Pastors, elders, lay volunteers, and members of churches across Pueblo, it’s time for us to put any differences we have aside and come together as the body of Christ to address the homeless crisis in our city. Like it or not we have developed a reputation of not being able to work together. It is said that we do not get along. It is said that we are only focusing on our individual selves. Some of these accusations are radically unfair, I know. And as the pastor of a church plant here in town you can believe me when I say I understand the struggle. The simple truth is we all have a lot to do. We have sermons to prepare, meetings to attend, families in crisis, and programs to oversee. It is not that we do not want to work with other churches or ministries but that we are simply overwhelmed with what we have going on. I also understand the problem of churches and ministries being different. Our doctrines vary in places and our styles and philosophies do not match. That makes finding ways to pull together difficult. Nonetheless, it is time to come together. Despite the difficulties we have to. Why? Because our city needs it and because the Scriptures demand it.
There is little doubt our city is overwhelmed by the amount of homeless people already here and continuing to move here. If you do a quick google search on homeless statistics in Pueblo you will get the picture. A number of articles pop up all citing the same thing. The homeless population is increasing and the services to help them are not able to keep up. This is a crisis for our city, but in every crisis is a chance for the Church to shine its brightest. Churches of Pueblo, this is our chance to love our city well. This is our opportunity to go to the city and say, “Do not worry about it, we will take care of it.” This is our chance to truly be the body of Christ working together. Churches, if we take this challenge people will notice. They will be amazed at our compassion and our love. The will ask why do we sacrifice so much for others. And this will give us the chance to say, “It’s because of the Gospel, it’s because of Jesus.”
Our city needs us to come together and address this issue. But, even if it didn’t, the Scriptures would command us to do it anyway. James 2:14-17 reminds us that faith without works is dead. It says if a brother or sister comes to us needing physical things like food and clothes we should give it to them. We cannot say, “Go and be warmed and filled” without actually providing something for them to be warmed and filled with. There are many other passages that speak to our Christian duty to help the poor. If we do nothing about this situation then we are ignoring God’s Word.
It is time for us to come together. Our city needs us to and the Scriptures command it. So, what do we do? We work together with organizations already in town. We offer them so much money, volunteers, and support that they almost have no choice but to expand. I am not talking about just the rescue mission, either. I’m talking about organizations all over the city that are working to help the homeless. This will allow us to drop our egos and give the organizations credit. It will also keep us from having to add a new ministry from scratch, which is time consuming and costly. So start championing these ideas in your congregation. Preach them from the pulpit, hold prayer meetings and ask God for help in this, bring them up in your small groups, and show the way for others. Today can be the day the local churches of Pueblo come together to make a real difference!
-Matthew Haslar, Community Relations Manager