Reconciliation sets apart Our Calling, a ministry to the homeless. Many such ministries provide only food and shelter to homeless individuals who cross their thresholds. But Our Calling goes to the streets to seek out the homeless in order to reconcile them with their heavenly Father.
Take for example the woman who fell back into cocaine and prostitution to dull her pain. Her husband accompanied members of Our Calling as they searched the streets to find her—and they did. The reunion, which reconciled husband and wife, reflected God’s unconditional love.
Founder Wayne Walker (MACM, 2007) encountered the homeless community as a DTS student when he volunteered to serve them dinner. “I immediately fell in love with the people, who are described inthe Sermon on the Mount. They are ‘poor in spirit,’ they ‘mourn,’ are ‘meek,’ they ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness,’’ and they often have nowhere to turn.”
At seminary Wayne learned that God created people in His image. And as His image bearers, Wayne believes Christians must respond to the needs of the homeless with compassion and love, reflecting the character of their heavenly Father. Yet Wayne noticed that many churches lacked the knowledge and resources to assist those who struggle with drug addiction or mental illness. So he started Our Calling, a ministry that actively pursues the homeless in Dallas in order to satisfy their spiritual and physical hunger. While many attribute homelessness to social issues such as lack of low-cost housing, Wayne believes homeless is a symptom of a much deeper set of problems including social, physical, emotional, and spiritual issues. “Secular solutions to spiritual problems do not work,” he said.
Our Calling responds to the needs of the homeless community in four primary ways:
(1) Bible studies and life skills: enabling the homeless to know God and His truth, and to obey His commands in everyday life.
(2) Recovery: helping those who struggle with addictions to address the source of their addiction and to take steps, in community, toward recovery.
(3) Mentoring: seeking the growth of homeless individuals through one-on-one discipleship relationships.
(4) Resource distribution: placing resources and information in the hands of the homeless, which creates opportunities to share the love of God.
Staffed by hundreds of volunteers, the ministry often distributes food and supplies to more than five hundred men and women in a single day. Residents of Dallas may see Our Calling’s search-and-rescue vans used for seeking out the homeless behind liquor stores, under bridges, and in the woods. The organization tracks the global position of homeless campsites and often returns to those sites to meet physical needs and to build relationships.
Our Calling challenges Christians to practice God’s pursuing love, and it also encourages the homeless and recovering addicts to share their stories of His love with others. A high school senior, after finishing rehab, desired to minister to others on a mission trip. She met a 57-year-old addict and shared her story with him. Encouraged by her recovery, he declared, “If she can do it, I can do it.” And another man, impressed by their conversation, said, “If he’s going, I want to go too.” Because one young girl shared her story of God’s pursuing love, two men began a journey with God toward recovery.
God has given workers with Our Calling a vision—to establish communities of faith in the most impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods in Dallas, to establish a mentoring program for homeless adults who have never experienced a discipleship relationship, to ignite in churches a passion for the homeless and unchurched, and to open a twenty-four-hour Bible study and recovery center that will connect the homeless with healthy churches.
The ministry also works to expose Christians to the needs of the homeless through service events, prayer, and a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and an interactive website (www.ourcalling.org) with pictures and videos. God is seeking and saving the homeless in Dallas through this ministry. Perhaps you would like to help in His reconciling work?