Before the homeless can help themselves, they must get out of this cycle of stress. And this is where we, as representatives of Christ, can help. Probably the best way we can describe a beneficial ministry to the homeless is one in which their stress is reduced, so they can have the mental stamina necessary to use what resources are available to help themselves to get off the street. Any ministry that helps people get housing is a miracle of God in and of itself. Any ministry that keeps the homeless alive by providing shelter is wonderful. But a local church can provide just as important of a ministry by providing a place where the homeless can relax, be at peace and store up rest so they can face the hard work of survival.
How can we reduce the stress of the homeless?
- Provide a place for the homeless to relax during the day, if only for a couple hours without people rushing them or telling them to “move on”
- Relate to the homeless in a peaceable way
- Assist the homeless in dealing with conflict by counseling them how to deal with conflict in their lives
- Know the local services that help the homeless and provide knowledge to those in need
- In our ministries, have a simple, short list of rules that make sense to those coming in
- Listen to the stories and issues of the homeless, if only to be a listening ear
- Provide opportunities to work whether paid or voluntary so they can feel they are participating in the community, and earning their own keep
- Provide movies to watch so they can take their minds off of their stresses, if only for a couple hours
- Be a faithful, helpful friend who won’t break promises or run out on them (See the next chapter for help in that)
- Remaining calm and peaceful despite the stress that others bring.
- Giving the homeless help for their animals, which provide stability, unconditional friendship and stress relief