I Wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all about an amazing door the Lord has opened for us with the Salvation Army in Brunswick GA.
Now I understand what some of you reading this are already thinking, “Isn’t the Salvation Army basically mainstream Methodist? Aren’t they ecumenical? Isn’t the Salvation Army just a relief effort to help folks down on their luck? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. I do not have time to go into the History of the Salvation Army, but it had a great foundation by a man who wished to give folks the truth that is found only in Jesus Christ. I encourage you to look up this history.
But that is not the issue at hand. When I moved to Brunswick 4 months ago, I began to notice a heavy population of homeless people in the town. I was speaking with a friend of ours who lives in NY about the situation, and she encouraged me to go find out if there was any sort of rescue mission in the area. I knew another few churches who currently are able to volunteer to preach every now and then at certain rescue missions, and felt like this was worth investigating. I went around and found a few different churches serving meals, or providing day shelters, but none of them seemed at all interested in any volunteers to come for anything.
As I was driving around looking to park, so that I could walk the downtown area in search of someone willing to hear the gospel, I drove past the Salvation Army. I figured I would pull in and go inside to speak with someone. The Director of the Salvation Army invited for me to sit down and speak with him. I told him I was interested in preaching to the homeless community in Brunswick and was looking for a venue that may already have a schedule or facility available. He looked at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, “I have called over 20 churches in this town to ask them to do that very thing, and have never even had someone call me back. I have asked them to come serve a meal at least, and none will come either. I have prayed that the Lord will bring us someone to give these people something more than just the meal we offer them.” I told him we were excited to come help serve food if we could share the gospel. He told me in no uncertain terms, that I have full liberty to do as I want in their facility. He has told us to treat the facility as if we own the place, and so we have.
So this is what we do. The Salvation Army serves supper 365 days a year from 5:30 to 6:30. We have decided to go every Friday evening. we show up at 5:00 to begin setting things up, and stay afterwards to clean. When folks come in, we serve them a plate of food, and then they take their place at the table. After the majority of folks has come through, one of the preachers in our group(usually myself, or Bro Mike Alford) will preach a short sermon to them while they are eating. Depending on the turnout, some times we will only preach once, but if the turnover rate is good we may preach up to 3 or 4 times in the space of an hour. It is a tremendous opportunity and we have many great and powerful witnesses with some of the “clients” that come in. I really appreciate the uniqueness of this ministry because it allows everyone in our group to get involved. The kids help set up, pour drinks, carry food, clean up messes, and hand tracts. The ladies serve the food, and us men try to be faithful to preach, witness, and help the women and kids in any way we can. In short, this ministry has been a HUGE blessing to me and my family. My family is excited every weekend that we GET the privilege to serve in this capacity. Please pray for us that this door will remain wide open for the gospel.
I will upload pictures in a future post