Drive-by Ministries: def. A group of well-intentioned Christians who, in their zeal to serve the least of their homeless brother’s and sister’s, drive to a section of the city where the homeless congregate to pass out food, usually a sandwich, often straight from the window of the van they are driving. In their zeal, they neglect to first develop relationships that express the love of neighbor where meaningful and truthful interactions take place, trust and understanding is developed, both persons are transformed, and real needs are ascertained.
Kelly Johnson, in her book The Fear of Beggars, comments on John Milbank’s concept of gift…
…a gift cannot be given to a beggar if that ‘gift’ is premised on the ongoing isolation of the poor from the rich…The only gift that can be given to a beggar, he holds, is one that initiates a friendship between the two parties, in which both sides can give and receive with some confidence in each other. Ignoring the human desire to give and receive in return is no virtue; instead, that desire is the occasion for cultivating friendship.
This is the type of ministry culture that Church on the Street is trying to overcome. Although a technique based ministry may have some “success,” we believe that faithfulness to the Gospel requires a willingness to be with others in the midst of their suffering and joys. It requires us to know and to be known. In short, we believe we are called to a ministry of friendship with those the world, by attitude and culture, demands we are separate from.