serve these people in a way that maintains their dignity. We don’t ask how they got there, what they are doing to get out of it...we just serve. I speak to these folks down on their luck the same way I would speak to someone running a successful business here in town. I see no need to view them any other way than as a child of God. If they want to talk about how they got there...I will engage but mainly listen. Regardless though, I point out flaws in my life and that we all go through moments in life. As I told one lady this evening “it takes a village” to help one another and that was why we were there. In my opinion a Christian that looks down on these people ought to check their heart.
I became a pastor to serve. Sure that happens regularly inside of the church but why can’t it happen outside of it as well? Why do some Christians have to view these people as charity cases. You serve a person and you win every time. We now have one of the former tenants attending our church regularly. In fact he even got his own apartment across the street from the church. It is my opinion that the church would do well not to look away from people who are not like us but rather serve them as if we are serving Jesus himself. Wait! That sounds Biblical (sheep and goats).