Friday, December 17, 2010


I don't know about you but for some reason homeless people have always interested me. My thoughts about the homeless were completely different until I read a book called The Noticer. My friend Amanda gave it to me to read and I would encourage all of you to read it. The link takes you to the author, Andy Andrews, page and you can purchase the book from there and read more about him. That book changed my outlook on the homeless and for the first time I was actually interested in how people are helping the homeless. I know that sounds selfish that it actualy took me 24 years to even care, but God can change our hearts and he changed mine.

That leads me to talk about a little organization called Church on the Street.

There are over 12,000 homeless men, women and children in Atlanta. Now hear this- over 2000 are known as long-term or chronically homeless. Church on the Street isn't a homeless shelter that these people have to try to get into at night. They go out into the streets where these homeless people wander and live and build relationships with them. That is what Jesus called us to do- build relationships. The first part of what Church on the Street does is their outreach ministries. Before they even attempt to help these homeless get into shelters and get their life turned around, they begin by just trying to talk to them and minister to them. I'm stealing a quote from their website...

 The type of service that is needed by this group is not only basic sustenance, but also, and primarily, due to their engrained isolation, hopelessness and skepticism, consistent relationships with persons who care for their well-being unconditionally, are willing to be with them, and will speak honestly to them.

We don't know much about homeless people. We understand they need food, clothing, shelter, etc. Unfortunately, when it gets past that we are somewhat confused and don't let our mind go there. They are often in dangerous places. They are often what make places dangerous in our minds. They are not always easy to approach and friendly. They have been very isolated and don't have the social skills you or I might have. But, what Jesus taught us through his actions was to go out to the LEAST and the LOST. I'm pretty sure the homeless population fit that description.

The second part of what Church on the Street does is education. We all need to be educated about the homeless. I'm sitting here writing this blog and I know SO LITTLE. What I realize now though is that I do want to learn. I want to figure out what I can do to help to get them out of these situations. In addition to teaching people about the homeless population, they teach people how to reach out to the homeless population. Go check out their website and learn more and figure out how you can help!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I told you yesterday that today I wanted to talk about an organization that is in the middle of West Montgomery called Common Ground. It was started by a couple in Montgomery and they felt God's calling on their life to move to this neighborhood and transform it. It couldn't have been easy, it must have been scary. This was a type of neighborhood that many of us won't even drive through; yet, they were moving their life and their kids into this neighborhood. I copied in their mission because my words couldn't do it justice...

The Mission of Common Ground Montgomery is two-fold:

We seek to create a "safe haven" of love and grace along with structure and discipline for the children of our community when they are most vulnerable to the destructive influences of our streets.
We also concentrate on investing in our urban youth by focusing on "holistic development". We do this in three main ways.
First, our staff, with assistance from godly neighbors, is devoted to "life on life" training of the youth. We accomplish this by living in the community that we serve in; opening up our homes to the neighborhood kids and training them through biblically based "discipleship" relationships.
Second, we provide relationship-based programs that focus on character, social, and life skills development in various areas like academics, arts, sports, and entrepreneurship.
Third, we connect kids with loving Christian mentors from across our city. These enduring relationships begin in the 4th grade and carry on through the child’s high-school graduation.

I think this is so meaningful because they aren't just writing a check. Writing a check is sometimes so easy. Don't get me wrong, giving money to groups like this is very important and they appreciate every dime. What amazes me the most is how the founders and their staff changed their whole lifestyle and spend everyday building relationships with these kids and their families. Our church had a mission day the last weekend in October and our "mission field" for the day was Common Ground. We went in and some men did some construction work and everyone else just spent time playing with those kids. What a blessing it was. The smiles on their faces just to be hanging out were incredible. They don't forget your smiling face either. There were some kids from our youth group out there and they go out there to tutor and spend time with the kids during the week. They knew those youth and they knew about Saint James and were excited to see familiar faces. Chris and I can't wait for our next visit!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Reloaded...

This year our church has done a series over Christmas that is focusing on giving back and spending less on ourselves. As we have talked about this in church and in our small group I keep loving on this verse.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere--in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

I wanted to do a short little blog series about what this has meant to our church lately...

Jerusalem- this is like our family, our church, and our city. For Chris and me, this is our home, Saint James, and Montgomery. Right now our church has adopted three homes through a ministry in Montgomery called Common Ground. To learn a little bit more about them go to Common Ground Montgomery. Saint James will use volunteers to help renovate these houses and then build relationships with the people who move into them. A project I'm super excited about and looking forward to going out there and working some! Then of course, being with those precious kids!

Judea, Samaria- These are surrounding regions. For us this is our state and the surrounding states. Another ministry our church is working with is Church on the Street. Church on the Street is a ministry in Atlanta, Georgia working with the homeless population and ministering to them. There are over 12,000 homeless men, women, and children living in Atlanta. To learn more about their mission you can go to Church on the Street

Ends of the Earth- This is exactly where it says it is. Saint James is doing this in multiple ways. A few of which are adopting a Compassion International child, digging wells in Zambia, and helping with the rebuilding effort in Haiti to name a few. If you are interested in sponsoring a child definitely go to Compassion International. You can write letters back and forth with the child you sponsor and makes an enormous impact in the lives of those children.

A little extra thing I will talk about on my last post during this series is adoption. Two of my DEAREST friends are adopting from Uganda and it has become such a passion for me going through this process with them. They have started an adoption ministry at our church where parents who are interested in adopting or have adopted or in the process of adopting can all come together and help and serve one another.

Well enjoy your hump day.. my first post will be tomorrow on my Jerusalem and we're gonna talk a little bit about Common Ground!