There are not many issues facing the United States more troubling than that of homelessness. Erase from your mind any preexisting notions of what homelessness ‘looks like.’ Do you envision a chronically homeless unshaven disheveled man wearing a winter coat sleeping on a park bench on a hot summer day? As a matter of fact, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population are families with children. And, a recent Huffington Post article indicates that over 30% of those seeking shelter in 2011 were homeless for the first time.
Earlier this week, we had the pleasure to spend time with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM)—needless to say, they are experts on this issue! AGRM-member facilities have a reputation for being havens of hope for all who enter. Every year, 275 missions serve nearly 42 million meals, provide more than 15 million nights of lodging, bandage the emotional wounds of thousands of abuse victims, and graduate 18,000- plus individuals from addiction recovery programs. The ramification of their work positively influences surrounding communities in countless ways.
While rescue is in the name of the association, the followers of Jesus running these missions see that aspect as just the beginning. In total, they are about:
Rescue — Pulling people to safety from adverse conditions, and from choices and habits that lead to damaged health and death
Redemption — Presenting people with a gospel that is about life transformation in Jesus, and the reclamation of His creation
Rehabilitation — Helping people break the bonds of addiction and desperate behavior, and experience a life of healing and wholeness
Re-assimilation — Preparing people to dwell in community, and to have meaningful roles that lead to stability and missional living
In all of this, AGRM is there to tell and re-tell the story to the church and the public at large, pointing out the need for laborers, resources, prayer, and a repentant attitude toward the poor.
This, my friends, gets me excited! There is hope and opportunity for transformation in the city! Meet The Need looks forward to walking alongside AGRM in their service to the poor. As we mobilize the local church to action we are confident lives will be forever changed by the Gospel!