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10 Ways to Help the Homeless

March 21, 2009

1. Never give cash to a homeless person
Too often, well intended gifts are converted to drugs or alcohol – even when the “hard luck” stories they tell are true. If the person is hungry, buy them a sandwich and a beverage.

2. Talk to the person with respect.
Taking time to talk to a homeless person in a friendly, respectful manner can give them a wonderful sense of civility and dignity. And besides being just neighborly, it gives the person a weapon to fight the isolation, depression and paranoia that many homeless people face.

3. Recognize that homeless people (and their problems) are not all the same.
The homeless are as diverse as the colors of a rainbow. The person you meet may be a battered women, an addicted veteran, someone who is lacking job skills…the list goes on.

4. Share God’s love whenever you can.
If Jesus were walking the earth today, He would certainly spend time with the homeless. He would speak with them, heal them, and help them. Today, Jesus chooses to work through those who believe and follow Him.

5. Pray for the homeless.
Exposure to the elements, dirt, occasional violence, and lack of purpose all drain years from a person’s life. God can use your prayers and the brutality and the futility of life of the street to bring many of the broken to Himself.

6. Take precautions for your own safety.
Some living on the streets are criminals and fugitives running from the law. Always be prudent while talking with street people. Stay in areas where other people can see you. Don’t take unnecessary chances.

7. Encourage the homeless to get help through your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Gospel-centered homeless ministries seek to care for both the body and the soul. Some may provide emergency housing and meals, while others may provide long-term housing or specialized programs that seek to address the deeper causes of homelessness. Many offer spiritual mentoring and Bible study so that those who are homeless can build a strong foundation in Jesus. Others offer may offer day services that include mail services, luggage storage or laundry options.

8. Financially Support your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Many gospel-centered homeless ministries receive little or no government funding. They are primarily supported by caring individuals, churches, businesses, and civic groups who see the value of sharing their resources with the less fortunate.

9. Volunteer with your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
Serving alongside your local ministry is a great way to build relationships with the homeless. Here, the collective wisdom of the ministry’s community will aid you as you take steps further and further in to the lives of the homeless. Ministries can rarely afford to hire enough staff, so they are dependent on volunteers to make deep impact in the lives of the homeless.

10. Pray for the leadership and staff of your local gospel-centered homeless ministry.
The demands placed on the leadership and staff of homeless ministries is extensive. The situations these people confront on a daily basis or complex and confusing. Pray that Jesus would continue to give the staff hope, strength and wisdom.

HT:  Seed Blog

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2009 1:14 pm

    Good stuff, Jonathan. I’m in South Africa right now on a short-term missions trip. I have 8.5 months left. This is particularly relevant to me as there are so many homeless here, and usually, I get asked for cash everyday. Thanks for the practical counsel for how to help and serve people in order build the kingdom.

  2. March 24, 2009 7:11 am

    Thank you for this and for some fresh thoughts that I had not considered before. Enjoy the blog. David

  3. Henry Chen permalink
    April 15, 2009 8:11 pm

    Are there any good gospel-centered homeless ministries in Austin that you would recommend?

    Thanks.

  4. Greg permalink
    May 12, 2009 3:59 pm

    Thanks Jonathan…
    I’m going to preach at a homeless shelter tonight and I found this article encouraging.

  5. November 23, 2009 9:38 pm

    Thanks for this. Hopefully you won’t mind I linked this in a recent post of mine.
    Big time blessings to you!

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  1. 10 Ways You Can Truly Help the Homeless :: Straight to the Heart

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