An important part of our ministry is to encourage, teach, cajole and provide opportunities for the church in Atlanta, America and around the world to come together in unity to reach out to the most vulnerable of their neighbors. This task is no less difficult on the streets of Atlanta than it is in your hometown. There are many churches and organizations here that attempt to reach the homeless population in their own unique way, but there are few who seek to do it in partnership coordinating efforts and resources with one another. As if that was not challenging enough, there are also many groups that come into the city to minister without first seeking to support the ongoing efforts that are already taking place. One of the central frustrations of the ministries and churches that are locally based in the communities in which they minister is the prevalence of “drive-by” ministries. These are the groups that come into troubled communities, pass out their wares, and then travel back home having never consulted local people and ministries, and having never asked these locals how they might best be of service. The frustration is not that these Christians want to serve, rather it is that they unintentionally undercut the ministry that is already taking place through churches and missionaries who are part of the community, have taken the time to develop trusting relationships with those they minister to, and have a unique knowledge of what life is like inside their community.
We have decided to take a more proactive role in trying to bring together local ministries and churches, as well as outside groups, in an effort to work in unity for the glory of God and for the sake of the men, women and children suffering on the streets and in poor forgotten communities. This is without doubt a challenge, but we have been able to find men and women with a heart to see Christ formed in the lives of His vulnerable children and who seek no glory for themselves. (This is truly the only way meaningful and lasting partnerships can happen.) I have also been pleasantly surprised to find that when I approach a “drive-by” ministry and introduce myself, they have, for the most part, been receptive to work in collaboration with a local ministry. They often have been praying that someone would come along to help them. They were just responding to Christ’s command to love the least, but weren’t sure what to do, so they did something.
I am excited to do the work that Christ has called us to. And it is because of our partnership with many of you that we are able to be out here on the streets obeying the call. If you want to see how these new partnerships are coming to fruition then follow us on facebook for daily updates of ministry on the street. If you want to see a list of the active partnerships we have developed with local ministries and churches who are committed to working on the streets with us and to being on the streets with the vulnerable then click this link. (If you are from a local church or ministry and want to commit to active hands-on partnership with us then let us know.)