For several years I’ve taken steps to befriend leaders who minister to and with the homeless in the Portland metropolitan area. I’ve visited some of their places of ministry, shared in conversation, and mostly listened, asking questions so I may better understand what they do and why.
But that didn’t entirely satisfy my curiosity; it stoked the fires, inspiring me to dig more deeply. So with the encouragement and active support of my friends Pastor Steve Kimes of Anawim Community and Pastor Luke Sumner of HomePDX, I started a network designed to bring homeless ministers together every two or three months for encouragement, collaboration, prayer and inspiration. We’ve met three or four times as a group. We are on the process of planning our next gathering, likely on October 16, 2014, with details to come soon.
We are a varied assortment of people. There are pastors of homeless churches, homeless advocates, folks who run shelters, and even a box truck driver, namely me. Some are liberal, a few more conversative. We have anabaptists, Roman Catholics, baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and so on. Our gatherings are characterized by kindness and compassion, flavored by authenticity and candor. We have nothing to lose by keeping it real, but we try to consider the feelings of others in the process.
It’s an organic, fluid conversation that is nuanced by the diverse perspectives of those who are present. That’s why we need you: your wisdom, experiences, dreams and hopes, even your pain and frustration. That way we can learn from and support each other.
You may be wondering how you can get involved. Here are a few ideas:
1. Join our email list by leaving a comment on this blog with your email address. Or you may message me directly using the contact page.
2. Come to our next gathering. Every month I use the email list to inform subscribers about upcoming events. I would love to see you at our next network gathering!
3. Pray: for the network and for all those who are doing the work of ministry among the homeless in Portland and beyond.
4. Volunteer: find a local shelter or homeless church and give time, money, food and clothing, and so on.
Got questions? Ask away! Meanwhile, go befriend and love someone who lives outside. It will change your life.