Getting Started – The Nitty-Gritty of How

Getting Started – The Nitty-Gritty of How

A good friend asked me how you start a street ministry…you know, the nitty-gritty…the actual get it going info. Nuts and bolts of “How?”. I don’t know how others have done this, and I am sure there is a better way than this, but this is what we did.

1)      Gathered people from within our missional network who had an interest in this area.  Asked each of them to pray for a vision of where to plant this.

2)      Gathered resources so that we knew what we had to work with.  In our case, it was about $100 and a couple of vehicles we could use.  Went into the city area on foot and prayed over it for about a month.

3)      One person had a dream that vividly depicted a place in the city that they woke up feeling very strongly was where God wanted us to start.

4)      Used about $25 to put together 50 meal bags – a sandwich, a pop-top ravioli meal, a granola bar, a fruit cup, and bottle of water.  We also included a piece of paper with Matthew 25:31-50 on it.

5)      Six people went to the place that we were pretty sure the dream had depicted.  When we got there, it was clear that that was not going to be a workable place – too gentrified.  So we started walking looking for a place to start.  We walked in prayer, seeking the Kingdom of God.

6)      In our journey we came across a homeless man sitting in a doorway.  We actually walked by him at first.  It occurred to one of us that that may have been the exact person that God had put in our path.  It was a transcendent moment. So we went back.  We gave him a meal bag, and asked him where he thought we should start.  He told us if we took him to McDonalds he would tell us where we should go.  So…we took him to McDonalds.

7)      He pointed up the street to a parking lot.  He told us to go there and park and open up the back of the van.  He said people would come. So…we went to the parking lot, parked, and opened up the back of the van.

8)      First time out, we had about 25 people come.  We prayed with the people we fed.  We learned their names.  When they asked us what church we were from, we told them either “this one” or we told them “YOU are the church”, and we invited them to come back same time next week and help us out. We asked the people what they needed that would actually help them.  They told us food, warm clothing, and prayer. So…we went to gather those things (including carrying prayer requests back to our missional network).

9)      The next week we took 50 meal bags that we had purchased with the remainder of our original $100, and we took some blankets and hats/gloves that we had gathered.  About a hundred people showed up, and several of the people we had invited to help us came back to help.  Too many people to count were asking for prayer.  Those who had just been prayed for, were immediately turning around and praying for others.  Guess what that is.  It’s a conversion, people.  The most important one – movement from object of the mission to the subject of the mission.

10)   We went to our missional networks and asked for food and clothing donations.  People jumped at the chance to help.  The Girl Scouts did a food drive for us and brought in a lot of needed clothing.  A Stamping Up group donated money to help us purchase food.  We used those items and donations to put together 100 meal bags.  We went to the stores in the shopping mall where the parking lot was to be sure we weren’t causing them problems.  We bought supplies from them.  They were actually happy about it.  In other words, we didn’t “strategically plan”. We “prepared”.

11)   Our fourth week out we had 200 people show up, some to be served, some to serve, some just for prayer and fellowship.  We had two conversions in the first half-hour…real deal…on their knees confession and surrender and immediate participation conversions. We also had the police show up and tell us we had to move or be arrested. Expect resistance – you will be going straight into hell and pulling people out.  We asked the police officer where we should move.  He told us “Out of his jurisdiction – NOW”.  There was a park nearby, I asked him about that. He said that that wasn’t in his jurisdiction.  So there we went, and we served from there every Saturday through Christmas.  The Park Police even joined us for a sandwich and a coffee every now and then.

12)   Our mission has evolved since then, and we now rove to the places where we know the homeless congregate, and we stop at the shelters in the cold months with clothing.  It’s more complicated now, but we simply “developed the situation” and let it evolve into what it is now, instead of planning it all out.  We take our direction from God and the people we are trying to serve. They are the ones on the ground and the ones who know what works and what doesn’t work. But that’s what we did.  We now serve and pray with hundreds through this and other missions that have evolved out of this.

13)   We have no original thought.  It all comes from God and people that God put in our path.  Feel free to take this and make it your own, change it, re-imagine it, and give it away again to others who are on the journey.  All we ask is that you do not seek to profit from it or gain personal position from it. Doing so will take the Life and Love and Goodness out of it. We do not hoard what is not ours.  All of this belongs to the Kingdom of God.

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