Did you sleep in a bed last night? A warm bed and a roof over your head is something we easily take for granted… but the truth is, homelessness in New Jersey rose sharply last year! According to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, 9,398 people live in the Garden State without a home. Without a bed. Without a bathroom. Without the basics every single day.
As Christians, we know it’s not enough to sympathize – we must take action! That’s why this Saturday, May 4th, we’re sleeping outside in the parking lots of our Middlesex and Morris County Campuses… to raise awareness and life-giving resources for our friends living on the streets! Why? Our Homeless Church outreach event is a practical way to love like Jesus! You know, the miracle of the Gospel is that the Son of God VOLUNTARILY left his comfortable home in heaven to be born into poverty. During his adult life and ministry on Earth, Jesus himself was actually without a home. Matthew 8:20 tells us “Jesus said, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'”
A few years ago, I wanted to catch God’s heart for the homeless. So, I spent a night sleeping on the streets of Newark, New Jersey with friends from New York City Relief, AKA The Relief Bus, which is the incredible organization we’re raising funds for during our Homeless Outreach. See, New York City Relief is celebrating their 30th anniversary of transforming lives through their mobile outreaches where they provide hope, resources, and customized care to those struggling with homelessness in New York and New Jersey. The night I spent on the streets years ago wasn’t just eye-opening…it was life-changing! I learned that homeless people are always on edge. See, homeless people are often victims of violence on the streets, and they never truly rest. Imagine feeling restless day after day… month after month… year after year.
I knew after this experience I would get back in my car and go home to my warm house, comfy bed, and family that loves me… But what must it be like to know your greatest hope is to get the “good bench” at the train station? Guys, I truly believe God measures the strength of a church on its capacity for compassion! If you’re ready to put your faith into action – to put feet to your faith and follow Jesus from your seats to the streets – then this Saturday, May 4th is your chance! To learn more about our Homeless Church event and to register, click here.