For the Love of the Homeless

 As you dawn the front doors of Rock City Church on any typical Sunday, you are sure to walk by all kinds of people from various backgrounds and life-stages.

Rock City Church is incredibly diverse. As a multi-generational, cross-cultural, and expansively diverse mix of the socio-economic people, what you will see and experience is sure to challenge your paradigm of “normal church”. More often than not, you will find someone who’s homeless hanging out to attend church or looking for a handout. In tow is their pet dog and a shopping cart full of their lifelong belongings. And at the same time, an incognito wealthy businessman will be loving, praying, and welcoming them in our doors.

Our church is extremely diverse, with members and attenders from all walks of life.

There are attorneys, teachers, nurses, doctors, police, homeless, outlaw bikers, business owners, middle class, young adults, grandmothers, and young families; yet we are one tribe and one family. Together we are in pursuit of knowing and loving Jesus more, and within that pursuit, we are all experiencing something incredibly new and profound: Church the way it’s supposed to be!

First, lets start with a humorous story, knowing that it’s ok to laugh and find humor in the things that happen at church!! Let me explain…

Recently, one of our regular homeless attenders
showed up for our early service in an extra-small purple velour jogging suit. Now this particular person is very passionate about worship, lifting his hands and voice to God each Sunday morning; however, his bulging body coming out of the purple jogging jump-suit while he lifted his hands was quite a sight to see and slightly distracting.

Not long after worship, this man was sitting outside of our church in nothing but his boxer shorts and covered in sweat (it was early July in South Texas). One of our leaders from the church walks up and asks him why in the world he’s sitting outside in his boxer shorts? The man kindly replies that he got so hot during worship that he couldn’t wear the clothes he had on any longer, and then proceeded to ask if we could get him some new clothes. Fortunately, Rock City Church has dedicated roughly five thousand square feet of space to a clothing ministry called, Clothed in Righteousness, and we were able to provide some nicer and “cooler” clothes.

Now, take a moment to picture just how that would look for a visitor heading into Rock City Church for the first time. It would be quite the introduction to say the least! This is just one of so many humorous stories that happen when a church embraces the fullness of the Kingdom and learns to love the “least of these” as Jesus taught.
Now, on a more serious note; whether its the cold air conditioning, water, really good free coffee, physical needs, curiosity, or the Spirit of the Lord that draws people to our church, I’m glad they come. Our prayer and belief is that something will sink in, and eventually they will experience God’s love, presence, and power to transform and set them free!

In so many cases a homeless man comes to the alter in tears to worship in God’s presence, and in turn, gives their life to the Lord. And it’s in those moments that I can’t help but be glad and rejoice that we didn’t get in the way to hinder what the Lord wants to do in their life due to our religiosity, personal style, or misguided understanding of how Jesus taught us to love others.

You see, coming to church and being a Christian is not about our comfort. It’s about loving the hurting, the broken, the lost, and the dying.

I personally love that my children are exposed to the outcasts and hurting at such a young age.
I am way more concerned about them getting a true Christian world view and learning to love like Jesus loves, rather than focusing on themselves and how “fun” the kids program or play zone is at church. It’s true Godly experiences and encounters with Him and others that will impact and shape who they are destined to become by God.

The Lord has blessed our church in such a huge way. I believe this is because we are not afraid to love the unlovable, the outcasts of society, and those who don’t fit within our “socio-ecomomic” status.

Rock City is a young new church that is currently less than 4 years old. Our focus and message isn’t based on how much money we have and how many people attend our church; but rather, how we can advance the Kingdom of God in our community in a powerfully new and profound way! We’ve never done a building or capital campaign; and yet we own an entire shopping center that’s squarely located in a place designed to make a huge impact against some of the darkest pervasive forces in our city.

Our church family loves well, gives well, and serves well! We are unified and making a huge impact in our city! We don’t have a money problem, a people problem, or a “presence of God” problem; however, in the less-than three years we’ve been in our current location, we have maxed out ten thousand square fee of space, and are in desperate need to expand. And this is a good problem to have!

The Lord honors those who have a true heart after Him and His people. If you love and welcome the “least of these” you are loving and welcoming to the Lord Jesus Himself. (Matthew 25:40)

 

 

4 Comments

  1. Cathy lavender

    Love my tribe..and you go pastor..we are the melting pot of churchs..thank God our tribe is so blessed! Love my Pastors Amber and David

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