I recently stumbled upon a Threads article entitled "Change Your Life, Your Mind in Homeless Ministry" by Jim Johnston.
After reading it (which I hope you will, too!) all I could say was "Amen". One of our great hopes and desires as a short-term mission organization is that those who serve with us would "catch a vision" for urban ministry. We pray that God would speak to them as they serve Him in the city - that as they serve in elderly ministry, VBS, shelter ministry, tutoring, etc. they are able to see themselves serving full-time in such capacities.
This past fall I was talking with a group leader who had just returned from her week-long trip to Chicago. She was exhausted! Not from the trip itself, but from the ministry it spurred on in their church when her youth returned!!
They realized there's a large homeless population in their town, too! Her students and adult leaders began delivering sandwiches to homeless individuals, a prayer time where they invited their new friends to worship freely (without the pressure that may come from inviting them to "church"), and had even began the workings of a full-time homeless ministry that would involve multiple congregations in their community!
It came across loud and clear that not only did this youth group "get it", but they are going to "live it" as well. A passage from "Change Your Life, Your Mind in Homeless Ministry" challenges us to be changed by serving:
You begin to think about people the way God does. You begin to hurt for people the way God does. The hundreds of passages of the Bible that command us to serve the less fortunate come alive and knit themselves to your soul.
Our prayer for you is the same - that you'd be challenged to serve "the least of these" right there in your community.
Want to learn how you can serve on a short-term urban mission trip with CSM? Visit www.csm.org!