Reader feedback: Is your church involved in ministry to the poor and homeless?
A front-page story in the latest Christian Chronicle print edition features the River City Ministry in North Little Rock, Ark.:
Physical needs draw upward of 200 clients a day to the River City Ministry, which grew out of a Vacation Bible School organized by the Little Rock-area Levy Church of Christ at a subsidized housing project in 1989.
The ministry operates a day shelter, a food pantry, a clothing closet and medical and dental clinics. It provides job and counseling referrals.
However, River City’s staff members and volunteers say the ministry fulfills a higher calling: serving spiritual needs of the poor, oppressed and hurting.
In the last five years, the ministry has celebrated more than 1,000 baptisms and restorations.
Jim Harbin, who coordinates the National Urban Ministry Conference (which will be Feb. 28 to March 2 at the North City Church of Christ in St. Louis), describes River City as “one of the best models for an urban ministry that serves the poor.
“Meeting the physical and spiritual needs of individuals under one roof is a strategic model for transforming lives,” said Harbin, senior minister for the Raleigh Community Church of Christ in Memphis, Tenn., and a site coordinator for the Powerlines Community Network.
But as Harbin points out, River City is just one of a number of ministries associated with Churches of Christ that are serving the poor, homeless and downtrodden. Examples: HopeWorks in Memphis, FaithWorks in Abilene, Texas, and the Impact Houston Church of Christ.
In a 2008 story, the Chronicle reported on addicts finding hope and healing through Atlanta Outreach, a ministry of the North Atlanta Church of Christ.
Reader feedback: Is your church involved in ministry to the poor and homeless? Please describe your church’s efforts, goals and results. Be sure to include your name, home congregation, city and state in case we decide to quote you.
FeedbackYes, our congregation Lakeview here in Bethel OK. is involved ! We have been a host congregation with the Family Promise organization for over 7 years. We are housing and providing meals for 4 families with 6 children this week. We also participate with a H20, a Shawnee organization that provides meals, clothing and assistance for the homeless of Shawnee and we have volunteers that work with the community’s needy and the homeless at the Shawnee Rescue Mission. We do it all in the name of Jesus and for His Kingdom and we’re richly blessed by the relationships that we’ve made through these meager efforts.John ClemmonsAugust, 8 2012The East Colbert Church of Christ River Road Muscle Shoals, Alabama is involved in feeding and helping the homeless. This is the 12th year to have a monthly fishfry there to raise money to meet local needs and to help with mission work. In 2011 they paid about 170 Electric Bills, and paid for over 150 baskets of goceries. The proceeds from the monthly fishfry go to help with mission work also.
It is held the first Saturday of each month. It starts at 12:00 and ends about 5:30. The recent fishfry had 1307 people eating. This is a working congregation. It takes about 40 members to make the fishfry possible each month. I make regular trips to Haiti doing mission work with some of the poorest of the poor in the world and the members help with that work also. We just recently completed a trip with 5 of us from East Colbert build a pavilion style church building at a children’s home and we are planning on building another one at a different location. I am planning my 17th – 19th trips now. Workers from East Colbert have been involved with helping for years, they go and do…It takes dedication to make the fishfry possible and love for the work of the Church. joe holley 256-762-2931Joe HolleyAugust, 8 2012Bobby,
Yes, we have two special outreach efforts. Our foodbank puts out about 5000lbs of food per week at our food bank operating on Wednesday from 4.30p to 6.30pm. It serves about seventy families their food for a week. It is used mostly by non-members, but also our members when needed. It also gives clothing out as well on a once a month basis.
The volunteers work five days a week collecting and sorting and preparing. We collect from Safeway, Loaf n Jug, Starbucks and other places in addition to Food Bank of the Rockies. We do not require any money of them though some donate to help defray expenses.
Out of this work we started reaching out to the kids of homeless hotels on Colfax through our KFC van ministry. There are been many baptisms including the most dominant family working in the ministry. There are been the baptism of the couple in the hotel who started the van ministry.
I currently have a Bible study with an entire family who is considering baptism for the young lady but the whole family is studying. When we focus on what is our misson from Jesus the work is fruitful whereever we work. In Aurora to our work with Camps in Ukraine.
Thanks for asking and for your recent articles about the responses to the Theatre shooting.
Larry WishardLarry WishardAugust, 8 2012College church in Searcy has a “Caring and Sharing Dinner” each Monday night. We feed 150 to 400 each week. There is a short devotional before the meal. Children have a separate area for eating and Bible teaching. On Thursday nights there is another meal for those who want to study more in depth. We are having baptisms from this outreach. Tonight (Aug 8)we have our “School Supply Drive” and will be giving out 1000 backpacks filled with basic school needs, and there will be a dinner for the children and their parents. Thursday nights we have the “Great Physician Clinic” where we treat people who have no medical coverage. We know we do not reach everyone who has a need, but those we do reach are bringing others, and so many of them want to know more about Jesus, which is our ultimate goal.Deanna BrooksAugust, 8 2012College church also has “His House” which gives out food and household items each Monday and Wednesday. All of our programs are open both to members and non-members.Deanna BrooksAugust, 8 2012Twickenham Church of Christ (http://www.twickenham.org) Huntsville, AL, involved with great community building effort – http://www.lincolnvillageministry.comDan BeasleyAugust, 8 2012Madison St. Church of Christ in Clarksville, Tn has a “Well” ministry. We give away clothing twice monthly and food boxes at twice weekly as well as provide a hot meal weekly for anyone in the community. We don’t ask for anyone to varify income. We also help with emergency needs for food, clothing and household goods by appointment. Most of our friends are from the community. Many service agencies send their clients to us. Our ministry building is in the downtown area. We offer Bible studies and emphasis what we do is to the glory of God.Diana McArthurAugust, 8 2012Yes! My daughter began a ministry to homeless people in our region last year that she calls “Seasonal Comforts.” She collects personal comfort items for homeless people according to season, and then delivers the packets either in person or through a local day shelter. The congregation here brings the items in throughout the year, or gives money for the purchase of the items. Madeline (my daughter) has also, along with some other fellow young people, personally delivered breakfast meals to homeless people where they currently live. We are very grateful for their efforts!Mark MasonAugust, 9 2012The church at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii has been operating a weekly food pantry for the past couple of years in conjunction with the Hawaii Food Bank. We’ve served an average of 858 individuals per month with a high of 1838 individuals served one year ago in July.
The effectiveness of our program has encouraged other congregations on Oahu to support our effort. Two of them have donated funds and food, and one is considering emulating our program.
Brethren from a number of congregations around the island are also planning to participate on August 25 in an annual “Hunger Walk” in downtown Honolulu which will directly benefit food pantry programs such as ours, as well as the Hawaii Food Bank.Steve ByrneAugust, 9 2012Dear bob we are involved in helping the poor and the homeless in the slums in kisumu city in kenya east africa we provide meals, shelter, clothes, etc to unfortunate widows,children, streetchildren. We hope to continue with goodwork.Lawrence okongoAugust, 14 2012homeless face tough questions our free TALK WITH THE LORD program inspires daily talks catch they need your help with first question our blog helps g hubbard po box 2232 ponte vedra FL 32004 http://talkwiththelord.blogspot.com/G HUBBARDSeptember, 10 2012It is wonderful and a blessing to learn of the work with the poor and homeless. A congregation so engaged grows in stature with the Lord and the community.Lewis ArmstrongSeptember, 11 2012We are a small congregation with many needy members but have chosen to involve ourselves in the community. Aberdeen has been hit very hard with the most unemployment, most suicides, most foreclosures, etc. in our state. We provide a meal and service at the mission once a month. We also do breakfast on the street the last Friday and Saturday of the month. We provide hygiene packs and blankets as needed. We keep a small pantry and help those that we can. We are now viewed as those who help and we now view those in need as people just like ourselves. I love the fact that we can be a picture of Christ to those we serve.RedaApril, 27 2013