Homeless Street Ministry...God's priority for believers! (Isaiah 58:6-10); (Mt 25:31-46); (Luke 14:12-14)
1. Go out into the Streets (Highways and Byways) and find the poor, lame, blind, needy, homeless.
2. Bring them in to Feed, Clothe, Shelter, then Share the Gospel, Make Disciples
Feed the Hungry...HIS first priority/lesson
Miracle Meals is a dual program that Feeds the Hungry on "both sides of the bridge" between God's people inside Church walls and the poor and needy. Literally feeding the hungry and homeless through our Street Ministry program is the primary ministry around which everything else is built. By feeding the hungry consistently we draw hundreds of hungry, homeless, and hopeless children of God to sit at our banquet tables outdoors, and be treated like honored guests for a few hours, demonstrating the unconditional love of Jesus. We know for a fact that they do not come to hear a preacher, nor do they come for the Church service. They come only for the food because they are hungry physically. Once this physical need is met, we have opportunity to meet their spiritual needs as well. It takes time and consistency to earn credibility from the homeless population, who spot spiritual phonies in a heartbeat.
Miracle Meals is a community based program that is the vital component to Feed the Hungry. Miracle Meals recruits restaurants, grocers, and food distributors to donate on a regular basis leftover food, dated food that must be consumed quickly, or food surplus appropriate for storage and serving to the hungry homeless population and other needy people through similar ministries as Layman Lessons performs. This program requires volunteers to pick up food. Our original food donor Chik-Fil-A in Rivergate, came from ONE Christian man, Todd Hunley, whose contributions started this ministry, and fuels it to this day with Entree's, gallons of fresh hot coffee, and much more. Olive Garden in Rvergate with Manager Brian Salamone provide incredible entree's. Norman Rubio, Manager of Publix in Hermitage, TN, provide bread, deserts for 600 meals weekly. These are Christian men making a difference quietly by supplying the food that Feeds the Hungry! Troy and Kasey Marcus, volunteers who pick up food donations from Olive Garden in South Nashville, Ronnie and Nancie Woodard, who pick up food donations from China Buffet when they close each night, Ben and Jennalynn Edmondson from Gallatin, Chuck and Delaine Kluesener from Nolensville, TN who cook our banquet food Saturdays during our Church service for the homeless...many volunteers from area Churches who bring good used clothing to distribute to the homeless on the streets. It takes Christians with servant hearts to show God's love through work. Barbara Rousseau has for 5 years coordinated the volunteers.
Many volunteers form a production line to make 300 sandwiches for sack lunches for our homeless guests to take with them as they leave the banquet luncheon. "Sharing the Blessing" is the key. While our volunteers come to bless the homeless, it is our volunteers who are blessed as much or more than those receiving. The entire ministry is founded upon the collection and redistribution of surplus food to Feed the Hungry. If this does not happen, we have nobody to minister to at our Street Ministry.
Clothe the Naked...second priority/lesson
Clothing donations are organized on our Mobile Clothing Store Bus and taken DIRECTLY to those who need it most, on the streets. Distributing warm, life saving clothing while providing hot banquet meals helps draw homeless people to our Street Ministry. Collecting clothing from Americans to give to the needy simply requires an organization of volunteers willing to transport and distribute that clothing to the needy. Layman Lessons Street Ministry is the perfect place to distribute clothing to those on the streets who need it most, by loading a bus full of clothing and delivering it to the chronic homeless on the streets, people who do not go to stores to shop for clothing. Clothing the Naked is honorable work. It is work. It requires volunteers with hearts to serve those most in need. Bible classes find this a great class project, like class teachers Steve Botts, Allen Lindsay, Charlie Hagood from Long Hollow Baptist Church, whose members donate bus loads of clothing annually.
Shelter the Homeless...third priority/lesson
Layman Lessons provides unconditional temporary shelter for the homeless as well as well as opportunity to enter our 12 month New Life and Re-Entry Residential Discipleship Training. Both the temporary shelter and the longer term Residential Discipleship Training are at our Training Center in Gallatin, TN at a residential home on 4 acres. Part of the Discipleship Training is to care for those homeless receiving temporary shelter, escort them to Church services on Sunday morning, then being transported back to their street "camp". This brings the formerly homeless man in our Discipleship Training into the role of mentoring his former peer from the street. It is a test of credibility and opportunity to demonstrate the reality of the Miracle of the life changed by submitting to Jesus Christ.
Layman Lessons needs donations of old but usable Motor Homes, busses, campers, travel trailers, warehouses, residential homes, land lots and rural land tracts of 5+ acres to locate donated houses (to be moved) to become shelters where homeless persons can sleep for the night in a warm, dry, safe location, without fear of brutal cold, rain, or terrorism from those who would hurt them or kill them for their meager possessions. In Nashville, TN the Rescue Mission capacity is 450 per night, and the Room in the Inn winter program with area Churches houses another 250 per night. That 700 homeless persons find shelter is wonderful. That the other 3,000 - 5,000 cannot find shelter is tragic. It results in 60 deaths every year of homeless persons directly or indirectly by exposure to the elements. Old busses with bunks and a porta-potty are better than the brutal elements. Layman Lessons is a 501c3 Church in good standing with the IRS, so your donations are charitable contributions for which we provide immediate donation receipts.
Make Disciples - New Life...fourth priority/lesson
Layman Lessons believes, and has the statistics now to prove, that if you take care of the first 3 priorities that Jesus Christ commanded every Christian to perform, then you get the opportunities to receive the greatest honor bestowed on mankind...to lead a lost person to know Jesus Christ, and provide Discipleship Training to teach him that life is not about him, but it is about the work that Jesus Christ is doing, and honors us by allowing us to serve others...by our Feeding the Hungry, Clothing the Naked, and Sheltering the Homeless.
New Life is not just for homeless persons. It is for anyone with a life controlling issue, such as Addiction of any kind, to Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, which is common knowledge that most every American knows someone experiencing these life controlling issues. Layman Lessons through New Life has ministered to juvenile orphans, men and women from prisons, and many Church attending people no one would ever imagine had life controlling addiction issues.
Make Disciples - Re-Entry
New Life is the process of recreating formerly addicted persons into followers of Christ, by the "renewing of their minds", with Christian Discipleship Training. Re-Entry is the next step.
Re-Entry is simply Training men and women to "Re-Enter" Society as productive, hard working, ethical, moral, Christians that contribute to American society as well as their local Church. This Training focuses on Biblical Lessons to Laymen, particularly the basics about Truthfulness and Self Discipline, from early rising and early bedtimes to making a lunch every morning to prepare for battle that day. Work ethic is instilled by focusing on the fact that every person that lives for one full day has 15 hours not sleeping or eating. Obeying God's command and personal example that "6 days you shall work, and rest on the Seventh", we train men to see they have 90 hours every week they could work and provide for themselves and for their families. Buying the "40 hour work week" lie from Satan is the very effective way Satan has employed to "Steal, Kill, and Destroy" by preventing God's blessings of prosperity to the man who works for it. March, 2005 Labor Statistics show the average American work week is now 33.7 hours and an average wage of just over $15 per hour. It is not the wages that are deficient in America, it is the number of hours actually worked! A man working hard in America, as close to that 90 hours maximum as possible, for 2-3 years, can accumulate money that he can employ to work for him, just the way God intended. A man working 33.7 hours weekly at $15 per hour earns $25,000 annually, while a man working 67 hours weekly can earn $50,000 annually...and still have 38 total hours of free time weekly! Sundays yield 15 hours of free time, and the other 6 days yield 23 hours of free time. A man working 67 hours and not working 38 hours is far more balanced than a man working 33.7 hours and not working 72 hours. We have not because we work not. Re-Entry trains our graduates to obey God and work instead of obey Satan and shirk.
T.O.U.C.H. (Touching Others Using Caring Hands)
Can you find a couple of minutes to write a note of encouragement to some person literally fighting for their life daily? Can you encourage them and focus all your attention on someone else’s problems without blurting and spewing your own problems? Can you be God’s hands and feet to care for His child who desperately wants someone who cares? If you cannot, pray about your priorities. If you can, read on to get God’s incredible blessings...
God’s people with time on their hands, have been given that time for a purpose, and that purpose is God’s purpose for their lives at that moment in time. Many Christians feel they have no real purpose anymore, because they have nobody to “take care of”, particularly seniors, widows, singles. It is a lie directly from Satan designed to steal your joy. Christians are desperately needed to encourage others, more than ever!
Seniors, Singles, even sick or “shut-ins”, anyone can write a note or make a phone call to encourage others, or they can choose to focus on their own problems. Blessings come from serving others! God’s plan for our peace is laid out in Isaiah 58, to care for others is the vehicle that carries our own blessings, and not optional!
God’s people with needs that have NOBODY to care about them and love them are in pain, real pain, and need so badly to have a note, card, letter, eMail, or even a telephone call. Nobody knows their name.
New Christians by the thousands are in Christian rehabilitation programs, having finally turned from drug and alcohol addiction to Christ, many rescued by street ministries for the homeless, but have burned all their bridges with family…they have nobody to call and talk to anymore. They have a 5 minute phone call each week to make, but they have nobody to call. No human being to speak with, connect with, share with…nobody. Homeless people are released from the hospital after serious surgery or assaults. Most have to go to the street to recover, helpless, at the mercy of anyone who comes across their “camp”. There are a few Homeless Respite Medical centers where they can stay 2-3 weeks before going back to the street. Nobody visits, nobody calls, nobody sends a card of encouragement…because nobody knows their name.
Campus of Hope...homeless center for homeless people, programs and services
The "Campus" concept is a core need for every city to protect their homeless humans, yet few cities have them. The Campus is a safe and secure “hub” for homeless individuals, who can freeze to death just as easily during the daytime hours when there is no daytime shelter. The Campus provides life saving shelter, clothing, food, showers, and grooming items for the homeless, but also provides practical and spiritual training to spark hope for their future. The impact of unconditional Christian love to those who have absolutely nothing to offer in return is a major encouragement that somebody does indeed care. Christian volunteers are needed for these programs: